Looking to move forward, Gianforte plans for Washington D.C. - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Looking to move forward, Gianforte plans for Washington D.C.

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Montana Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte (MTN News photo) Montana Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte (MTN News photo)

Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte sat down with MTN's Morgan Davies on Wednesday to talk about the night of the assault and also how he plans to move forward as Montana's lone representative.

"I'm really excited about getting back to D.C. and serving the people of Montana," said Gianforte. 

His focus since the assault on Ben Jacobs has been to move forward, but many people have a lingering question about that night - the press release. 

The Gianforte campaign issued a statement about an hour after the altercation stating the two men both fell to the floor while Gianforte attempted to grab Jacobs’ phone that had been “pushed in his face” during an interview with someone else.

“It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ,” said Shane Scanlon, spokesman for the Gianforte campaign.

But a reporter with a Fox News television crew preparing to interview Gianforte said that Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck, slammed him to the ground and then began punching him.

"Well I think at this point it's really important, I have taken responsibility for my actions, I've extended an apology to Ben Jacobs, he's accepted it. He has said he wants to move on and I would like to do that as well," said Gianforte. 

As much as Gianforte wants to move on, the assault is going to follow him to Washington D.C. "I've been mentally preparing for this for a long time," he said.

Gianforte has hit the ground running and is focused on working for Montanans. "I've been reaching out to our supporters to build a coalition to put our game plan together," he said.

What is his specific game plan? 

"I've been reaching out to various groups in the state," Gianforte said. "The grain growers, the stock growers, the home builders, sportsman groups and others because I need to know what is important to them. "

 "One thing that I thought was, I was talking to a county commissioner and every time we go out to grade a road in Montana we have to have a watering truck as well," Gianforte said. "That would mean two pieces of equipment, two operators just to keep some dust down. And the reality is that this would cut in half the road maintenance budget for every county in Montana. That just doesn't make any sense, so it's not hard to find these rules that are having a negative impact. I'm going to go to work for Montana." 

Gianforte has also begun to put his advisory committees together.

"It's going to be veterans, business, health care, agriculture, natural resources, and the tribes," Gianforte said. "So I'll have a committee in each area and I look forward to establishing them. I have started discussions with many of the groups to let them know this is the direction we are going." 

After two campaigns, an assault charge, and now days away from being sworn in as Montana's only representative, Gianforte says that he learned some things during that time. 

"There are always lessons to be learned," Gianforte said. "I think as I traveled the state, I've now driven 80,000 miles all over the state and stayed in people's homes. I've fallen deeper in love with Montana. That's number one, and the second thing is, this isn't a new lesson but I've re-learned, that I'm human and we all make mistakes and we just need to pick ourselves up and go forward. "

The election is set to be certified by the Secretary of State on Thursday, and Gianforte says that he expects to be sworn in sometime next week.

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