Tester introduces bill to name Billings VA Clinic ‘Bear Root’

Name was selected by veterans’ panel appointed by Congressional delegation

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today introduced legislation to name the Billings VA Clinic the “Bear Root Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic.”

Bear Root is a healing plant that has been used for thousands of years by Native Americans and non-Native people in the Rocky Mountain region. The name was selected by a committee appointed by all three members of Montana’s Congressional delegation.

Tester and fellow Montana Senator John Walsh, who is a co-sponsor of Tester’s legislation, recently sent a letter to leaders of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee asking them to move forward and help pass the legislation through the Senate so the House of Representatives can quickly follow suit.

“From the very beginning, the naming committee looked for a name that represented all of the veterans, past and current, in the region,” Tester and Walsh wrote. “After much research and deliberation, the committee unanimously agreed upon the “Bear Root VA Clinic.” We respectfully request that you approve this legislation as quickly as possible.”

The new clinic name is supported by Montana’s three largest Veterans Service Organizations: the American Legion (HERE), Disabled American Veterans (HERE) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (HERE). The naming committee’s letter to Tester is available online HERE.

Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, led the charge to build and then expand the clinic, which added new medical services for veterans from Montana and northern Wyoming.

The Senator celebrated the clinic’s expansion this April by saying the facility would “provide our region’s veterans with some of the best medical care our nation has to offer.”

Bear Root’s oil, leaves and seeds are used for medicinal cures and other purposes, such as Native American ceremonies.

Tester and Walsh’s bill is available online HERE. Their letter to the Veterans’ Affairs Committee is available online HERE.