Last week, Governor Gianforte, for the first time since taking office, shared his vision for our state — a vision that is limited to massive giveaways for Montana’s wealthiest, and gives quiet approval for an unprecedented barrage of attacks on the freedoms of Montana’s women and children.
Democrats have a better plan that aims to meet the challenges of our time by creating jobs and opportunity for Montanans. Rather than prioritizing out-of-state interests, Democrats are investing in the people who live here, have roots here, raise families here, and care deeply about making this state a better place.
This has been a hard year for Montanans, and this pandemic changed our world in ways that we couldn’t have imagined. As COVID silently spread through our country and our state, every single family was touched by loss in one way or another — loss of income, loss of health, loss of mobility, and in too many cases, loss of friends, neighbors, or family.
In the face of it all, Montanans have endured — uplifted by the strength, determination, and optimism that define the people of this state. And as vaccinations get out to communities in all fifty six counties, there’s more reason for hope than folks have had in a long time.
But there remains work to do. Local economies across our state have struggled to weather this economic downturn. Montanans who were struggling to get by before the pandemic have endured impossible circumstances since its onset. It’s our job to create an economic recovery that will help our communities rebuild stronger than ever, and bring jobs and opportunity to all Montanans, in every corner of the state.
A month into this legislative session, Democrats have remained laser focused on that mission. Our colleagues across the aisle cannot say the same.
After a long campaign season talking about jobs, Montana Republicans have let our economic recovery fall by the wayside. Instead they have focused their energies on attacking the freedoms of Montana’s women and children.
The people of this state demand leadership — they expect us to rise to the challenge of our time and deliver lasting progress. But apparently, Republicans have lost sight of the problems their constituents elected them to solve.
Democrats have not.
We have led the way this session, advancing meaningful policy that helps Montanans who need it.
After Republicans moved to cut $1 billion from our health care system, we didn’t just oppose it — we responded with a comprehensive health care package that lowers costs and creates jobs.
After the Governor proposed a $30 million giveaway to Montana’s wealthiest that only puts $14 in the pockets of middle-class Montanans, we didn’t just send a press release — we advanced a tax package focused on giving Montana’s working and middle class a real break.
Democrats are fighting to help Montanans who fall on hard times, and give them an opportunity to recover. We are working to invest in our middle class, and advance policies that make it bigger. We are striving to create the conditions that help small, Montana-grown businesses expand and prosper.
Democrats are committed to advancing and defending opportunity for all who reach for it.
This is what we believe, and this is what we’re fighting for, relentlessly, every day — this legislative session and beyond. We welcome the chance to work with anybody who shares these values, in the common pursuit of a future for this state where every Montanan can thrive.
Laurie Bishop is a House Minority Whip and represents House District 60 in Livingston. She delivered the Democratic Rebuttal to the Governor’s State of the State Address.