Why Doesn’t Greg Gianforte Believe in Montana Tech Firms?

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Last week, I noted that Greg Gianforte, the Bozeman tech guru and presumptive GOP candidate for governor, had made the peculiar decision to hire out of state firms for his campaign’s web, graphic, and media work, spending over $50,000 not in Bozeman or another Montana community, but in firms across the country.

After I posted, I received some feedback from Bozeman-area designers about the message Gianforte’s decision sent about the quality of Montana work. While none wanted to use their names, I spoke to three members of the web and graphic design community in the Bozeman area, all of whom were surprised to learn that Mr. Gianforte chose not to use a local firm for this work.

One local designer told me that Bozeman is loaded with the talent necessary to have done the work, writing in an e-mail:

And, with MSU here, we have creativity and talent pouring out of the university and students eager to start their careers and test out their skills. So, I am completely confident in saying that Bozeman has the talent Gianforte needed, and with the countless options available to him in Bozeman alone, we have the prices to match that any out of state source.

Another spoke about the message Gianforte’ decision to outsource sent, telling me:

Bozeman is building a reputation for itself as a tech center, something Greg is taking a lot of credit for. For him to not use the local tech businesses he says he champions is a slap in the face to those of us who have chosen to stay here in Montana to work.

A Bozeman graphics artist said that choosing local could have made a difference for a local company:

Graphic design is such a competitive market, and every job helps. The $750 spent on that logo, plus the benefits of being associated with a high-profile campaign, would have helped a local artist immensely.

I also spoke with Jeff Milchen, the co-director of the Bozeman-based American Independent Business Alliance (Amiba), an organization whose mission is to help communities become more resilient through supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs. While not commenting specifically on the outsourcing of work by the Gianforte campaign, Milchen told me that a local firm “absolutely” could provide the web services and graphic work a candidate would require. He noted that there is “no shortage of talented designers in communities across Montana,” and said that, given the “incredibly talented designers in Montana it was hard to imagine” how someone would need to hire web or graphic work out of state.

In our conversation, Milchen talked about the value of using a local business, noting that local designers are more responsive, can work more efficiently, and have the kind of local knowledge that will improve the product. In addition, he noted the importance of businesses and individuals patronizing local businesses, which he said will both “create wealth locally” and encourage more entrepreneurial development in that local community.

Amiba  notes that decisions to purchase goods and services locally results in a significant multiplier effect, with “48 percent of each purchase at local independent businesses [being] recirculated locally.” When a business or individual or political campaign buys locally, the money stays in the local community, enriching us all.

Milchen also noted a potential concern about using a firm out of state—it makes it far more difficult to tell if the work has been outsourced, which is a real concern for web development and graphic work. There are countless overseas shops producing cheap web and graphic work, and using a local developer best ensures that local designers are doing the work—and getting paid for it—from beginning to end.

The message seems clear: if you want to ensure high-quality work, encourage local businesses, and prevent outsourcing of jobs, you hire locally. If you’re a candidate who is running on a platform of high-paying tech jobs, you hire locally. If you tout the benefits of telecommuting, which can definitely facilitate overseas outsourcing, you absolutely hire locally.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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Greg Strandberg
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Huge screwup. We’ll continue to see these huge screwups, from both Gianforte and Bullock, when they begin hiring the D.C. firms for their TV ads.

Stupid and preventable.

Truth Squad
Guest
Truth Squad

Good job Greg! Taking an article on Gianforte and making it also about Bullock! #logicalfallacy

LK
Guest
LK

He can’t help it. He was in China you know, and now, he’s an expert on Ying Yang. In fact, I’ve heard it said that he’s the biggest Ying Yang OUT there! Who could disagree?

Greg Strandberg
Guest

We know that 45% of Bullock’s Q4 spending was out of state:

http://www.bigskywords.com/montana-blog/why-are-bullock-and-gianforte-making-mistakes-so-early

LK
Guest
LK

Mr. Janfart simplified. Yes, a friend from back east told me recently that the gian is pronounced jan back there. (it’s Italian) I never knew! My apologies to Mr. Giantfart. I had no idea that you were a Janfart!

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LK
Guest
LK

Threatening the American people??? Really, stewie?? Geebus, dude. Quit that. You just gave stevie Danish and Slinky the Barking Seal a woody! Martial talk makes lil’ stevey Danish swoon!

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/01/militia-head-warns-feds-dont-waco-the-oregon-occupiers-unless-you-want-a-bloody-brutal-civil-war/comments/#disqus

It’s time to put an end to this nonsense once and for all. I mean, really, what the hell is the difference between THIS so called occupation and any others? Easy answer. Assault rifles! SO, my friends, if you want lil’ stewie at your protest next time, BRING ASSAULT RIFLES!

LK
Guest
LK

OOOPsie! Seems that lil’ stewie is REALLY an Elmer! Yes, stewie Rhodes is make believe tuff guy Elmer FUD Rhodes! You couldn’t make this stuff up! Elmer Fud Rhodes, a “parapooper” who washed out when he landed on his head, is NOW gonna take on the federal gummint! Too funny. These reetarts are a laff a minute! Oh PUHHLEEZE, O’Bama, let them continue just a wee bit longer, for we haven’t had this much fun with inbreds for a long time! I THEENK that Elmer’s warning is a plea for dildos! Yes, Elmer feels left out, for he has yet… Read more »

LK
Guest
LK

Yeah, now there’s some freedom of speech for ya! Me thinks that someone needs a WEE bit more lube for their dildos! Jeez, the Dildo Mlisha is gettin’ testy! Keep diggin’, boys. Keep diggin’! Where you’re goin’, you’ll have plenty of time to hurl insults and folks who just might beat your sorry azzes! And I guess that that would make anyone a bit testy! btw, how’s your Dildo Revolution going for ya???

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/01/oregon-militants-hurl-insults-at-conservationists-calling-out-bundys-for-trying-to-steal-public-land/

LK
Guest
LK
David
Guest
David

MSU hired a graphic design firm from Texas to design the new logo. Where’s the outrage for that decision? That was $25k that could’ve gone to local businesses, but they either weren’t adequately skilled or their bid wasn’t competitive.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I think the question should rather be: “why doesn’t Montana believe in Montana tech firms?” Bullock’s website was built by a WashingtonDC firm. Bullock’s Department of Commerce (which is tasked with building Montana jobs) hired a Chicago website firm to build its visitmt.com site at a cost of nearly $1.5 million dollars– that’s a lot of good Montana jobs outsourced to the city. I wonder if the “Made in Montana” site is actually “Made in Montana” or if that is outsourced also. It isn’t that there aren’t qualified Montana firms for the business — it’s just that there is a… Read more »

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