Although Greg Gianforte doesn’t like to talk about his qualifications for governor or share any actual plans for what he’d do as the leader of our state, he does like talking about technology jobs and the high pay that comes from them. He stands in front of office building that are being constructed by other companies and takes credit for vast numbers of jobs, mines alumni lists for prospective Montana employees to return home for some telecommuting, and generally presents himself as a champion of Montana business who will encourage the development of high tech jobs.
In the past few weeks, over half of the tweets from his campaign Twitter feed have been about his belief that he can promote high tech jobs in the state, including this from New Year’s Eve:
— Greg Gianforte (@GregForMontana) December 31, 2015
That’s some impressive rhetoric, but a look at the initial expenditures from the campaign tells a different story, one of a candidate who has not used any Montana firms for Internet and technology services.
- When Gianforte needed a logo designed for his campaign, he went to Arena Communications in Salt Lake City, paying them $750.00 on November 3.
- When he wanted to develop a web site, pay for its hosting, and produce web advertising, he went to Connect Strategies Communications in Dallas, TX, paying the firm $22,531 between October 17 and December 7.
- When he wanted to do a video and digital shoot, he paid Red Print Strategy of Herndon, Virginia $28,500 on November 3.
- When he wanted a media monitoring service, he paid Tveyes in Fairfield, Connecticut $1,5000 on November 3.
It’s a fascinating decision for any candidate to choose to spend his money of state, but it’s an especially egregious error for the candidate who not only claims he supports the idea of then Information Economy in Montana, but who claims he’s largely responsible for its development, not to use local firms for jobs that Montanans are surely qualified to do.
It seems quite reasonable to ask non-candidate Gianforte why he either doesn’t have faith in local web and developers or doesn’t care enough to hire them.
It may not matter a great deal to someone with Gianforte’s wealth, but there are local web developers (24 in Bozeman alone, according to Yelp) who certainly could have provided the services he chose to outsource, either because he lacks confidence in Montana tech workers or he just doesn’t give a damn about them, but investing over $50,000 into local technology and video production surely would have made a difference for some workers in Bozeman.
And I’m damn sure none of them would have had the gall to charge him $750 for that amateurish logo.