He graduated with a degree in Political Economy and American History.
We know that Gabe Furshong – who's the deputy director of the Montana Wilderness Association, meaning he’s the #2 person there – is married to Lauren Caldwell.
Lauren Caldwell is the current campaign manager for Denise Juneau’s U.S. House bid.
Before that, Caldwell was the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (MDLCC) Director.
When Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Andrea Marcoccio was fired after the dismal 2014 election results, Caldwell took over as interim director of the Montana Democratic Party.
Prior to her work at MDLCC, Caldwell was an aide to Senator Max Baucus.
Ah yes, the good ol’ boys club is still very much alive in Montana politics.
Lauren Caldwell is the daughter of Burt Caldwell, who moved up to Montana in 2011 and got active with the Missoula Economic Partnership.
You’ll remember that last July he ran for the vacant Missoula County Commissioner slot that eventually went to Stacey Rye.
I wonder if having Lauren sitting next to him at that meeting lost him votes.
You see, many knew that Lauren is married to Gabe and they might also remember that Gabe tried to get himself appointed to City Council, through Ward 2, oh…about 5 years ago.
He’d only lived in Missoula for a little over a year and a half by that point and had next to zero support because people saw right through him.
A big part of that ‘seeing right through him’ came about in 2010.
Back in 2010 he lauded Senator Tester’s efforts to get 660,000 acres of land deemed public.
Despite this, the organization he represents – the Montana Wilderness Association – mandates that logging and motor vehicles be allowed in those wilderness areas.
For the most part, this pertains to the Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Kootenai National Forests.
So, despite Tester and the Montana Wilderness Association touting our wild, roadless areas, we’ll have roads and logging there.
Pretty wild, huh?
Alright, you didn’t come here today to read this boring stuff, now did you?
No, you want something kinda shady, kinda unethical, right?
Well, how about housing?
That’s 1400 Burns Street here in Missoula.
Gabe and Lauren bought and owned 1400 Burns Street #15.
What everyone in Missoula knows, however, is that those Burns Street apartments/condos are taxpayer-subsidized housing provided through the North Missoula Community Development Corporation (NMCDC).
You might remember that back in 2012 the City of Missoula considered forgiving the $243,000 of the $400,000 taxpayer Title 1 funds loan that NMCDC was given to help build the 17 housing units after NMCDC began struggling with their $1.14 million in debt.
At the time, Gabe Furshong served as a resident board member of NMCDC and told the City Council that if NMCDC didn’t get loan forgiveness they could fail and Missoula wouldn’t get that loan money back anyways, so why not forgive it?
The whole intention of the Burns Street housing units was to “make housing permanently affordable.”
That is supposed to happen when Title 1 funds earmarked for projects benefiting low income folks are used to do just that.
That's why I find it interesting that Gabe and Lauren actually bought and lived in a taxpayer-subsidized house until last year.
I find it even more interesting that they sold that house to Pam Walzer, who used to serve in Ward 2 for the Missoula City Council until she was defeated by Adam Hertz in 2011.
I can’t help but think Walzer's 2010 DUI hurt her in that 2011 election, and her 2016 DUI might hurt her in the future.
Shady property deals might also be a bad thing for Pam.
Currently Pam Walzer is the communications director for the Missoula County Democrats.
Burt Caldwell served as Gabe and Lauren’s lawyer on the sale.
It’s clear that they actually sold their Burns Street Condo to Pam Walzer.
What the hell were they doing living in an area intended for low-income people anyways?
At one point a few years ago they had actually advertised on Missoula Community News that they were renting out their Burns Street Condo. So, essentially they were living in taxpayer subsidized housing, but then were collecting rent money off of it.
Is that what we want?
Remember, these folks are not low-income at all.
In fact, they’ve made a damn-good living working for a multi-million dollar nonprofit group, in Gabe’s case the Montana Wilderness Association, or for the Montana Democratic Party in Lauren’s case, supporting politicians like Baucus and Juneau.
I mean, how in the world could people like that even qualify to live at Burns Street?
So we have two professional people, both working for deep-pocketed organizations, and they are the ones getting to live in subsidized housing?
I mean, they hardly should be able to qualify right? What were they being paid by the Democrats or the Montana Wilderness Association at the time they were living there, at the time they were collecting rent?
How the hell did they even get their foot in the door at Burns Street?
There are way, way too many people and families in need in Missoula to have people like Gabe and Lauren eating from the public housing trough.
Those Burns Street housing units go for $79,000 to $119,000 and at a time when the average home cost in Missoula is $209,100.
They got a helluva deal, didn’t they?
And honestly, how in the world is it that Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl couldn't find 'coordination' between the Montana Wilderness Association, Denise Juneau's campaign and Governor Bullock's campaign?
I feel as though we need multiple complaints filed over what Gabe Furshong and Lauren Caldwell are doing.
Perhaps legal action should be taken as well.