Nativism Alive And Well On The Great Falls City Commission

Great Falls City Commissioner Tracy Houck, a partisan Democrat from Pennyslvania, wrote an amusing letter-to-the-editor, slamming Republican Greg Gianforte for allegedly not representing “Montanan” values.

Supporting Rob Quist, Houck writes in today’s Tribune:

We have seen him understand our values, our needs and our experiences and turn them into song.

While one’s ability to fashion values into song is undoubtedly an important qualification for any member of Congress, we — along with the nearly dozen readers who emailed us about this — couldn’t help but chuckle at Houck’s rampant nativism:

Support Montanan values, support a Montanan [emphasis added], support Rob Quist. 

Like Gianforte, Houck (a Pennsylvanian) is from the East Coast. Mayor Bob Kelly is also an out-of-stater. City Commissioner Bill Bronson is from Havre. All of the above, however, have lived in Montana (and in the case of the latter three, Great Falls) for decades. Why should one’s birthplace matter? Are politicians like Houck, Kelly, and Bronson any less qualified to serve the public because, despite moving and settling here, they weren’t born here?

We thought a recent letter in the Tribune from Robert Reynolds, seen below, demonstrated a measured, more thoughtful line of opposition to Gianforte.

Stop “othering” Gianforte 

Fellow Democrats,

Stop attacking Republican Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte for being from New Jersey. Our party advocates for a broad definition of “us” and a more welcoming, less insular Montana and America. “Othering” Mr. Gianforte is hypocritical.

Based on his policy positions, I believe electing Mr. Gianforte would be a substantial step backwards for our home. However, he is as much a Montanan as you and me.

—Robert Reynolds 

Miles City

Please stop “othering” Mr. Gianforte for not being from Montana, Commissioner Houck. It’s not just illiberal and intolerant; it’s hypocritical.

Reader interactions

5 Replies to “Nativism Alive And Well On The Great Falls City Commission”

  1. My ‘othering’ of Gianforte has nothing to do with where he was born. It has everything to do with his disconnect from the economic pressures that ordinary working people face. He tried slinging mud at Rob Quist because of Quist’s problem paying medical bills. Hell, that made me respect Rob Quist more. I’ve had times that I wasn’t really sure how the bills were going to get paid. The GOP leadership and Gianforte are out of touch with what those in the middle class, the working poor, and those in poverty face.


  2. I often feel that unless your family came here in a covered wagon and homesteaded you just aren’t welcome here. It was a central theme of the gubernatorial race, but never mentioned that Denise Juneau was born in California. So it must be less a Montana thing and more an intolerant Democratic thing. Go figur!


    1. You are so right. Period.


  3. So the party that is trying to Force the people of Montana to take in “refugees” from the middle East and illegal immigrants from below the southern border of the U.S. are telling us that one candidate can’t represent our state even though he’s done more for our state than most of their whole political party.
    Not only are the Democrats silly, and hypocritical, they are downright dishonest.


  4. Philip M. Faccenda April 2, 2017 at 8:47 AM

    Well maybe if Greg Gianforte had violated Montana campaign laws and been caught lying to the Office of Political Practices, laughed at the City losing population, been accused of a Conflict of Interest, or rewarded his friends and punished his detractors, he would qualify to be a real Montanan. Oh right, he probably can’t sing.


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