#TBT: More Mayoral Overreach

In honor of Bob Kelly’s recently exposed extracurricular activities, I thought it would be interesting to share a story from 14 years ago, penned on New Year’s Day in 2006. It is from Gregg Smith’s old blog, and it tells the tale of another big government liberal mayor of Great Falls: Randy Gray.

Back then, and just before losing his re-election bid, Gray declared war on the gaming industry. Like Kelly, he leveraged his office to advance one of his pet political projects:

“He discusses his support of a bill to double the gaming tax. (As I have noted before, this would put many operators out of business.) He argues that he testified in favor of this bill as a private citizen, not as Mayor. He neglects to tell the readers that he repeatedly referred to his position as Mayor during his testimony. He also neglects to tell the readers about his quick trip back to Great Falls after the hearing in order to bask in the accolades and receive the check from the tavern owners payable to the Save Malmstrom group. In other words, he has no problem with gaming money when it gives him a chance to seek a little publicity.”

Gray’s freelancing, like Kelly’s, came without official City Commission action or discussion — there were no public meetings held — and consisted of Gray wielding his title as mayor to bolster his personal crusading, all at the expense of his unknowing constituents.

It was just as wrong then as it is now, and some might say (in our hyper-charged political climate), that it is an “abuse of power,” and of course we all know the remedy for that.