On the Issues

Leading the state out of the COVID-19 crisis

Even before COVID-19 had come to Montana, Mike was working with Governor Bullock to prepare for the impending pandemic. As a result of their foresight and preparedness, Montana is far better off than many other states in the country. This is the kind of experience that distinguished Mike: he’s dealt with this crisis hands-on and knows what it will take to help Montana come back stronger and more resilient.

As Governor, Mike will continue to work with Republicans and Democrats to ensure Montana’s economy doesn’t just come back, it emerges stronger and more resilient than ever before – all the while listening to science and public health experts to make sure Montanans remain healthy and informed. As we continue to steer Montana through this once-in-a-lifetime crisis, we need to keep our eye on the ball. Just because COVID-19 hit doesn’t mean other challenges have gone away.

Jumpstarting our economy to Keep Montanans Working

During his time as Lt. Governor, Mike worked with Governor Steve Bullock to build a foundation for a strong economy. Before COVID-19 hit our state, the Montana economy was strong and growing stronger. As COVID-19 reached Montana, Mike continued to bring together businesses, workers, medical experts, and people from both parties to develop a plan to safely restart our economy and get people back to work faster than neighboring states. As Governor, Mike will make sure Montana businesses have the tools and resources they need to bounce back stronger and more resilient than ever and create more good-paying jobs. 

The Keep Montana Working Plan will:

  • Establish the Hire Montanans First Act
  • Establish the Buy Made in Montana Act
  • Issue an Executive Order on outsourcing
  • Establish the Office of Rural Prosperity
  • Expand apprenticeship tax credit
  • Expand broadband access, especially in rural Montana
  • Propose legislation to create renewable energy Worker Training Grants
  • Establish the Office of Economic and Workforce Development
  • Empower Montana women in the workforce by continuing the fight for equal pay, offer paid family leave, increasing childcare incentives and investing in public pre-K

Working across the aisle to Keep Montanans Healthy

As we continue to navigate through a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, access to quality, affordable health care is one of the most important issues facing Montana families. Mike has fought to increase access to quality and affordable healthcare his entire career: from securing coverage for Montana kids as Executive Director of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies to working across the political spectrum to pass Medicaid expansion in Montana, providing healthcare to thousands of Montanas. As Governor, Mike will continue his efforts to work across the aisle to lower the overall price of healthcare.

The Keep Montana Healthy Plan will:

  • Protect the health and safety of Montanans through the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Preserve and protect Montana’s Medicaid expansion
  • Protect Montanans with pre-existing conditions
  • Bring down the cost of prescription drugs
  • Cap the price of insulin copays
  • End price gouging by Big Pharma companies
  • Increase access to behavioral and rural health care
  • Increase direct-care worker wages
  • Address Native American health disparities 

Protecting the Last Best Place

Montanans enjoy some of the best access laws and programs in the United States and Mike knows first-hard how much Montana’s outdoor recreation contributes to the state’s economy. As Montanans, access to our public lands is crucial to our way of life. Mike has dedicated his career to protecting and expanding access to Montana’s public lands. As Governor, Mike will work to ensure that the current work underway to increase access remains, and is strengthened.

The Protect the Last Best Place Plan will:

  • Expand public access and veto any legislation that limits access
  • Strengthen Habitat Montana
  • Establish the Public Access Lands Act
  • Strengthen and support Block Management
  • Unlock public lands and increase landowner participation
  • Expand and maintain Fishing Access Sites and give full funding to Land and Water Conservation Fund
  • Protect Stream Access Laws
  • Establish the Office of Outdoor Recreation

Investing in public education and the next generation of Montanans

Mike is the proud product of Butte public schools and sent his three kids to Montana public schools. Casey Schreiner is a former public school teacher. They don’t need a lesson on the importance of public education and the responsibility of leaders to invest in our future. Mike and Casey are committed to finding innovative ways to support educators and increase funding. Mike has a proven record of fighting for Montana’s students when he fought alongside Governor Bullock for access to quality preschool, college tuition freezes, the 6-mill levy, and other initiatives that directly impact students and families all across Montana. Mike also knows there’s more to be done to bring down the costs of Montana’s higher education system and to expand access to learning opportunities. Now more than ever, Montana must protect and invest in our public education system. 

The Brighter Montana Future Plan will:

  • Protect the health & safety of students by investing in remote learning resources, offering a lunch debt waiver, and increasing funding for Special Education
  • Reduce college debt and build the state’s workforce
  • Invest in Montana’s future leaders through the establishment of a public pre-K, a college tuition freeze, and a Student Borrower Bill of Rights
  • Support good-paying jobs

Respecting tribal sovereignty while strengthening government-to-government relations

Mike has spent years working directly with tribal leaders on Montana’s reservations on issues from education, to COVID-19, to healthcare, to addressing the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People. Since serving in the state legislature and as Secretary of State, Deputy Director of the Department of Labor & Industry, and now Lt. Governor, Mike has a proven track record of working with Montana tribes to increase economic opportunity.

It is imperative that we respect tribal sovereignty while strengthening our government-to-government relationships with Montana’s tribal nations. As Governor, Mike will work directly with tribal leaders to increase access to healthcare, to grow business and job opportunities, to expand investment in tribal colleges, improve voting access, and to preserve the rich history and traditions of Native Americans. With Mike as Governor, the sovereign tribal nations of Montana will have a seat at the table.

