Tester: New Homeland Security Secretary to visit Montana

Napolitano agrees to see northern border at Tester’s request

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – At the request of Senator Jon Tester, the incoming Secretary of Homeland Security has agreed to visit Montana’s northern border.

Janet Napolitano, who currently serves as Governor of Arizona, told Tester she wants to visit the northern border during a confirmation hearing today on Capitol Hill.

Tester is a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.  Last year, he had the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) examine weaknesses and vulnerabilities along the nation’s nearly 4,000-mile border with Canada.  But the non-partisan Government Accountability Office later said the DHS report was insufficient.

Tester pressed Napolitano about the issue during today’s confirmation hearing.  Napolitano replied by saying she plans to visit the border.

“I want to make sure we’ve got our ducks in a row along the northern border,” Tester said.  “We need to maximize security as well as opportunities for travel and business.  Governor Napolitano is smart and qualified for the job, and I look forward to showing her the challenges we face in Montana.”

Last summer, Tester chaired a Senate field hearing in Havre to examine security and commerce along Montana’s northern border.

Several other nominees to serve in President-elect Obama’s cabinet have agreed to visit Montana at Tester’s request, including Veterans’ Affairs Secretary-designate Eric Shinseki and Interior Secretary-designate Ken Salazar.