Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte announced this morning that his running mate would be Phillips County Commissioner and Hi-Line rancher Lesley Robinson.

"Lesley is a true, salt of the earth public servant," Gianforte said during the announcement in Helena. "I’m looking forward to Lesley playing a vital role in our administration. You’d be hard pressed to find a stronger advocate for rural Montana."

In an associated press release Gianforte explained two of the big reasons for Robinson's selection. Namely, that she provides a connection to agriculture, the state's number one export, and that she can provide a "vital link" between state and local government because of her history as a county commissioner.

"Folks in rural Montana feel they have been forgotten or simply ignored," Robinson said. "Residing in and serving as a county commissioner in rural Montana has taught me that we have unique challenges. I’m honored to join Greg Gianforte’s team, and look forward to fighting for rural Montana as the next Lieutenant Governor."

Along with the announcement, the campaign released a bio for Robinson, which is transcribed below:


Phillips County Commissioner Lesley Robinson is a rancher who was born in raised in Malta Montana, in a county that proudly boasts more cattle than people. Lesley and her husband Jim have been ranching with Jim’s family near Zortman, Montana since 1985, on a ranch that has been in the family since the 1950’s. Bozeman businessman and candidate for Greg Gianforte nominated Lesley to join the ticket as Lt. Governor on March 7th, 2016.

Lesley is recognized not only as a leader in her county, she is recognized as a leader for her state and nation. First elected to the Phillips County Commission in 2005, Lesley is now in her 11th year of service to the people of Phillips County. Through her work as county commissioner, Lesley gained national attention for her leadership. In 2014 she was elected to serve as President of the Western Interstate Region Board representing counties from all across the Western United States, Alaska, and Hawaii within the National Association of Counties (NACo). In 2015, she was elected to serve as the Western Region representative on the NACo executive board. She also serves as Vice Chair of the NACo Public Lands Committee. At the state level, Lesley was one of the youngest, and one of only three women, ever elected to the board for the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Lesley Robinson is recognized as one of Eastern Montana’s greatest advocates. She has testified before the Montana Legislature several times. She has testified before Congress in Washington, DC. And, when the US House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee held a field hearing in Billings, Montana on endangered species, Lesley Robinson was called on as an expert witness.

Robinson has also been a member of the Bear Paw Development Corporation, Phillco Economic Growth Council, Phillips Transit Authority, the Malta Area Chamber of Commerce, Phillips County Cattlewomen/Livestock Association, the Montana Farm Bureau, the National Cattlemens Beef Association, and currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Joint Powers Trust board.

Lesley and Jim have one daughter, Kirsty Dee Robinson Stewart. Kirsty and her husband John are self-employed ranchers. Kirsty has a bachelors degree in Agriculture Operations Technology and Marketing from Montana State University-Northern.

Lesley is looking forward to serving as Montana’s next Lieutenant Governor, and continuing to serve as a fierce advocate for Rural Montana and for Montana’s number one industry- agriculture.