On the third week of its Montana Business Agenda Tour, the Montana Chamber of Commerce spent time in north central Montana.
The stops on this leg of the tour included White Sulphur Springs, Lewistown, Havre, Shelby, Cut Bank and Great Falls. On Monday, we took a tour of the Black Butte Copper Project and ended with Webb Brown, president/CEO of the Montana Chamber, giving the keynote address at the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Award Dinner.
During the Montana Business Agenda Tour, we have gone more in depth about our 10-year strategic plan, Envision 2026. One of the four core objectives is entrepreneurship and under that umbrella falls the ‘Make Montana Home’ campaign. With a grant from the Gianforte Family Foundation, we heard plenty of comments about how small towns are working to attract and bring back young former residents.
“We know a lot of talent has left the Treasure State,” Brown said. “We’re researching ways to help those people make Montana home again.”
Another topic that came up was the state financial condition. With the looming costs of the fire season and the uncertainty of the state budget, there were several discussions with input from legislators. Governor Steve Bullock’s administration has proposed 10 percent cuts in state spending.
“The possibility of a Special Session to pay for fires seems even more likely,” said Bridger Mahlum, government relations director for the Montana Chamber. “We’re examining those proposals closely on behalf of the business community.”
We will return to the road in October with stops in Belgrade, Bozeman, West Yellowstone, Big Sky and Ennis. Communicating with members and others about the promise, progress and plans of Envision 2026 is a top priority of ours.
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