Gov. Greg Gianforte donated his first quarter salary Wednesday to aid a substance abuse program in Hardin.
The governor made the $18,732 donation during a tour of One Health Bighorn, a health center offering substance abuse disorder treatment in southeast Montana. Formerly Bighorn Valley Health, the center opened in 2012 providing health care services in addition to substance abuse treatment including mental and behavioral health services. One Health has satellite offices in Miles City, Glendive, Ashland and Chinook.
“We face a drug epidemic in our state, and while there’s no silver bullet to end it, we can combat it by promoting treatment and recovery for Montanans struggling with addiction,” Gianforte said in a statement. “One Health Bighorn’s substance use disorder treatment services transform lives and rebuild families and communities. Given their successful efforts, I’m proud to support their critical mission.”
The governor has made combating substance abuse one of his early priorities while in office while pushing for the Healing and Ending Addiction through Recover and Treatment, or HEART, fund. The program uses a portion of revenues from recreational marijuana, tobacco settlement and Medicaid match to fund $25 million in community substance abuse program.
One Health CEO Dr. David Mark said the contribution will support the center’s peer support program as well as medication assisted treatment related to opioid and methamphetamine use.
“We’re grateful to Governor Gianforte for the tremendous and thoughtful gift. We will be using this generous donation to support the substance use disorder work we are doing and help those in our community overcome addiction,” he said in a statement.
The governor pledged to donate his prospective salary to nonprofits while a candidate during the 2020 election cycle. Gianforte’s personal wealth has been well publicized as the former tech businessman sold his Bozeman business RightNow Technologies to Oracle from $1.8 billion in 2012.
Tom Kuglin is the deputy editor for the Lee Newspapers State Bureau. His coverage focuses on outdoors, recreation and natural resources.