Tester takes to the Senate floor to fight for emergency operations center in Whitefish, Montana

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today forcefully defended funding for an emergency operations center in Whitefish, Montana, after an amendment was introduced on the Senate floor to strip the money from the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.

As a Member of the influential Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester included $900,000 in the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for the $8.8 million project to build an emergency operations center in Whitefish.  The balance of the project is being financed through local bonds.

 “This is about people.  It’s about public safety.  It’s about homeland security,” Tester said.  “It’s about fire fighters and other first responders in our frontier communities and across rural America.  Specifically, it’s about protecting the people in and around the greater Flathead Valley region in north west Montana.”

The amendment to strip the funding failed on a vote of 36 to 59. Both Republicans and Democrats joined Tester and Senator Max Baucus in voting against the amendment.

The new center will house Whitefish’s 9-1-1 call center, the police and fire departments, and the city court.  The center will also allow for enhanced radio communications among state, local and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the Flathead region.  Funding for the Whitefish center remains in the bill.  The Senate is expected to pass the bill later this week.