LIVINGSTON STOP: Congressman Gianforte presents copy of Protection Act to commission, gets interviewed by Park High students

By 
Johnathan Hettinger —
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
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Buddy Murphy, left, and Dana Baskett, from Park High School’s newspaper, The Geyser, interview U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte at the City-County Complex on Tuesday. (Enterprise photo by Johnathan Hettinger)

If there’s anything Rep. Greg Gianforte hears about from young people, it’s the Second Amendment, protecting their information online and the national debt.

That’s what the Republican congressman told reporters from Park High School’s student newspaper, The Geyser, Tuesday afternoon. Four Geyser staff students — Dana Baskett, Lily De Young, Gibson Erickson and Buddy Murphy — interviewed the congressman at the City-County Complex after he presented a signed commemorative copy of the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act to Park County commissioners.

When the students asked Gianforte what legislation he has sponsored to help young people, he said he is working to increase rural broadband, which could help students start businesses or allow young people to have a job in Denver but live in Livingston.

Gianforte also said he’s working to help young people by lowering health care costs and prescription drug costs. He said as high-schoolers go into the working world, those expenses “get in the way of people prospering.”

The students asked Gianforte what Congress can do to help stop the number of school shootings.

“I personally don’t believe there’s any one rule Congress can pass 2,000 miles away to make our schools safer, if the communities don’t come together and work together to help students get the help they need,” he responded.

Instead, students should operate under the idea of “if you see something, say something,” he said. For example, in the shooting at Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed, Gianforte said, everybody knew something was going to happen but no one did anything, despite multiple visits from law enforcement.

During the presentation of the signed bill, Chico Hot Springs Owner Colin Davis said this was the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition’s first chance to thank Gianforte in person for helping passing the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, which bans mining on more than 30,000 acres of the Custer Gallatin National Forest surrounding two proposed gold mines. 

The bill was included as part of a public lands package signed into law last month by President Donald Trump. Gianforte, Sen. Steve Daines and Sen. Jon Tester all co-sponsored the legislation.

Gianforte said he was proud to be in the Oval Office when Trump signed the bill.

The group, which included members of the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition, also went to Katabatic Brewing Company after the presentation.

Meanwhile, The Geyser is in the process of setting up interviews with Senators Daines and Tester.

Last week, The Geyser was recognized at the annual high school journalism day as a “pace setter,” being named one of the best Class A newspapers in the state for the fourth straight year.

You can read The Geyser’s coverage when it hits stands early next month, said teacher Kate Lende.