‘Come Home Montana’ push collides with housing angst

AMANDA EGGERT Montana Free Press

When Greg Gianforte was first campaigning to become Montana’s governor in 2016, there was one number that came up over and over again at campaign events: 49.

That, he said during a televised debate with then-Gov. Steve Bullock, was Montana’s rank for wages among the nation’s 50 states. Gianforte said that statistic — and Montana’s unfortunate distinction of being “dead last in income for our kids” — factored heavily into his decision to run for public office.

He didn’t win in 2016, but when he ran again in 2020 — this time successfully — wage growth and professional opportunity for young Montanans continued to anchor Gianforte’s platform.

“Too many Montanans across our state have seen their kids and grandkids move away for better opportunities — better jobs for better pay,” Gianforte’s Montana Comeback Plan says. “Sadly, our state’s most valuable export is our kids and grandkids. We must reverse that trend.”

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Now, with the reins of state government in his hands, Gianforte, a Republican, has the opportunity to make good on that goal. He’s using folded cardstock, glossy photos, and the Montana Department of

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