MT Dems blast GOP for Capitol arrests; GOP blames ‘political theater’ on Dems
(Missoula Current) Elected officials across Montana continued to voice support for a Missoula representative who's been silenced by the House Speaker for comments made last week regarding a Republican majority vote on a transgender bill.
On Friday, Missoula County commissioners and the Missoula mayor issued a stern statement of support, calling Rep. Matt Regier's censure of Rep. Zooey Zephyr “unacceptable.”
On Monday, Capitol media reported that at least five people were arrested and dozens of others were ushered out of chambers at the Capitol for chanting “Let her speak” from the House gallery after Regier again ignored Zephyr's attempt to address the body.
The Montana Republican Party holds a supermajority in the Legislature.
“Today we saw Montanans show up and engage in the democratic process, and some of those Montanans were arrested,” said House Minority Leader Kim Abbott, D-Helena. “To me, it’s an incredible statement in support of the trans, nonbinary, and Two Spirit community - and against the Republican agenda that would strip our neighbors of their basic rights, dignity, and humanity.”
Zephyr is the first openly transgender state lawmaker and was censured by Regier, a Kalispell Republican, until she "apologizes" publicly for scolding the GOP majority for its vote to ban gender-affirming care for Montana youth.
On Friday, commissioners Josh Slotnick, Juanita Vero and Dave Strohmaier, along with Missoula Mayor Jordan Hess, called the actions taken by Regier and the Montana GOP unacceptable.
"Recent actions taken to silence Rep. Zooey Zephyr are unacceptable and undemocratic,” they said. “We support Rep. Zephyr and her commitment to speaking for her 11,000 constituents in Missoula County.”
Social media caught fire on Monday evening as reports from the Capitol spoke of arrests and chaos. But the Montana Republican Party pushed back in a Tweet of it's own.
“The political theatre put on by the @MTDems mob today was shameful. It was simply a stunt to disrupt the legislative process. Let’s be clear—Montana voters sent their representatives to Helena to work, not to perform.”
Montana's Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte hasn't issued a public statement regarding Monday's events.