Guest view: Greg Gianforte has been missing in action

Guest view: Greg Gianforte has been missing in action

House chamber

The U.S. House of Representatives chamber in the Capitol.

During times of crisis, Montanans look to our elected leaders to show up for work and support the people they represent. While Montana’s public employees, educators, and working families have stepped up to the plate during the COVID-19 pandemic, Greg Gianforte has been missing in action.

The Montana Federation of Public Employees, on behalf of the Montana educators and public employees we represent, has invited Greg Gianforte to meet with us numerous times since he was elected in 2017, and he repeatedly refuses to meet with us, blowing off the 23,000 Montanans we represent.

From the looks of Greg Gianforte’s record in Congress, apparently we’re not the only ones he’s blown off.

Last spring, Gianforte missed more votes than 93% of his colleagues. That means over 9-in-10 Representatives were putting in more work than our lone congressman. These skipped votes run the gamut from critical funding for education, to supporting survivors of domestic violence, to supporting our public health institutions and more.

Montanans rely on Greg Gianforte — our only representative in the U.S. House — to look out for us in Washington D.C. But on vote after vote, he didn’t even bother to show up.

A look at Gianforte’s attendance record:

● When the U.S. House voted on $10 million funding for Education Department programs related to higher education, Gianforte was absent.

● When the U.S. House voted on $5 million funding for community school and school safety programs, Gianforte was absent.

● When the U.S. House voted on $1 million for career, technical, and adult education programs, Gianforte was absent.

● When the U.S. House voted on $5 million for health workforce initiatives, including those related to medical education and student loans, Gianforte was absent.

After examining his shameful record, MFPE took the unprecedented step of condemning Gianforte’s candidacy for governor. Montanans sent Greg Gianforte to Congress to perform a job, but he’s been playing hooky on our dime. Now he wants Montanans to give him a promotion? We don’t think so. Montana families work hard and we expect our elected officials to do the same.

Teachers can’t just skip class whenever they feel like it.

Students aren’t allowed to miss school without good reason.

Public employees don’t stop delivering essential services during a pandemic.

At the bare minimum, we should expect our elected representatives to show up for work, especially when the stakes are so high. But New Jersey millionaire Greg Gianforte is so entitled, that he thinks he can collect a taxpayer-funded paycheck without actually putting in the work to earn it.

Amanda Curtis is the president of the Montana Federation of Public Employees.


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