Tester, Walsh meet with Montana’s U.S. Senate Youth delegates

Senators welcome Montana students Skaar and Russell to nation’s capital, applaud commitment to public service

(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh this week met with Montana’s student-representatives to the 52nd United States Senate Youth Program – a week-long program held every year in Washington, D.C. that gives students an up close look at the federal government and seeks to build a life-long commitment to public service.

Rachel Skaar, of Helena, and Sharidan Russell, of Polson, were nominated by their teachers and principals and selected by Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau to be part of the group of 104 delegates to attend the program’s annual “Washington Week.”

Tester and Walsh encouraged Skaar and Russell, who were chosen for their demonstrated leadership and outstanding academic achievement, to ask good, tough questions while in Washington and to apply what they learned to become leaders back in Montana.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these students to ask our leaders about the big issues facing our nation,” said Tester, a Senate co-chair of the 2014 program. “Montana’s future is in good hands with young leaders like Rachel and Sharidan-I applaud their hard work and commitment to public service, and I look forward to hearing about their future success.”

“These Montana students represent the future of our state, and it was a privilege to meet with them,” said Walsh. “When our young adults are engaged in civics early on, it shows us how investing in their education can pay off. I commend Rachel and Sharidan on their achievement – I know we will see great accomplishments from them in the years to come.”

While in Washington, D.C., Skaar and Russell are attending meetings and briefings with Senators and Congressional staff, President Obama, a Justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, and members of the national media.

The Senate Youth program was created in 1962, after being proposed by Montana Senator Mike Mansfield. The program is sponsored by the Senate and funded by the Hearst Foundations.

In addition to participating in the Youth Program, Skaar and Russell also receive a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship from the Hearst Foundations to continue studying government, history and public affairs.

Tester and Walsh met with Skaar and Russell at the Annual Reception on Wednesday for all Senators and Delegates. As Senate co-chair, Tester also delivered a keynote speech to the group on Monday night.