Guest view: Cooney will protect Montana’s outdoor heritage and traditions

It’s officially hunting season in Montana. Like many Montanans, our families are headed out into the field to fill our freezers, spend time with family and friends, and appreciate just how lucky we are to be able to spend time hunting and recreating on our public lands.

Growing up, we spent as much time outdoors as possible. Summers and winters were spent making lifelong memories, hiking, fishing, and watching wildlife together as a family.

Our dad is Mike Cooney, candidate for governor. We watched with pride as our dad stood up for conservation and public access in his years as a statewide elected official and as a legislator. As one of the youngest legislators in Montana’s history he has been championing outdoor issues since before we were born. His record speaks for itself and it shows what kind of governor he’ll be for hunters, anglers, and all Montanans.

As secretary of state and a member of the Land Board, he consistently voted for projects to protect wildlife habitat and open it up to public access through the Habitat Montana program. As a state senator, he voted to make Habitat Montana permanent. Hunters paid for Habitat Montana through their license dollars, protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat, while helping ranching families.

Our dad also stood with Gov. Bullock to resist the takeover of federal lands in the state. He knows that would break the state budget and force their sale to pay for the management costs. These lands aren’t just some assets for the state, they’re the places where we go to fish and hunt big game and birds. They’re also places where our parents connect with the Montana that gave them, and in return us, everything.

These days our camping trips are with our parents, spouses and friends. Multiple generations of Montanans getting out and spending quality time in the places we hold dear. Places where we are constantly reminded of how blessed we are to live in this state.

We’re proud of our dad for standing up for these unique Montana values. He knows how important these public lands and access to them are. The right to hunt, fish, and recreate on these lands are as important to our family as they are to the tens of thousands of Montanans headed out into the field this fall.

We are lucky to call Mike Cooney our dad. Montanans would be lucky to call him our governor.

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