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Gianforte left country before Montana flood crisis

Since flooding began in southern and central Montana, people have noticed the absence of Gov. Greg Gianforte. Photo: State of Montana
Since flooding began in southern and central Montana, people have noticed the absence of Gov. Greg Gianforte. Photo: State of Montana
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Since flooding began in southern and central Montana, people have noticed the absence of Gov. Greg Gianforte.

Although he's used social media for updates and communication, Gianforte has not been seen in person. His office has been tight-lipped on his whereabouts.

NBC Montana asked the governor's office about his leave.

According to the Office of the Governor, Gianforte has been out of the country since late last week.

The trip was a "long-scheduled personal trip" with the first lady, and a spokesperson says Gianforte is trying to return home as "early and as quick as possible."

The following is sent by the Office of the Governor:

Before flooding began in south-central Montana, Governor Gianforte left the country late last week on a long-scheduled personal trip with the first lady. He is returning early and as quickly as possible. I will provide you with additional information when it is available.

Since activating the State Emergency Coordination Council (SECC) to level 3 on Monday, the governor has been regularly briefed on the state’s response. He remains in close communication with state and local officials, and will continue to share updates.

Below is a non-exhaustive summary of actions the state has taken since the SECC was activated to level 3 Monday:

  • On Monday, Gov. Gianforte verbally authorized a state disaster declaration, allowing the state immediate and maximum flexibility to assist communities whose resources had been exhausted.
  • On Monday, Gov. Gianforte provided Lieutenant Governor Juras express written authorization to act on his behalf in response to the flooding in Montana, including by signing EO 4-2022 on his behalf.
  • On Tuesday morning, Lt. Gov. Juras executed EO 4-2022, in accordance with the governor’s verbal authorization on Monday of a statewide disaster in Montana.

Note: The state had been acting in disaster status since Gov. Gianforte’s verbal authorization Monday.

  • On Tuesday morning, Lt. Gov. Juras traveled to Red Lodge at the governor’s request to meet with state and local emergency response professionals. While in Red Lodge, the lieutenant governor received a briefing with incident command, met with members of the Montana National Guard involved in search-and-rescue operations, and met with residents who have been evacuated.
  • On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Gianforte announced the state is pursuing an expedited presidential disaster declaration to cover the cost of emergency protective measures as flooding and flood warnings persist.

Since the onset of flooding in south-central Montana, Gov. Gianforte and Lt. Gov. Juras have received briefings from personnel at the Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, local officials, and state agency leaders, including from the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Quality, and Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Gov. Gianforte has also been in regular communication with local elected leaders (including commissioners and legislators), local law enforcement officials, and state and local disaster and emergency services personnel.

The governor and state’s top priority currently remains evacuation in areas of danger, ensuring shelter for displaced residents, and safely restoring water and power. The governor is committed to bringing every resource to bear to support impacted communities in their response, recovery, and rebuilding.

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