Montana: Economic Diversification

Economic Diversification

The demand for copper in World War II and the E Montana oil boom of the early 1950s stimulated the economy, but the state still faces high transportation costs, a worker shortage, and slowness in regulating resources. A gradual trend toward a more diversified economy has seen manufacturing grow in importance; tourism is also on the rise. Coal exploitation increased dramatically in the 1970s, somewhat offsetting the decline of metals mining. In 1997 legislation was passed that aimed to attract foreign money by making the state an offshore banking haven.

Republicans held the governor's chair from 1993-2005, including Judy Martz, the first woman to be elected to the post; she served one term (2001-05). Democrats then took control from 2005-21, with Steve Bullock serving two terms (2013-21) before being named Secretary of the Interior in Joe Biden's administration. Republican Greg Gianforte was elected governor in 2020. He previously served from 2017-21 as the state's at-large congressional delegate, replacing Rep. Ryan Zinke, and made headlines in 2017 when he assaulted a journalist who was interviewing him.

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