Lt. Governor Mike Cooney spoke to the KGVO Talk Back show on Wednesday as he was traveling between campaign appearances as he runs for Governor.

Cooney recently unveiled a new initiative to help veterans in Montana.

“We have a high rate of veterans one of the highest in the in the country on a per capita basis,” said Cooney. “So it is important to Montanans and I just think that, especially with some of the comments that we've heard coming out of Washington, DC this past week that we needed to step up. The governor is the commander in chief of the National Guard, and I needed to make sure that our military families, our National Guard members know that if I have the privilege of being elected governor, that I would certainly have their back.”

Cooney acknowledged that suicide among veterans is at epidemic proportions.

“Number one, we have a high rate of suicide among our veterans and our members of the military in Montana,” he said. “We need to deal with assistance at a crisis point. Although I think we've taken some very good steps to deal with this, we need to do more. We need to make sure we're putting the proper resources into the military making sure that they have access to the sort of care that they need to take care of those wounds that can be mental as well as physical.”

Cooney pledged to create a special council to address veterans’ issues if he is elected Governor of Montana.

“We're going to convene a council made up of a number of different groups to sit down and really address this issue,” he said. “We want to make sure that we are leaving no stone unturned to try to find better solutions to prevent these tragedies that we see in our in our veterans and in our military today.”

Cooney is running against Republican Greg Gianforte.