Setting the stage for his relationship with various media sources throughout the state, Governor-elect Greg Gianforte held a ZOOM press conference on Monday to mainly address issues related to the COVID 19 pandemic, but also to answer other policy questions.

Gianforte began with the most obvious topic of COVID 19.

“The number one issue Montana faces on January 4 is the COVID crisis, our ability to get our economy going again, and to change the way Helena does business, and it all depends on how we handle COVID-19,” said Gianforte. “Among my first actions as Governor-elect was to request a COVID-19 briefing, and to establish a COVID-19 task force with small business owners, healthcare professionals, educators, and local and tribal leaders, and the task force represents Montana well.”

Gianforte said he was excited to see the roll-outs of the COVID 19 vaccines in Montana so far.

“We reached a new, major milestone when the first shipments of vaccine arrived in Montana two weeks ago,” he said. “Since then thousands of our front-line health care workers have received their doses, and within weeks, we expect that vulnerable Montanans will begin to have access to the vaccine, getting us on a path back to normal. In addition, later this spring, we expect every Montanan who wants the vaccine will have access to it.”

Gianforte said he voted in Congress for the original CARES Act, and is hoping for more relief for Montana's small businesses.

“There's an awful lot of Montanans that have been negatively impacted by this virus,” he said. “We've seen high unemployment and many small businesses have been affected. That's why I voted for the CARES Act. It's also the reason why I voted for the supplemental support package. We need to get help to small businesses and individuals that are struggling to recover. It's the only way we can get Montana back open for business is to make sure there's a bridge for those that have been affected through no fault of their own.”

As the state legislature begins in January, Gianforte set forth his goals as the first Republican governor in 16 years.

“I promised to hold the line on new spending as we roll out our budget,” he said. “Next week, you'll see it reflected there. I committed that we're going to incrementally lower taxes so that we let Montanans keep the fruit of their labor. I've committed that we're going to help with trades education, and we're also going to attack this drug epidemic that's ripping our communities and families apart.”

Gianforte continued his mantra of personal responsibility when it comes to wearing masks and other COVID 19 protocols, stating that he would be wearing a mask in the Capitol building and encouraged others to follow his example.

Gianforte committed to holding similar ZOOM or in-person press conferences when conditions allow as he takes office in January.

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