By Ian Powell-Palm
Republican congressional candidate, Greg Gianforte, is already well known throughout Montana for his bigotry and intolerance. For example, we know that Gianforte disdains LGBTQ folks, contributing millions to anti-Gay groups in Montana and nationwide.
Gianforte and his family’s famous compassion doesn’t stop there. The failed gubernatorial candidate also has it out for Montana’s disabled, retired, wage earners with survivor benefits, spouses, and disabled children. In short, everyone who benefits from and is eligible for Social Security.
The worst part is that Greg Gianforte, in his typical fashion, doesn’t even attempt a sophisticated response as to why Social Security should be gutted, in contrast to his fellow Republicans across the country. No, the GOP candidate for Montana’s house seat thinks that Montanans should be denied access to Social Security because that’s how God wants it to be. Yes. You heard correct.
“There’s nothing in the Bible that talks about retirement. And yet it’s been an accepted concept in our culture today. Nowhere does it say, ‘Well, he was a good and faithful servant, so he went to the beach.’ It doesn’t say that anywhere. The example I think of is Noah. How old was Noah when he built the ark? 600. He wasn’t like, cashing Social Security checks, he wasn’t hanging out, he was working. So, I think we have an obligation to work. The role we have in work may change over time, but the concept of retirement is not biblical.”
This is coming from a man who’s comically constructed platform desperately wants you, the voter, to think that it identifies with everyday Montanans and their struggles. In fact, Gianforte claims on his campaign page that he is in favor of “strengthening” Social Security and keeping Montanans healthy. Is that why Gianforte has also hitched his wagon to the disastrous GOP/Trump health plan that, if enacted, is estimated to strip fourteen million Americans of their health insurance?
In reality, Gianforte’s political motives for Montanans could be nothing further from the truth. From serving as the chairman on the board of a private Christian school that doesn’t allow students with disabilities to suing the Montana department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, seeking to get rid of a fishing access point that Bozeman residents use constantly, Gianforte has worked relentlessly to undermine and exclude Montanans he doesn’t prefer all across the state. It’s not at all surprising that he now seeks to pull the rug out from under everyday Montanan’s feet once again.
Let’s take a quick look at all those lazy, non-biblical slackers who Gianforte seems to think don’t deserve decent healthcare. He’s talking about:
- The 176,000 senior citizens living in Montana, 92 percent of whom receive benefits.
I’m also assuming that nowhere in Greg’s bible does it say that,
- Social Security lifts 62,000 Montana residents aged 65 and older out of poverty every year. (Page 5)
- Without Social Security, the elderly poverty rate in Montana would have increased from 1 in 14 (7.1) percent to 3 in 7 (41.8) percent. (Page 5)
- Social Security is important to Montanans living in rural counties. 2 in 9 (22.1 percent) rural Montanans received Social Security in 2015. (Page 6)
- Social Security is important to the local economies of Montana’s rural counties. Total personal income in Montana’s rural counties was $26 billion in 2015 of which $2.1 billion, or 7.9 percent, was from Social Security. (Page 6)
It’s truly astounding that Greg Gianforte, a New Jersey billionaire who used Montana as his personal summer vacation home for twenty years before moving here, is the candidate now telling everyday Montanans that they shouldn’t receive Social Security benefits because of his interpretation of the bible.
Is this real?
It’s unbelievable that this man is even running again after losing in the gubernatorial race but it looks like he’s more determined this time around to spend millions of his own dollars in an effort to buy Montana’s vote. Therefore, it’s imperative that Montanans remember a crucial detail about this repugnant GOP billionaire candidate: Gianforte is playing with our lives. He’s playing with our education, our success, with our dreams, with our hopes.
Gianforte doesn’t care about a single one of us.
He thinks that he can buy our votes with TV ads and radio infomercials without having to knock a single door or make a call. Greg Gianforte believes that Montanans are so naïve that we’ll simply roll over and believe his slanderous and untrue accusations aimed at his opponents. First Steve Bullock and now Rob Quist. He couldn’t be more wrong.
Montanans don’t roll over. We stay standing up. Especially when an out-of-state billionaire comes and tries to take advantage of us.
Let’s take a quick moment to acknowledge Gianforte’s opponent, Rob Quist, who while launching his campaign visited over forty counties meeting and interacting with voters. This is a man who has been representing Montana through his actions and his music with the Mission Mountain Wood Band for the past fifty years.
Rob Quist is the antithesis of Gianforte and the epitome of Montanan values: kind, empathetic, hardworking, with plenty of grit, in stark contrast to Gianforte’s big money GOP Establishment attitude.
Quist has vowed to protect Montana’s Social Security and to stand up for all Montanans who GOP bullies like Gianforte would rather see dead in their beds than with proper insurance and care. Quoting elements from the bible to address an issue that pertains to so many Montanans is not only ignorant, Mr. Gianforte, it’s insolent. It’s vicious.
Greg Gianforte would let Montanans suffer because he cannot separate his religion from his politics. That alone should be enough of a reason to unanimously elect Rob Quist for Congress. Quist will defend Montanans against menaces like Gianforte and the GOP at large.
Quist will fight for farmers, ranchers, seniors, millennials, parents, sick and healthy Montanans alike, same-sex couples, Montanans of every shape, size, orientation, ability and gender.
Quist is the candidate that we must elect to represent us. Not someone who uses Noah from the bible as a valid excuse for denying Montanan’s their rightly deserved retirement benefits and health care.
If you’d like to learn some more about Rob Quist and where he stands on the issues, click here
If you would like to give to Rob Quist’s campaign, click here
To volunteer for Rob Quist’s campaign, click here
And remember: #Quistforcongress