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I’m running to be your next Governor.

Montanans know our state isn’t just a special place – we’re proud to be The Last Best Place. And we can never allow Montana to become the special interests’ place.

We’re Big Sky Country, not the land of big corporations. Being known as The Treasure State is not an invitation for powerful interests to sell out our unique way of life.

As a legislator from Butte and president of the Montana Senate representing Helena, as secretary of state and Governor Bullock’s trusted partner as lieutenant governor, this is how I’ve always seen our Montana home: a place with values worth protecting, with a way of life worth fighting for.

That’s why I’m running for governor. To put our Montana health care, public education, jobs and public lands first – while putting the special interests, with their dark money and narrow agendas, in their place.

I’m running to be nobody’s governor … but yours.

I’ve had the privilege of serving Montana almost my entire life, and I’m excited to take this next step to serve all of you as governor.

I’m running because Montana is my home. It’s our home. And we’ve got to protect the progress we’ve made in the state and ensure we’re fighting for even more opportunity for future generations of Montanans.

Montanans work hard and ask for very little. We want to preserve our way of life. We want to have a fair chance to raise our families so that they can have an even better life than we had. We want to make a good living and be paid a good wage for a hard day’s work.

We want our children to have the opportunity to receive a public education that will allow them to compete with anyone, anywhere in the world.

We want our public lands - in fact we own our public lands - here in Montana. Our clean air and clean water and the grandeur of our own natural heritage is part of who we are.

What we don’t want is some wealthy out-of-stater who doesn’t understand our values, because they don’t live our values.

Come 2020, we face that risk of seating someone in the governor’s office who fundamentally doesn’t understand what makes Montana our home. We risk losing all the progress we have made and all the opportunity we have protected.

But I won’t let that happen. Because it’s my belief — our belief — in opportunities, and the opportunity to fight for what we believe in and have a voice in this state. Opportunity to get a good education. Opportunity to have a job that pays well. Opportunity to provide for our families. And opportunity to enjoy our public lands.

I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. That work begins now, and that work won’t stop until the polls close on November 3, 2020. I’m not afraid to show up in every community in this state and talk directly to Montana voters. I’ve already traveled the 147,000 square miles of this great state time and time again. I will continue to do so. And I’ll do it in a way that respects the diversity of our state.

I want to hear directly from Montanans about what kind of Montana they want to call home. For us, for our kids, and for our grandkids.

Respecting each other, working together, is how we will move forward. Montana is a state where people talking to people still matters. And that’s what I’m going to do.

See you out on the campaign trail!

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Democrat Mike Cooney, of Helena, is Montana's lieutenant governor.

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Opinion Editor

Opinion editor for The Billings Gazette.