Tester meets with Montana sheriffs

Senator and law enforcement leaders discuss importance of early childhood education

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester sat down this week with a number of Montana law enforcement officers to discuss his support for early childhood education programs and the positive results they have for at-risk families and children.

Tester met with Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton, Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards, Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir and State Director of America’s Edge, Dave Curry. America’s Edge is a membership organization with an office in Butte that works to strengthen businesses and the economy by investing in children at an early age.

The law enforcement leaders also met with fellow Montana Senator Max Baucus.

“The key to a good economy is good education, making early education an investment in our future,” said Tester, a former teacher. “Through the Home Visiting Program we’ve seen improved school readiness and reductions in crime. Investing in childhood education pays short- and long-term benefits for our state.”

Home Visiting provides grants to state agencies and organizations, including the Montana Department of Health and Human Services and tribal organizations. The State of Montana recently won a $5.7 million grant.

Tester also spoke about the need to fully fund Head Start and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. The automatic budget cuts, knows as the sequester, have hurt early childhood education efforts like Head Start, which received a five percent budget cut in 2013.

Tester, a member of the influential Senate Appropriations Committee, will continue to push to repeal the cuts and ensure full funding for Head Start and grants for early education.