While Congressman Gianforte shared his support for House’s version of the Great American Outdoors Act in Washington on Wednesday.
Democratic candidate for Governor, Mike Cooney, held a press conference not far from the stream access point that was the center of a lawsuit filed back in 2009. Gianforte sued to remove a portion of the stream access over part of his Bozeman property
“Greg Gianforte sued Montanans meaning you and me, the true owners of our public lands, to block access to that spot right over there,” said Cooney from a podium right next to the East Gallatin River.
The main topic of discussion was protecting Montana’s public lands and criticizing his opponent for not co-sponsoring an identical House version of the Great American Outdoors Act.
“What’s so important about him co-sponsoring it, it shows leadership, it shows his commitment to what he says is his strength of being a proponent of public lands. You can either lead on this issue, or you can follow,” said Cooney.
But, Congressman Gianforte has signaled his strong support of the bill from the start, crediting Montana Senator Steve Daines for taking a lead in Senate.
“My friend Senator Daines deserves a lot of credit. He has successfully advanced this historic legislation. Historic because of its long term dedication to our public lands,” said Gianforte from the House floor on Wednesday.
Gianforte urged his colleagues to support the House bill today, highlighting the benefits for public lands across the country.
While both candidates acknowledged the importance of the bill for Montana’s public lands, they dinged each other on their records and actions.
“I’ve used my time in elected office to expand protections for Montanan’s public lands. He’s used his to attempt to strip them away,” said Cooney.
And in a written statement from Gianforte’s campaign they said:
“Career politician Mike Cooney can make time for a photo op in Bozeman, but he can’t make time to avoid violating state ethics laws or put forward a plan to get Montanans back to work.”