Tester Stands with Montanans in Opposing Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions

Senator: I Will Not Back a Nominee Who Opposes the Violence Against Women Act and Supports the Patriot Act

(U.S. Senate)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced that he will oppose the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General after hearing from thousands of Montanans.

Tester expressed his concern over Sessions’ longstanding opposition to the Violence Against Women Act and Sessions’ support for the PATRIOT Act’s bulk data collection provisions.

“I will not back a nominee who supports the most intrusive aspects of the PATRIOT Act and refuses to support survivors of domestic violence,” Tester said. “Mr. Sessions has proven that he will not protect our individual freedoms and he won’t stand up for those who can’t speak for themselves. I am proud to stand with thousands of Montanans who value their right to privacy and protections for women and children.”

Montanans praised Tester’s stance against Sessions.

“We thank Senator Tester for his vote and his commitment to standing with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Kelsen Young, Executive Director of the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “Survivors in Montana rely on federal funds from the Violence Against Women Act to bring perpetrators to justice and support the health and recovery of families, especially in Indian Country where these resources are scarce.”

“Funding from the Violence Against Women Act is critical to providing a full range of services to hundreds of survivors of domestic and sexual violence in our community each year, not just responding in emergency situations but empowering victims with the tools they need to rebuild their lives free of violence,” said Melinda Reed, Executive Director of the Friendship Center. “Senator Tester’s commitment to the reauthorization of VAWA allows us to provide safety and hope for victims and their children, and we are grateful for his continued support.”

“Our organization relies heavily on VAWA funds to keep Montana families safe and provide education to youth about healthy relationships,” said Kelly Heaton, Executive Director of Domestic and Sexual Violence Services in Red Lodge. “Thanks to VAWA we are able to support families in a five-county area in escaping violent and often deadly situations. This is not only good for the individuals we reach but for their communities as well. Almost every dollar we spend to help a family in need bolsters those local economies-supporting family businesses and communities in rural Montana. Thank you Senator Tester for prioritizing our Montana economies and standing with us against violence.”

“We appreciate Senator Tester’s strong stance,” said Mike Geboe, Executive Director of the Rocky Boys Office of Victim Services. “These resources help us promote safety and provide culturally appropriate services to people in our community who are in need.”

Thousands of Montanans have contacted Tester opposing Sessions’ nomination.

Tester last month personally met with Sessions to question him about civil liberties, and encourage him to work more closely with Montana’s Native American Tribes to close the jurisdictional gaps in order to improve justice in Indian Country.

Tester has long opposed the PATRIOT Act, calling it one of the worst pieces of legislation in modern history, and helped lead the charge to eliminate key provisions of the law-including ending the controversial practice of collecting bulk data from American citizens without their knowledge or consent.

Tester voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and has helped make record investments in supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Indian Country.