The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Michael Burns
Representing the Right 

A Closer Look at Gianforte: Debunking the Public Land Issue


Fake news would love for you to, poetically and with a decent helping of moral superiority, believe that you can forget the party lines separating Greg Gianforte and Rob Quist in this upcoming special election. Supposing a Democrat that endorsed Bernie Sanders and a Republican in support of Trump wouldn’t have any major differences, the idea of bleeding hearts coming together in unity sounds novel. The media has attempted to cast Greg Gianforte’s opponent as center-right in an attempt to win the previously Republican seat in Congress. To aid this, there has been an egregious attempt at making Gianforte seem non-Montanan with claims putting him on the wrong side of one of the single greatest voting issues to Montanans - public lands.

You have probably heard through the grapevine that Greg Gianforte is a millionaire from New Jersey (for the record, he wasn’t born or raised there) who wants to sell all of Montana’s public lands to the highest bidder. In reality, Greg believes that public lands should always remain in our hands. He describes himself as an avid outdoorsmen and his record supports that. Most of the accusations towards Greg spring from a 2009 incident on his home along the East Gallatin River. On Gianforte’s parcel of land, there is a public access section of land with a trail for walkers and fishermen access to the stream. A problem arose when property misuse and damage occurred on Gianforte’s land connected to this access point. The media and the Democratic party say that Gianforte then attempted to confiscate the land and prevent users from accessing an area they had been enjoying for generations. This is a fabrication and devoid of many facts. Gianforte says he attempted to resolve the issue amenably and this was accomplished. He made an agreement with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to build a fence around his property to distinguish clearly where his property began and the public lands ended. MFWP also agreed to do some maintenance on the trail to make it more accessible and to prevent recreational users confusion to whether they were on public or private land. Even before, while and after this was being sorted out, the Gianforte family allowed several different anglers on their private land everyday. The myth that Gianforte ever wanted to sell out Montanans and their public lands was never anything more than that, a myth.

In fact as far back as Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks records go, you can inquire about any individual’s hunting and fishing licenses in the state of Montana. The records show that in the last 15 years, Gianforte has obtained 108 different licences for hunting various game. A similar search shows that his opponent, as far as the records go back, has acquired zero licenses to hunt or fish within our state. The Democrat’s candidate touts himself as an avid outdoorsmen but if you were looking at the resumes of the two men, who would you think was the greater supporter of access to public lands?

In truth, the media is attempting to gaslight the public. To get away with labeling Gianforte as being out of touch with Montana would be quite a feat. His actual lifestyle and habits couldn’t be anymore different than the persona rendered by the media. He has no desire to hand our land to Washington bureaucrats. Gianforte lives out Montanan values not just with his campaign rhetoric, but acts upon it every year amongst its great outdoors.

Michael Burns is the Finance Chair for the Valley County Republicans Central Committee.


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