Thankful for Montana

Tanner Avery

Director of The Center for New Frontiers

Tanner Avery
/ Blog
November 23, 2021

Thankful for Montana

Take a moment and remind yourself how lucky we are to call Montana home.

“It seems to me Montana is a great splash of grandeur. The scale is huge but not overpowering. The land is rich with grass and color, and the mountains are the kind I would create if mountains were ever put on my agenda.” – John Steinbeck

It is the time of year when leaves are on the ground, and the plains and forests of the Rocky Mountains have turned to a pastel shades of green and brown. November seems to almost stand still, as much of the ground remains uncovered by snow, the sharp air reminding us of what’s to come.

As per our nation’s humble tradition during Thanksgiving, I’m giving thanks for our beautiful home — Montana. From the places that have seen little change since Lewis and Clark, to the hustling main streets, our state is filled with people and places that many only dream of experiencing. It is no surprise that our home is called The Last Best Place, as any less of a prominent nickname would fail to capture the unique character that makes Montana what it is.

When you see everyday what others fly thousands of miles just to see, it can sometimes be easy to lose the sense of awe that our state provokes, but this Thanksgiving I would encourage you to take a moment and remind yourself how lucky we are to call Montana home.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Tanner Avery

Nursing Shortage

  1. A new report is shedding light on Montana’s nursing shortage. Montana has long seen a shortage of healthcare workers, leading to a number of changes that are aimed at attracting health care workers but with the COVID-19 pandemic the problem has only gotten worse.

There are a number of reasons contributing to Montana’s chronic healthcare worker shortage including things like licensing requirements, but one of the biggest challenges being seen now are healthcare workers retiring early or leaving the field entirely. If we are ever going to alleviate the shortage and add healthcare workers to Montana hospitals, leaders in Helena will need to come together to address the issue head-on.


  1. Be sure to read Frontier President and CEO Kendall Cotton’s most recent Op-ed in Lee Newspapers.

“Being cataloged and searched in government databases might sound dystopic, but it’s reality today in Montana. Facial recognition is increasingly being used as a tool to make government more efficient — assisting law enforcement investigations and rooting out identity fraud. But without proper public knowledge and oversight, this powerful technology can be abused, threatening the privacy and security of law-abiding Montanans.”

Establishing Rules around Facial Recognition 

  1. Following last week’s Economic Affairs Interim Committee hearing on facial recognition, a number of news outlets are beginning to cover the issues with facial recognition. Frontier President and CEO Kendall Cotton’s public comments about the lack of uniform and transparent rules regarding government use of facial recognition are bringing much needed attention to the issue.

“We don’t know what their standards are [for when government agencies feel it’s justified to use facial recognition]… is reasonable suspicion the legal standard that we’re going to go with? Or do we need a higher standard in certain instances, such as probable cause? Do we need a court order for certain searches and not others? I think that’s something that the Legislature needs to consider and debate.”

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