Montana Standard: Mike Lawson: This is the veteran’s Jon Tester

by Mike Lawson

Reading Daniel Hamann’s negative opinion on Sen, Jon Tester’s support for veterans (Standard, Oct. 3), made me livid and I need to respond.

I’m a Vietnam, two-tour Marine combat veteran with a Bronze Star with a Combat “v” and a Purple Heart, among other unit citations, ribbons, etc. I served in Vietnam and the Marine Corps from 1965-1969. I’m a life member of the Marine Corps League, the DAV, the American Legion and the VFW, being an officer in all of them. I am a veteran advocate and anything to help veterans with medical/mental issues/etc. I strongly support.

When I read Mr. Hamann’s letter, I was stunned and wondered where he was coming from, because his statements about Jon Tester were totally off-base and untrue. In 2022 alone, as chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Jon delivered key wins for veterans in the passing of 19 bipartisan veteran bills. The key one was the PACT ACT. He works with both Republicans and Democrats and has had more bipartisan bills passed than any other member of Congress. He fought to get the Southwest Montana Veterans’ Home in Butte become a reality. Without his bulldog tenacity, it wouldn’t have been built.

He supports Montana veterans and the veterans across the U.S. and is appreciated by not only Montana veterans, but veterans throughout our country. He has received a number of awards from his efforts on behalf of veterans and their families, in the 117th Congress. The following are some of them: the Student Veterans of America’s Sonny Montgomery Student Veteran Champion Award, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ 2021 Policy Award, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors’ TAPS Congressional Award, the Retired Enlisted Association’s Legislator of the Year Award, the Fleet Reserve Association’s Pinnacle Award, the Jefferson Islands Club Citizen of the Year Award, and the Wounded Warrior Project’s Legislator of the Year Award. Does this sound like the man that Mr. Hamann is trying to portray?

Jon has been a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee since 2007, and is the only member of the Montana delegation who sits on the committee. During all of Jon’s time in the Senate, he has continuously been a champion for veterans and his accomplishments on their behalf are second to none. As a veteran, I know firsthand that he has our best interests at heart, and we don’t want to lose him. Time after time, the old saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been Jon’s trademark. He deserves and has earned and continues to earn the veterans’ support.