Governor Steve Bullock joined women community leaders and business owners across Montana today to rally in support of equal pay for women for equal work.

The rallies are a response to New Jersey multimillionaire Greg Gianforte’s recent radio comments questioning why equal pay is “a big deal.”

“Greg Gianforte likes to tell Montanans he’s running on a single issue: Montana’s economy,” said Governor Bullock, speaking to over 50 community leaders and business owners in Helena. The issue of equal pay for equal work is an economic issue. It’s pretty clear that Greg Gianforte is only looking out for a select few, not all of us, and certainly not Montana women.”

Community leaders across the state gathered at noon Monday to let Gianforte know that equal pay is a big deal, and that Montana needs a governor who will fight for equal pay for equal work.

“Steve Bullock knows that actions speak louder than words. His leadership is what all women who live in this state deserve,” said Courtney McKee, owner of Headframe Spirits in Butte, at one of seven rallies across the state. “Governor Bullock, thank you for your hard work and for understanding that equal pay is a very big deal.”

In addition to criticizing Governor Bullock for making “a big deal over this equal pay for women,” Greg Gianforte stated his opposition to equal pay legislation saying, “I don’t think we should be legislating equality of outcomes.” He has refused to support the Montana Paycheck Fairness Act and gave thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to legislators that blocked the Act in 2015.

Since he took office in 2013, Governor Bullock has championed equal pay for equal work. He created the Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force, signed an Executive Order incentivizing businesses to promote equal pay, worked with legislators to propose legislation to close the wage gap, spearheaded wage negotiation trainings across the state, and conducted the first ever pay audit of state agencies to assess and fix any wage disparities.

Today’s equal pay rallies were held simultaneously at seven locations across the state and included the following community leaders:

Steve Bullock and business owner Anna Doran

Community leaders Kate Restad and Jeanne Bender

Business owner Courtney McKee

Former State Representative Frankie Wilmer and community leader Cara Wilder

Former legislator Michelle Reinhart Levine and Cascade County Commissioner Jane Weber

State Senator Diane Sands and business owner Elke Govertsen

Business owner Amy Kellogg and Attorney Diane Conradi