On July 14, the Gallatin County Health Board stormed out of their own meeting after citizens showed up to provide public comment in regard to their masking orders. Incensed that they would have to communicate their intentions and policies to ordinary voters, the board left in a huff when it became apparent that they would have to face the people whose lives they were affecting. As the health board tried to evade the public and set their controversial policies without public comment, Governor Bullock’s own statewide mask-directive made the issue a moot point; everyone would have to wear a mask, including those in Gallatin County.
But apparently, it’s not just ‘Regular Joes’ that the Gallatin County Health Board thinks needs their permission to go about their regular activities. Even the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, should get their approval to visit with the community. Or, at least that’s what Gallatin County Health Officer, Matt Kelley, seems to think.
Vice President Pence is set to host a rally for two Republican candidates, Steve Daines and Matt Rosendale on Monday near Belgrade. Daines is fighting for re-election to the U.S. Senate against challenger, Steve Bullock. Rosendale is running for the U.S. House of Representatives seat currently filled by Greg Gianforte, who is running for governor against Bullock’s Lt. Governor, Mike Cooney. Rosendale’s opponent in the U.S. House race is Kathleen Williams.
The event, hosted by Pence, will follow a fundraiser for Donald Trump. Some of the details surrounding Pence’s visit appear to not yet be finalized, or at least announced. But that hasn’t stopped Matt Kelley from complaining to the media that VP Pence hasn’t asked his permission to peacefully assemble with Bozeman, Belgrade, and Gallatin County residents.
Kelley spoke in clear exasperation, “I don’t know what the event is. I don’t know how many people. I don’t know what their plans are at all.”
Kelley implied that it might not be the best time to come to the area, considering that kids have just gone back to school and that the region had a “traumatic fire incident.”
The health officer said, “I would hope that whoever is planning events would take that into account and really consider the risk that is possibly being created.”
Kelley reiterated that the crowd size should remain limited to fifty people. The Pence rally is expected to far exceed that.