Lt. Gov. candidate campaigns in Miles City

When Montana Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte called Lesley Robinson to inquire about her being his runningmate, she said she was sitting on the couch “watching a movie with my husband.”

“He really caught me off guard,” Robinson, a Philips County rancher and county commissioner, said while campaigning in Miles City on Wednesday.

Before she answered, though, she wanted to know what her specific role would be in his administration. She would serve, she recalled, “as a liaison between agriculture, local government and rural Montana.”

Robinson’s experience in agriculture goes beyond owning a ranch with her husband, Jim. As a Philips County commissioner, she was actively involved in the livestock arena in Malta that is similar to the structure now being built in Miles City to serve as the Miles Community College Agricultural Advancement Center.

One of Robinson’s first stops on her visit to Miles City, after breakfast at the 600 Cafe, was to the Ag Advancement Center site. There was some discussion of the lessons she learned from the Malta building, and suggestions for raising income.

Wally Badgett and his son, Bret, are both on the committee overseeing the Ag Advancement Center and accompanied Robinson on her all-day tour of Miles City. State legislator Ken Holmlund and Montana Stockgrowers Association Director Terry Haughian were also part of the visit.

After touring the town, Robinson joined with supporters at the Bucking Horse Saloon and Casino in the evening. After being introduced by Holmlund, Robinson explained how she got to be a candidate, her extensive background working as a county commissioner, including on the national level, and the positions she and Gianforte have on several issues. She also took questions from the attendees.

A fourth-generation resident of the county, Robinson was first elected to the Phillips County Commission in 2005. She is a former director of stockgrowers association and one of only two women to ever serve in that position when she elected. She is also a former director of the Montana Beef Council, has worked with the Montana Public Lands Council, and served as chairwoman of the Montana Association of Counties’ Public Lands Committee.

Robinson currently represents 15 states as the western representative for the National Association of Counties, having led the group’s Federal Lands Management committee. Robinson is active in the Bear Paw Development Corporation, Phillco Economic Council, Phillips Transit Authority, the Malta Area Chamber of Commerce, Phillips County Cattlewomen/Livestock Association, the Montana Farm Bureau, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and was appointed to the Montana Board of Dentistry by former Gov. Judy Martz. She is also the current vice chairwoman of the Joint Powers Trust Board.