Don ‘K’ Kaltschmidt: Montana needs four more years of Gov. Gianforte’s leadership

Gun Rights

Four years ago, Gov. Greg Gianforte made a simple promise to Montanans: Create jobs and protect the Montana way of life.

Gov. Gianforte has not only kept these promises but has set Montana on a path to unprecedented prosperity despite Joe Biden’s policies driving up the cost of everything.

When Gov. Gianforte took office in January 2021, he faced the daunting task of picking up the pieces after 16 years of Democrat leadership. If anyone was equipped to deal with such a challenge, it is the entrepreneur who built a multimillion-dollar company from his living room.

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In 2021, Gov. Gianforte introduced a fiscally conservative budget that funded essential services while controlling new expenditures. State spending growth was limited to less than 1% in fiscal years 2021 and 2022, resulting in a record budget surplus of nearly $2.5 billion.

Unlike Democrats who spend every dollar in sight, Gov. Gianforte believed Montanans deserved to keep more of their hard-earned money. He utilized the surplus to return over $1 billion to taxpayers through tax cuts and income tax rebates, delivering income tax relief for Montanans at every income level.

Additionally, he wisely used surplus funds to fix what was broken, like our roads, bridges, and behavioral health care system. He provided the largest property tax rebate in Montana history to address rising property taxes. And importantly, thanks to his strong fiscal discipline, Montana is now completely debt-free, an achievement we should all be proud of.

The results speak for themselves: Montana’s economy is on the move. With Gianforte at the helm, the unemployment rate has remained at historic lows. Since 2021, nearly 40,000 jobs have been created, and in 2023 alone, 60,000 new businesses were established, and we have more Montanans working than ever before. Montana’s pro-business climate has made our state a destination for businesses worldwide.

He’s done all of this while working to address the affordability crisis created by Joe Biden’s inflationary agenda. Biden has spent like a drunken sailor, and every American has felt the impact of the rising cost of living at the gas pump, the grocery store, and when trying to buy or maintain a home. Governor Gianforte has taken these challenges head on, delivering meaningful relief for Montanans, while also developing long-term policies to expand affordable housing options.

Gov. Gianforte has also been a stalwart defender of our Montana values. Following through on his commitment to protect Montana’s way of life, he’s increased public access to more than 100,000 acres of land and protected our gun rights by signing legislation to bolster the Second Amendment, like constitutional carry. That’s why Greg Gianforte is the only candidate in the race for governor endorsed by the National Rifle Association. His commitment to the Second Amendment is apparent in his business recruitment efforts as well: Montana has more weapons manufacturers per capita than any other state in the United States.

Lastly, Gov. Gianforte has fought to protect Montana and our communities from the impact of Joe Biden’s disastrous southern border. Biden’s approach has allowed drug cartels to push deadly poison in the form of fentanyl on our people, taking the lives of far too many Montanans. Thanks to his strong, conservative leadership, Montana banned sanctuary cities and increased penalties for those convicted of fentanyl trafficking. Governor Gianforte has also stood with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and sent the Montana National Guard to help Texas secure the southern border. Ask yourself: would a Democrat governor do that? I don’t think so.

The past four years of record economic growth under Gov. Gianforte’s leadership make me optimistic about Montana’s future. It’s time to give him and Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras four more years to undo 16 years of failed Democrat leadership and continue to make Montana the best state to live, work, and raise a family.

I encourage Montanans to join me in voting for their strong conservative leadership this November.

Don “K” Kaltschmidt is chairman of the Montana Republican Party.

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