Governor Greg Gianforte made his monthly appearance on the KGVO Talk Back show on Thursday to talk about a number of topics as he continued a 56 county tour of the state.

The Governor said he was gratified at the success of his ‘Back to Work Bonus Plan’ that has now been copied by 20 states.

“Basically we said to the US Department of Labor, thanks but no thanks to the supplemental monies, so we let them keep that,” said Gianforte. “But you know, they have been shoveling money out of Washington for a while and we had gotten almost $3 billion in this America Rescue Plan. So we took $15 million of that money, and working with the legislature, had it authorized for these back to work bonuses.”

Gianforte also related his plans for some of the ARPA money to expand broadband access to rural areas of the state, such as the Bitterroot Valley.

“We need broadband coverage not only so people can work remotely for telehealth, but also so our kids can learn digitally. So I was really pleased, again, working with the legislature and using some of this money getting shoveled out of Washington. We want to be good stewards. I signed the Connect Montana Act, which devotes really a historic amount $275 million of federal funds to expand access, and we wrote the bill in such a way to make sure we prioritize areas that are currently not covered so we can really close the digital divide.”

As part of his travels, Gianforte visited Conrad, near the Canadian border, to share COVID vaccines with truckers.

“We want to help out our neighbors to the north, so I've talked to the Premier up in Alberta, and we were running a vaccine clinic at the truck stop in Conrad. And we're saying ‘hey, Canadian truckers if you come in through, then stop in and take the jab if you so choose’, and it's a way to make them safer and help out our neighbors to the north.”

Gianforte also weighed in on the Montana Board of Regents vote for judicial review over HB 102.

“The Board of Regents has the authority to govern the university system but it does not have the authority to infringe on Montana's constitutional rights.” He said. “The Second Amendment very clearly says we have the right to keep and bear arms and that those rights shall not be infringed. There's nothing the Board of Regents can do to overturn the US Constitution.”

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Gianforte has committed to appearing on Talk Back once a month to answer questions from listeners.

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