We caught up with Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R-MT) on Wednesday morning while we were broadcasting LIVE from the Montana Petroleum Association annual meeting in Billings.

We talked energy policy, fire season, and more. Plus, the Governor gave us some very interesting numbers when it comes to expanding apprenticeships opportunities and trades jobs here in Montana.

On energy policy:

Gov. Gianforte: We've seen the impact at the gas pump of the Biden administration's anti-American energy policy. They shut down the Keystone XL Pipeline. They've made it harder to drill on federal lands. They've added regulations that are really a wet blanket on this industry. And my message to the MPA membership was- energy development is a national security issue. We should be developing our own resources, working to burn it as cleanly as possible, rather than begging our enemies to send us energy.

On fires:

Gov. Gianforte: These firefighters have done heroic work. We adopted a policy of aggressive attack, and we've been knocking the snot out of these fires we've been seeing about 125 new fire starts each and every week. We've kept most of them to under 10 acres. We had one here in just the last couple of days up in Helena- Mount Helena caught on fire...we got after it with air tankers and ground crews. But here's the big thing- we've been managing that forest, it had been thinned, the fire didn't get into the crown. And this is why we've made it such a priority in our administration to get more acres under active forest management, because once the fire starts, it's too late to remove the fuels.

On apprenticeships:

Gov. Gianforte: We need more carpenters and plumbers and electricians and machinists and welders. These are good paying jobs. A four year degree is not the right answer for every young person. Today at the KOA job site with Tounsley Electric we're going to announce that we've created 700 apprenticeships in Montana this year alone, that's more than 2019 and 2020 combined. We've added 60 new employers to the apprenticeship program run out of the Department of Labor and Industry.

New ratio for journeyman to apprentice:

Gov. Gianforte: Montana had some of the most restrictive rules in the country. We required two teachers for every student, which drastically reduced the number of apprenticeship slots. If you were an electrician, with a van wiring homes or businesses, because you didn't have a second journeyman- you couldn't have an apprentice. So what we did was we went to a more common sense approach. Now we say one journeyman can have two apprentices. And what that did is it quadrupled the number of slots across all these businesses.

Full audio of our chat with the Governor:

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