Montana’s Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Tim Fox has called on the state and federal government to provide additional assistance for workers and small businesses who are affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak.  

For example, Fox has pushed for redefined access to job-attached unemployment insurance. The redefinition would allow workers to quickly qualify for unemployment insurance, allowing workers to care for children and self-isolate at home.  

In a press release, Fox wrote that accessible unemployment insurance—along with expanded Small Business Administration loan programs--would allow small businesses to reduce costs until the outbreak has subsided.  

Fox has also urged the federal government to aid Montana’s agricultural industry by adding additional items to the USDA Farm Service Agency Price Support programs. Fox called for sheep, cattle, and pulse crops to be eligible for such programs, in an effort to ease the toll on Montana’s farmers and ranchers. 

“Leadership in trying times requires not only measured actions and transparency but also focus and commitment," Fox stated in his press release.  

As part of his campaign for Montana’s governor, Fox wrote that he would work alongside the 2021 Legislature to amend some of the financial losses during this crisis, possibly by accessing the state’s rainy-day fund or remaining unused fire funds” in order to avoid raising taxes.  

“Montanans are understandably worried about the unknown. I understand these concerns,” Fox stated. “The path forward is to remain calm, take all appropriate cautions to remain healthy, and take particular care if you or a family member are among those most vulnerable to sickness.” 

Fox acknowledged the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, writing that the retail and service sector have been and will be disproportionality affected. The agricultural industry is already seeing significant hits to demand and trade.  

“Montana is strong. We will get through this. As attorney general, I understand that quick response and coordinated effort in challenging times is essential,” Fox said in his release. “We are better together, and we must unite in empowering the Montana citizen and economy to overcome COVID-19.”