New administration promises ‘a new chapter’
By Mira Brody EBS STAFF
HELENA – The inauguration of Montana’s 25th governor opened with a song from musician Wylie Gustafson, a prayer from Pastor Bryan Hughes, a rendition of the National Anthem and the swearing in of Lieutenant Gov. Kristen Juras.
“With you at the front of my mind and with a servant’s heart, I will work towards creating better opportunities for all Montanans,” said Gianforte shortly after he was sworn in. “I take the oath of office today, prepared to assume the duties you have entrusted me with, with humility and a deep sense of duty. I take the oath of office today prepared to lead Montana’s comeback.”
Gianforte said he plans to lead Montana with a core set of principles in mind: economic growth, fiscal responsibility and reform. He applauded Montanan’s strong work ethic, quality of life and love for the outdoors, but also noted the state’s shortcomings. Gianforte says he plans to support small businesses infrastructure by lower taxes and eliminating unnecessary red tape and ensuring fiscal responsibility and a more responsive state government.
“Today, let me say loudly and clearly to job creators and entrepreneurs, and business owners in our state and beyond: Montana is open for business,” Gianforte said.
Although Gianforte did not yet outline his plans for a COVID-19 response, he assured the audience that his inauguration day would not be accompanied by a party or any large gatherings as an act of respect to the Montanans who have also made sacrifices during the pandemic.
“It’s important to me to do what you have had to do—to do things different than we’ve done them before,” Gianforte said. “The grave challenges of the past year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic consequences that have resulted, have left no Montanan untouched. And let’s not forget the nearly 1,000 people that have fallen victim to this virus that are no longer with us.”