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Greg Gianforte, Lesley Robinson

Republican candidate for governor Greg Gianforte shakes the hand of Lesley Robinson, who was Gianforte's running mate during his gubernatorial bid.

HOLLY MICHELS, for the Missoulian

Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte, who will be sworn in Wednesday, has named several top staff members for his U.S. House office.

Charles Robison, who was U.S. Sen. Steve Daines’ state director for four years, will be Gianforte’s chief of staff. Robison has also previously worked with Attorney General Tim Fox at the Helena law firm Gough, Shanahan, Johnson and Waterman. He is from Ennis and holds a law degree and MBA from the University of Montana. He has a bachelor’s degree from Hillsdale College in Michigan. Robison and his wife Rachel live in Helena with their children, Joel and Zora.

Lesley Robinson, who ran for lieutenant governor in Gianforte’s failed bid for the governor’s office last fall, will be state director. She has been a Phillips County Commissioner for 12 years and held positions on numerous boards and committees, such as being president of the Western Interstate Region Board, western region representative on the National Association of Counties Executive Board, vice chair of the NACo Public Lands Committee and a member of the Board of Directors of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. Robinson and her husband, Jim, work the family cattle ranch near Zortman. They have one daughter, Kirsty Stewart.

Evan Wilson will be Western regional director. He previously served as a chief of staff for the Montana House Republicans and ran re-election campaigns for both former U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg and former U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke. Wilson, who is from Shepherd, received his undergraduate and master of public administration degrees from the University of Montana. He currently lives in Missoula with his wife, Courtney, and their two children.

Tom Schultz was named Montana Press Secretary. Schultz was a radio broadcaster who covered the University of Montana football team for 18 years, and later served as press secretary for Rehberg. He still does broadcasts for the Bozeman High Hawks. He attended Dawson Community College and the University of Montana. Schultz and his wife, Lloie, have two children.

Gianforte will be sworn in Wednesday in Washington, D.C. He gained national attention at the end of May when, a day before the election, he assaulted a reporter who was asking him a question about health care legislation.

Last week Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management. He is currently protesting having to submit to the booking process, which would include having his mugshot taken, in Gallatin County Justice Court. 

Gianforte has apologized to Ben Jacobs, the reporter he assaulted, and reached a civil settlement in which he gave $50,000 to a group to protect journalists.

Immediately after the assault, Gianforte’s campaign press secretary, Shane Scanlon, sent out a false statement saying Jacobs instigated the attack. Gianforte has refused to address the statement, which said Jacobs grabbed Gianforte’s wrists, pulling both men to the ground, and called Jacobs a “liberal journalist.” Scanlon sent out Monday’s announcement about staffing, but it’s unclear if he will work for Gianforte in the U.S. House.


State Bureau reporter for The Independent Record.

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