On the Issues

Promoting Jobs and Economic Opportunity

Families across Montana continue to climb the ladder of opportunity: Montana’s middle-class has experienced the largest growth of any state, more folks are working than ever before in Montana’s history, wages are going up, and unemployment is at its lowest in a decade.

Mike has played a key role in successful efforts to boost Montana’s economic growth, expand business opportunities and help workers find better-paying jobs his entire career in public service. He spearheaded a new tax credit for businesses who hire apprentices and fought for an additional tax credit for working Montana families.

But Mike knows we have more to do to make sure employers in Montana have the talented and trained workforce they need. Just like he has throughout his entire career, Mike will seek out ways to increase business investment and opportunity, build career pathways for workers and expand opportunity in urban and rural communities across Montana.

Learn more: Mike’s Main Street Montana Rural Initiative

Lowering the Cost of Healthcare and Expanding Access to Care

Healthcare remains one of the top issues Montana families face. Mike has been championing increased access to quality and affordable healthcare since he worked for Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, a non-profit organization that serves women and children.

Fast forward to last year’s fight to reauthorize Medicaid expansion, Mike traveled every corner of the state for months, visiting our most rural hospitals and the folks in those communities to fight for jobs, economic livelihoods, and the healthcare he knows Montanans deserve.

Mike has already proposed to pass a bipartisan policy to allow for the safe importation of prescription drugs from Canada – a plan that has passed in both Republican and Democratic states and is supported by the Trump Administration – to lower the burden of costs for all Montanans.

Learn more: Mike’s plan to lower the cost of our prescriptions

Mike also has an extensive record of fighting for access to affordable reproductive healthcare–he has a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Montana. Since he was first in the legislature, he’s fought tooth and nail to reject legislation that would restrict access to health care and will continue to do so when he’s Governor. He’ll also continue the legacy of the Bullock administration by protecting permanent Title X funding in the state’s budget.

Standing up for Workers and Against Out-of-State Special Interests

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 brothers and sisters in labor every step along the way in his career in public service. He’s also consistently been 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.

Mike was proud to stand with the locked out workers of IBEW Local D239 on the picket line in Three Forks. He knows that Montanans stand stronger together and that it is the hardworking folks of our state who are worth fighting for. 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.

Mike is a proven leader for our unions, for our working families, and for the future of this state. He has lived the experience of communities founded on unions and families sacrificing for stronger livelihoods. He carries on that fight today as the Lt. Governor of our state and he will do the same as Governor.

Fighting for Tribal Sovereignty & Economic Opportunity

Mike has the most experience of any candidate on issues related to fostering strong government-to-government relationships with Indian Country. 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.

As Lt. Governor, Mike has held community meetings with all tribal governments and community members through the Main Street – Rural Partners initiative, helping those leaders to create roadmaps that will address community concerns and identify solutions to economic growth. During the legislative sessions, Mike has been a partner in passing legislation to preserve Indian languages, increase opportunities to capital for native-owned businesses, and improve access to healthcare services and quality public education.

As governor, Mike will continue to ensure that tribal sovereignty is respected while continuing to invest in economic opportunities for American Indians on and off the reservations. Mike will prioritize working with Montana’s federal delegation to advocate for a renewed focus on & access to Indian Health Services, investment in and expansion of tribal colleges, and improve access to voting. He’ll also continue the important work started by the 2019 legislature to address the ongoing crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

Protecting Access to our Public Lands and Outdoor Recreation

Mike spent his childhood growing up on public lands and takes every opportunity he can take to get outside and enjoy all the outdoor opportunities Montana has to offer. He knows first-hand how Montana’s outdoor recreation economy contributes to the state’s economy and provides good-paying jobs for Montanans. Mike knows how important access to our public lands — owned by us — is to who we are as Montanans.

There are powerful interests pushing to take public lands out of public hands in order to exploit our clean air, clean water and natural resources. These powerful special interests see our public lands as a cash register waiting to be sold off to the highest bidder. Mike will stand up against any attempt to transfer federal land and as Governor — a critical member of the State Land Board — will work with our partners in the conservation and outdoor communities to ensure public lands stay public. Having already served on the State Land Board for 12 years as Secretary of State, Mike has a proven record–and 100% rating from Montana Conservation Voters–of protecting our natural heritage and securing access to our public lands for all Montanans.

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Supporting Equality for All Montanans

Mike is an avid supporter of equal protection under the law for all Montanans, especially our LGBTQ friends and neighbors. Throughout his tenure in public office, he’s opposed any anti-LGBTQ legislation that would discriminate against or deny protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

In 2008 when Mike was President of the Montana Senate, he authored an op-ed after one of his colleagues lost her job for coming out. At the time — and still to this day — there was no legal recourse for his friend within Montana statute. 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 and orientations are protected under the full extent of the law.

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Investing in Public Education and the Next Generation

As someone who has attended public school in Montana and sent his three kids to public school in Montana, Mike Cooney understands the importance of public education and the responsibility of leaders to invest in our future. He is a strong champion of Montana’s public education system and continually seeks 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. But Mike 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 — from pre-K to K-12 and two-year colleges through apprenticeships.

As Governor, Mike will work with partner organizations to secure a public, voluntary, quality pre-k program across the state, ensure the 6-mill levy that funds our universities becomes permanent, and increase investments in two-year colleges, apprenticeship programs, and vocational education opportunities. He will oppose any efforts to divert public funding toward private education.

Taking Action to Mitigate the Impacts of Climate Change

Montanans know our climate is changing, 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.

Mike Cooney knows climate change is real and knows it’s going to take all of us to make a meaningful difference. He’s committed to bringing everyone to the table — every individual, every business, every industry and every community — that depend on our clean air, our pristine water, our open lands and outdoor spaces to ensure they are protected from further negative impacts of a changing climate.

Mike is committed to working with local communities to discuss what is best for their families and neighbors, and focusing on a realistic transition to renewable energy sources. He understands that both traditional and alternative forms of energy production are vital for the success of Montana, and also for the county.

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 withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Lt. Governor Cooney 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.

Mike supports medical marijuana and support the citizens’ initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana. He sat down with the organizers of the initiative early on and pledged his support. Mike believes we need to make sure we implement a program that works for Montana, including having protections to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors, implementing a proper testing system to make sure the marijuana being sold is safe, and ensuring any revenue from the taxation and sale of marijuana is structured in a way that benefits Montana’s budget in the long run.