Outdoor writer Don Thomas: Cooney is right choice for Montana hunters and anglers

Thomas: Cooney “has championed [public lands] from the time he was first elected to the Montana legislature throughout his term as Lieutenant Governor.”

MONTANA — Writing in the Missoulian yesterday, nationally-recognized outdoor writer Don Thomas endorsed Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney for governor as “the right choice for Montana hunters and anglers”  and criticized Cooney’s opponent, New Jersey millionaire Greg Gianforte, for his anti-public lands platform. Thomas called Gianforte’s professed support for public lands a “dishonest” effort at “green-washing” his record, and contrasted that dishonesty with lifelong public lands champion Cooney’s consistent support for “programs of vital importance to Montana sportsmen and women”.


Missoulian: Cooney is right choice for Montana hunters and anglers
By Don Thomas

Highlights:

No one can control the location of their birthplace, and everyone not lucky enough to be born in Montana has a right to locate here, including East Coast billionaire Greg Gianforte. Most such new arrivals soon learn some appreciation for local values, a process with which Gianforte seems to have exceptional difficulty.

[Gianforte] got off to a terrible start in 2009 by filing a lawsuit against the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, seeking to invalidate a previously negotiated public easement allowing access to the East Gallatin River across his land. 



In the interval, Gianforte’s position on these issues has grown muddled by “green-washing,” a dishonest process by which politicians with a long history of opposition to public access and similar issues suddenly become their champions.

His opponent, Mike Cooney, offers a stark contrast. During four decades of experience in state government, he has consistently supported programs of vital importance to Montana sportsmen and women, such as Habitat Montana, the Block Management program, the Public Lands Access Act, the Montana Stream Access law, and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Cooney did not support these policies overnight with an eye to an upcoming election. He has championed these positions from the time he was first elected to the Montana legislature throughout his term as Lieutenant Governor.



So, ask yourself another simple question. Would you be comfortable with Greg Gianforte supervising the State Land Board or determining the fate of our stream access law? Neither would I. That’s why I’m voting for Mike Cooney and encouraging friends to do the same.
 

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