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Rosendale’s plan will get Montana’s economy back on track

by Donald J. Sterhan
| August 9, 2020 1:00 AM

There’s no question that we’re facing unprecedented challenges in today’s economy. From job losses and disruptions in education, to deferred payments, business closures and even bankruptcies, it’s clear we have a lagging economy that is stumbling along in uncertainty. On that much, I think most all of us can agree. But where we seem to disagree is in identifying the steps needed to set a new course and get us back on the pathway to economic recovery and growth.

As a lifelong Montanan with a business career spanning over 35 years in the Treasure state, I must admit that I often see the health and welfare of our local business community as a good barometer of the opportunities available to our citizens. If we are to achieve growth in our economy and stimulate tax revenues to fuel our schools and public services, then we must rely on a vibrant business community that promotes more jobs, better wages, and the spirit of entrepreneurship. This result doesn’t happen by chance – it only happens with leadership.

It is for this reason that I was pleased to see Matt Rosendale step forward this past week in a very public way to take the initiative and offer leadership in this debate over the next best steps. Last week I participated in a roundtable discussion that Rosendale hosted with business leaders from around Montana, with a variety of industries represented including retail, construction, agriculture, healthcare, financial services, and tourism. Rosendale convened the roundtable to listen to specific issues affecting each of our industries as a result of COVID-19, and to discuss any ways that we felt the federal government could make it easier on businesses during these challenging times.

Over the course of the conversation, it became clear to me that Rosendale draws on his own experience as a businessman, with much success to his credit in growing his family’s small business, creating jobs, and signing both sides of a paycheck. But even more impressive is his willingness to listen – and it’s a refreshing quality. This quality is evident in Matt Rosendale’s “Plan to Reignite Our Economy”. I’ve reviewed this plan and believe it’s right on the mark.

The plan that he released addresses many of the concerns we shared with him at the roundtable, from liability protections for businessowners, to incentivizing employees to return to work, to rolling back crushing federal regulations and taxes. It’s apparent to me that Rosendale and his team have worked overtime to consolidate the various business issues and recommendations into an organized and bold plan to rebuild our economy, unleash growth, foster job creation, and promote innovation in Montana.

Now that’s leadership. Especially in these uncertain times, that’s the brand of leadership from our public officials that is critically important. In Congress, in the legislature, and in local municipalities, we need leaders with a clear understanding of the challenges facing businesses. Matt Rosendale has demonstrated to me that he is indeed that type of leader.

Donald J. Sterhan is the President and CEO of Mountain Plains Equity Group. He has previously served as Chairman of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, President of the Montana Chamber Foundation, on the White House Conference on Small Business, and as a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors.