Daines: Anaconda Job Corps Closure Would Be ‘Devastating’

Montana’s Republican Senator Steve Daines is strengthening his response to the Trump Administration’s planned closure of the Job Corps’ Civilian Conservation Center in Anaconda.

On Friday Daines and fellow Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte sent the U.S. Department of Labor a letter saying that while they appreciate the Labor Department’s effort to better align the Anaconda facility’s organizational structure with the department’s mission, they have concerns about it’s closure. The pair urged Labor to, “Maintain [the facility’s] operating status or provide suitable and equivalent alternatives,” for the students it serves.

Tuesday, Daines said, “There’s not a good rationale. Sometimes they use that D.C. mentality that forgets about what it’s like to be in more of a rural state like Montana, and they’re being a penny wise to pound foolish.”

He said closing the center, which trains disadvantaged young people for wildland firefighting and other jobs would be devastating to the local economy.

“We’re just now starting to come out of some tough times in Anaconda, where real estate values are finally starting to come up a little bit,” Daines said. “There’s never a good time to get this news, this is a horrible time to get this news, and so we’re going to do everything we can to reverse this decision.”

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester on Friday called the closure decision, “irresponsible and offensive,” and joined Daines and Gianforte in calling for its reversal.