Gianforte set to return Thursday night amid devastating flooding | 406 Politics

The office of Gov. Greg Gianforte said Thursday morning he will be back in the state later in the evening as he returns from an international trip amid historic flooding in Montana.

Gianforte was out of the country as heavy rainfall and higher-than-normal snowpack generated record flooding in southwest and south-central Montana beginning Sunday. Impacts continue to be felt throughout the region, with residents displaced from homes, roads still impassable and the potential for rivers and creeks to rise again as temperatures spike later this week.

Gianforte spokesperson Brooke Stroyke issued a statement to news outlets Thursday morning: “The governor is scheduled to return to Montana tonight.”

Stroyke has not responded to inquiries asking where the governor was during the past week. His office previously said he left “late last week on a long-scheduled personal trip with the first lady,” but has offered no further details.

Gianforte’s office issued an executive order declaring a state of disaster on Tuesday. The state’s disaster declaration was signed by Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras in the capacity of acting governor.

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Gianforte’s office said the governor “verbally authorized” the disaster declaration and provided Juras with “express written authorization to act on his behalf in response to the flooding in Montana.” Gianforte’s office has not yet released a copy of the authorization despite requests.

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