Standing up to discrimination and fighting for equality

Mike has always been a vocal supporter of equal protection under the law for all Montanans. Throughout his tenure in public office, he’s opposed any anti-LGBTQ legislation that would discriminate against or deny protection based on sexual identity, gender identity or gender expression. Even though some local jurisdictions across the state now have non-discrimination ordinances in place, the State of Montana still does not. As Governor, Mike will work with the legislature and the courts to ensure that Montanans of all identities, orientations and backgrounds are protected under the full extent of the law.


Working with local governments to mitigate the rising costs of housing

Housing affordability is an issue that crosses county and political lines. Addressing this issue will require local and state governments to work together. It is essential that we protect Montana families, students, farmers, ranchers – Republicans and Democrats – from being priced out of their homes by wealthy out-of-staters moving into multi-million dollar homes.

Mike has spent years working with local governments to solve local issues and his approach would be no different with the issue of affordable housing. Tools include Housing Trust Funds, State Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and Tax Increment Financing Districts are some of the ways we can make sure communities have the resources they need to address local housing issues, and that we’re protecting our Montana values and way of life.

Mitigating the effects of a changing global climate

Montanans know our climate is changing because we see it in front of our own eyes. Glaciers are melting, crop seasons are getting shorter and more unpredictable, fire seasons are getting longer and more expensive. Across the state folks including farmers, ranchers, outdoorsmen and women, and students agree we must take action to protect Montana for future generations — for our kids and our grandkids — without leaving workers behind. It is essential that we rely on the science behind climate change while making informed decisions that reflect Montana values. 

In July of 2019, the Bullock administration joined governors across the country in signing an executive order to join the U.S. Climate Alliance in response to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.  Mike proudly stood by the Governor’s side when this was signed and will continue to focus on progressive legislation at the state level addressing climate change as Governor.

Montana has always been an energy leader, and we can continue to be a leader in transitioning to a clean energy economy, supporting good new jobs for Montanans who have helped power the country for decades. As Governor, Mike will be committed to providing renewable energy incentives to encourage the transition to cleaner energy sources. He supports the continuation of the Climate Change Solutions Councils and would invest resources into achieving statewide Greenhouse Gas Neutrality.

Supporting Montana’s number one industry

Agriculture remains Montana’s number one industry, but Montana’s ag industry is hurting right now. It’s critical that we continue to fight for Montana farmers, ranchers and the agriculture industry in Montana. Mike understands production agriculture and the unique challenges family farmers face, particularly given the Trump Administration’s disastrous trade policies, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increasing impacts of a changing climate. As Governor, he’ll work tirelessly to ensure a bright future for our state’s number one economy.

The Growing Montana Plan will:

  • Support good-paying manufacturing jobs
  • Reinstate Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef and pork products
  • Support local meat processing and expand the Made in Montana/Grown in Montana labels to meat products
  • Support hemp as a crop
  • Support “Right to Repair” legislation for ranchers and farmers

Caring for those who fought for us

Montana’s veterans are an integral part of Montana’s communities and we honor their service and it is our duty to fulfill the promises that we have made to them. As Governor, Mike will be committed to making sure to stand up for Montana’s military families, and make sure they get the care and respect they deserve.

The Supporting America’s Heroes Plan will:

  • Increase investment into suicide prevention
  • Convene a Veteran Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Council
  • Expand access to rural broadband and telemedicine
  • Preserve and protect Medicaid Expansion
  • Strengthen authorization and acceptance of VA education benefits for curriculum and programs
  • Provide for equal and fair treatment of National Guard members
  • Increase the apprenticeship tax credit for veterans and military technical training and certification
  • Streamline Occupational Licensing reciprocity for military family members
  • Support elementary and secondary school transition to include children of the National Guard and Reserve
  • Support military families members entering the workforce
  • Support veteran outreach to ensure services are being delivered
  • Establish a program for donors to give hunting licenses to disabled veterans

Standing up for Montana’s workers

Raised in Butte, Mike grew up on the picket lines and was part of the Montana families fighting together against powerful corporations for better wages and better working conditions. He’s fought for our union brothers and sisters every step along the way in his career in public service and has been consistently supported and endorsed by labor unions in all of his legislative races, his campaigns for Secretary of State, and when he was on the ticket in 2016. As recently as last year, he worked directly with lawmakers during the legislative session to pass a bill providing presumptive healthcare for Montana firefighters, a decades-long fight. As Governor, Mike would continue to carry on the fight for union workers and families. 

A New Day for Workers Plan will:

  • Provide for presumptive health care coverage for PTSD for first responders, law enforcement and firefighters
  • Establish workplace pandemic standards
  • Require predictive scheduling for certain employers
  • Establish a fair work week
  • Expand apprenticeship tax credit
  • Grow statewide infrastructure investments to create good-paying jobs
  • Enact a comprehensive plan to promote clean energy and technology manufacturing including Carbon Capture Sequestration and Utilization
  • Empower and ensure that Dept. of Labor & Industry is enforcing all wage and hour standards
  • Provide smart and safe mining and materials
  • Require certain state contractors to utilize apprenticeships to build the workforce
  • Support union organization
  • Implement “Best Value” procurement methods in state contracting