Governor Gianforte Promotes Successful Housing Agenda at Western Governors’ Association Forum

Governor's Office
  • May 18 2023

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Addressing policymakers at the Western Governors’ Association’s Western Prosperity Roundtable Forum, Governor Greg Gianforte today promoted pro-housing reforms adopted in Montana and championed them as a catalyst for prosperity and increased opportunity.

“The American dream is centered on certain fundamental ideals: earning a good living, raising a family, being a part of a community, retiring comfortably. Owning a home is also foundational to the American dream,” Gov. Gianforte said in remarks to attendees. “A lot of ink has been spilled about how the American dream is dying. I reject that entirely. The American dream is alive and well, and we’ll keep working to ensure more Montanans can realize it.”

Gov. Gianforte continued, “When it comes down to it, the health and wellbeing of our families, our communities, our businesses, and our economy rely on access to affordable, attainable housing. Hardworking Montanans, like teachers, firefighters, and police officers, should be able to live in the communities where they work. They should be part of the fabric of the community where they work. That’s a central tenet of the American dream.”

The governor described how he launched the diverse, bipartisan Housing Task Force in July 2022. He detailed how the task force explored the underlying issues of the state’s housing shortage and provided solutions to increase the supply of housing to make it more affordable and attainable. The recommendations provided a roadmap for lawmakers ahead of the 2023 legislative session.

Gov. Gianforte shared what his administration has accomplished in the last year, including overhauling housing mandates and zoning regulations, encouraging the development of denser housing, streamlining subdivision reviews, and investing in building a more skilled workforce.

“Now is the time for bold, transformational pro-housing reform. Addressing the crisis of a housing supply shortage is a priority for Montanans,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Coming together, we’ve delivered the most meaningful pro-housing reforms in state history.”

“Working together, we’ve taken a series of steps to increase the supply of housing and make it more affordable and accessible. There is no question there is more we must do,” the governor cautioned. “We must build upon what some have called the ‘Montana Miracle.’”

“And I firmly believe other states can do the same – bring people together, build consensus, and be transformational to make housing more affordable and attainable. Because ultimately, we must remain focused on expanding opportunities so more folks achieve the American dream, including homeownership,” the governor concluded.


Gov. Gianforte discussing pro-housing reforms at the Western Prosperity Roundtable

After the governor’s remarks, he led a roundtable discussion on state strategies for housing development. Two members of the governor’s Housing Task Force were part of the panel: Chris Dorrington, director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and task force chair, and Emily Hamilton, senior research fellow and director of the Urbanity Project at the Mercatus Center.

“It is great to join the governor and other key leaders from across the West to share thoughtful approaches to the housing crisis, many of those we put to action through the governor’s Housing Task Force,” Dir. Dorrington said.

“The governor’s leadership in creating the Housing Task Force was essential for Montana to address this crisis. Under the direction of Director Dorrington, we brought together many voices on a wide variety housing perspectives and acted with urgency to help the state; most of which came through in legislation this session,” Hamilton said.

Panelists also included Dave Andersen, Managing Director of Growth Management Planning at the Washington State Department of Commerce; Christina Oliver, Housing and Community Development Division Director with the Utah Department of Workforce Services; and Andy Hill, Director of the Community Development Office with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.