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Editor's note: Montana Senate President Scott Sales and House Speaker Greg Hertz issued this statement Monday in response to the rainbow flag flying at the Capitol Saturday and Sunday.

Every Republican in the House and Senate takes seriously their duty and privilege to protect and defend the rights of all Montanans. In doing the people's business, we strive to maintain the integrity of public institutions and impartiality in safeguarding our history. Part of the way we do this is by honoring rules and protocols that uphold the dignity of the institutions and people we serve.

As demonstrated during this year's legislative session, members of both parties honored our greatest symbols and traditions like flying our national and state flags. These are symbols of pride for all Montanans and a reminder of what makes us great. Unfortunately, Governor Bullock does not share the legislative branches' reverence and respect for our state flag and the prominent state seal on it.

During the recent weekend, Governor Bullock removed the Montana state flag form the Capitol flagpole and replaced it with a flag representing a political movement. This was an unmistakable act of disrespect to our state and the people and intuitions we serve -— and beneath the office of governor. Our state flag is a way we celebrate the rights of all Montanans every day and it should never be off display for political gain. 

As a presidential candidate, we understand the governor is trying to stand out among some of the most well financed, radical, left wing ideologues in America. However, if the governor chooses to hold this office while campaigning for president, he must do as all other state elected officials do and leave his political activism on the campaign trail and off state property.

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Opinion Editor

Opinion editor for The Billings Gazette.