Senator Daines' Early Exits Upset Constituents On Statewide Tour

Feb 21, 2018

  This story was updated at 2:20 PM Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 with the following editor's note: Today, we were contacted by the Senator’s Chief of Staff, Jason Thielman, who thought it was important for listeners to know more about the people quoted in the story below. Click here to read Mr. Thielman's comments. 

Montana Republican U.S. Senator Steve Daines made several stops in Western Montana today, including a brewery tour in Philipsburg. 

The second leg of Daines' four-day statewide tour brought him to a Missoula brewery to tout the impacts of tax reform legislation on Montana businesses. Some of his scheduling changes angered his constituents. 

Montana Senator Steve Daines
Credit Courtesy photo

Daines office issued a press release Tuesday saying the senator would appear at Missoula's Big Sky Brewing Wednesday to discuss how last year's tax reform legislation has benefited the business. The meeting was scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., but the senator was out the back door before the start time. 

Eileen McGurty hoped to ask Daines questions about the Trump administration's decision to hold off on implementing sanctions against Russia. Moments after arriving at the brewery she saw Daines leaving.

"He walked out, got in his SUV, looked right at me and waved when I said, 'Senator, I'm a constituent and I'd just like to ask you a couple of questions.' He just drove away. I feel like he's ignoring his constituents. It's deplorable," McGurty said. 

Daines then traveled to Hamilton where he faced similar complaints of starting and ending a meeting up to an hour earlier than announced.

Daines spokeswoman Julia Doyle said in an email to MTPR: "For the Senator's travel we always provide extra time for travel, especially during bad weather. Today we ran ahead of schedule. We try to avoid being late and having folks wait." 

Teresa Jacobs stands outside of Big Sky Brewery in Missoula, February 21, 2018. Jacobs hoped to talk with Senator Steve Daines during his visit, but was frustrated when he left ahead of schedule without taking questions.
Credit Edward O'Brien

Missoula's Teresa Jacobs isn't convinced that Daines was simply running ahead of schedule today. 

"Nobody came here with an intention to abuse him verbally, so the fact that he advertised it and didn't show is a kind of contempt for the citizens he's suppose to represent," Jacobs said. 

Representatives of Big Sky Brewing could not be reached for comment on their meeting with Senator Daines.