Are Refugee Resettlement & Climate Change Great Falls Issues?

Great Falls Mayor Bob Kelly deserves kudos for stepping up and apologizing to the public for signing an online letter, as Mayor of Great Falls, to President Trump asking for refugees to be relocated to “our communities”. I appreciate his willingness to take responsibility for his actions.

More importantly, the citizens of Great Falls deserve major congratulations and kudos here.

According to E-City Beat, which was the first to break the story, they got a tip from an alert local reader about the letter posted on, did the research, asked the questions, and then wrote and posted the story, which went viral.

But it was, and is, the citizens of Great Falls that made their voices heard and pressed the issue so that the Mayor was compelled to reconsider his actions in signing the letter and to apologize, admitting that it was not appropriate.

I’ve been involved in and have observed several controversial local issues over the years but I have never seen such rapid, voluminous and passionate public response to a single local issue. Ever. My own phone, email and social media page were buzzing.

This kind of public response is good, very good. Our local public officials, and that includes yours truly, need more public scrutiny, not less. More demands for accountability and transparency, not fewer.

Continue paying attention and being engaged in our city/county governments, Great Falls. We need citizen magnifying glasses, not blindfolds or endless rah-rah-rah media stories.

Our Great Falls public officials should be focused like a laser beam on local bread and butter issues, not caviar and chardonnay politically correct or ideological national issues.

For instance, at a recent Great Falls City Commission visioning session to lay out potential priorities for the coming year, a few of my colleagues on the commission identified “responding to climate change” as one of our top-three priorities.

I’ll be asking many questions and challenging notions like the one that claims that “climate change/resiliency” should be our focus here.

We have urgent issues that MUST be addressed first – like local crime, lack of economic opportunity, and the need for more transparent and responsive city government.

Stay tuned, stay engaged, and stay salty, Great Falls.

Posted by Rick Tryon

Rick Tryon is an entrepreneur, a singer-songwriter, and is currently serving a four year term as a Great Falls City Commissioner. Helping Montana become an even greater place to live, play and work is Tryon's passion.

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4 Replies to “Are Refugee Resettlement & Climate Change Great Falls Issues?”

  1. Right in Rick!


  2. So agree Rick


  3. Yes responding to climate change is a Great Falls and Montana issue.

    Montanans with a home or recreation property in the mountains know it, due to the increasing danger of forest fire almost every year and the proliferation of destructive non-native species of plants and insects. Montanans know it who see a hole blown in their State budget due to forest fighting efforts, and a bloated Federal deficit in part due to increasing payments to farmers for failed crops. Montanans know it who in their lifetimes have watched the glaciers melt precipitously in Glacier Park and the Alberta national parks. These parks and their glaciers are major attractions for bringing in tourist dollars, not only to the parks themselves but to businesses in Great Falls like rental car agencies, and restaurant and lodging businesses across north central Montana. Presumably the farmers who suffer long years of drought know it, too.

    It’s up to governmental units of all size throughout the country to not only address the causes of climate change but also plan for the effects of climate change. To do otherwise would be irresponsible. The source of our water supply is something that’s subject to detrimental effects from climate change, for instance.

    Is it a Top 3 issue for Great Falls? That’s certainly debatable. But it’s not something that should be ignored.


  4. “I appreciate his willingness to take responsibility for his actions.” This in the same paragraph you mention Trump.


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