Cooney taps Schreiner to be his lieutenant governor

Source: Great Falls Tribune

HELENA – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Cooney announced Casey Schreiner as his running mate Friday, saying the Great Falls resident who now serves as House minority leader has a reputation for fighting for the people of Montana. 

“You know, being lieutenant governor is something I know a thing or two about,” Cooney, who now serves in that spot for Gov. Steve Bullock, said after he and Schreiner entered the rotunda to cheers from an assembled crowd.

Cooney said he wanted someone who would be a champion for the people of Montana and someone who would be a voice for the next generation.

“Casey Schreiner is that champion,” he said

He said Schreiner knows that it will take all Democrats to keep Republican Greg Gianforte from setting foot “in the office down the hall.” 

“With Casey at my side, I know that together we are ready to lead, we’re ready to fight for Montana,” Cooney said.

Schreiner, 37, said there is not a person running who is more qualified, more accomplished or more passionate about helping Montanans than Cooney.

He said Montana families deserve to have a seat at the table and to have a fighting chance. Schreiner, a former school teacher, a husband and father of three boys, said Montana families need someone like him, who understands their challenges such as student loan debt, health care challenges and living paycheck to paycheck.

Schreiner ran for governor earlier this year before dropping out of the race, saying he lacked resources for a competitive campaign.

On Friday he noted recent accomplishments by Democrats in the legislative session, such as infrastructure and Medicaid expansion. 

“This team has a track record of fighting and winning for the people of Montana,” he said.Get the News Alerts newsletter in your inbox.

He said if extremist Republicans took office they would “bust the budget.”

Schreiner, a work-based learning director for the Department of Labor and Industry,  warned Republicans would take health care from Montanans, dismantle public education and privatize public land.

“That is why this election is so important,” he said.

Cooney is running against fellow Democrat Whitney Williams in the June 2 primary. Williams has not announced a lieutenant governor. She will reportedly will make an announcement Monday.

Gianforte, the U.S. House representative who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, said he would announce his running mate on Sunday. Attorney General Tim Fox has chosen former Bozeman lawmaker and businessman Jon Knokey as his running mate while state Sen. Al Olszewski named state Sen. Kenneth Bogner of Miles City has his lieutenant governor.

Libertarian candidate Lyman Bishop of Kalispell has John Nesper as his running mate, according to state candidate filing records reported by the Associated Press.

The general election is Nov. 3. The last day to file to run is March 9.