At Helena Town Hall, Tester Talks Policy with the Public
During his third in-person town hall of the year, Senator takes questions from 100+ Montanans
(Helena, Mont.) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester fielded questions and solicited feedback from a crowd of more than 100 in Helena today.
"We've had some success lately back in D.C. and a big part of that is because of all the support and input from everyday Montanans like you," Tester said. "Your ideas, your concerns, and your feedback are what I take back to Washington with me, so I can make sure Washington is working for you."
Tester kicked off the town hall with an update on some of his recent legislative initiatives. He commended the Senate's passage of his bill to federally recognize the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians last week and noted that the President also signed his Blue Water Navy Veterans Act into law, enabling veterans who served off shores in Vietnam to access VA health care and benefits related to Agent Orange exposure.
Tester also spoke about his recently reintroduced Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, a made-in-Montana forest management solution that would protect 79,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas. He wrapped up his opening remarks by condemning Congress' inaction on fully funding the Land Water Conservation Fund, which was permanently reauthorized earlier this year, but Congress still needs to appropriate funding.
Tester then fielded questions from the crowd on everything from public lands to teacher shortages to suicide prevention.
"In a lot of the frontier areas of our state and across the country it's hard to find teachers," Tester told the crowd after being asked about his legislation to recruit more teachers to rural schools. "If we want folks to get an education, we need more folks in education. So it's really important that we value our teachers more than we do now, because if we ever lose our public education system in this country, our democracy is done."
This is Tester's third in-person town hall of the year-his others took place in Bozeman and Missoula-and his tenth since President Trump took office. Tester has also held dozens of public, in-person forums since 2016, on everything from health care reform to Farm Bill reauthorization, VA community care, the ongoing trade war, and local infrastructure priorities.