Tester gives a government lesson at HHS

Havre Daily News

by Zach White

Sen. Jon Tester came to the Hi-Line and visited the U. S. Border Patrol, Hill and Blaine counties officials and John Ita’s advanced placement government class at Havre High School.

The senator, between meeting with Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Alan Bersin and heading out to Blaine County, spent about an hour of his visit Tuesday talking with Ita’s seniors about how the government works and particulars about his ideas and efforts.

“It's always good to visit with these young adults. They’re a good bunch of kids, ” Tester said. “Initially they’re a little bit shy, and I told them if they don’t ask me anything I’ll ask them, about the number of senators and functions of government. Just kind of beat them up on the civics.”

Once these students got a little more comfortable, they began asking about the senator’s priorities and efforts, discussing alternative energy sources, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors act and President Barack Obama’s actions in Libya, sharing some inside-the-beltway gossip about some Democratic unease about the situation.

“I think, first of all, the president should have had better contact with Congress, ” Tester said. “The whole thing about secrecy and not putting service people in danger, I get that. But it could have been handled better.”

Ita said that one of his students asked the senator about his views on earmarks, since his campaign in 2006, when the student would have been back at Havre Middle School. Tester said that earmarks have a place, but it should be clear who is sponsoring them.

The senator had to leave before too long, taking a few minutes to talk with Assistant Principal Kipp Lewis about the situation behind the school's caved-in roof. He took a look at the construction going on in the school’s library and computer lab.

Ita said he regretted not having an opportunity to get pictures.

“We were going to try to get some pictures because some of students have similar haircuts to the senator, ” Ita said of Tester's buzz cut.

According to Ita, this was the third time Tester had come to visit the civics students, the last being during his senatorial campaign in 2006. He is the latest of several legislators at the state and federal level to make some time for the students.