At Town Hall in Missoula, Tester Talk Job Corps Victory, Public Lands

Senator fields questions from more than 100 Montanans at in-person public forum

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester spent an hour fielding questions and soliciting input from more than 100 Montanans at an in-person town hall in Missoula today.

“I think democracy still works, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it can. And I think it works best when you get public input. It’s the reason I do these things,” Tester told the crowd gathered at the Holiday Inn in downtown Missoula this morning. “It’s about contacting your representatives, it’s about coming to events like this and talking about these issues, it’s about sending emails, and it’s about tracking us down and holding us accountable.”

After an introduction by Mayor John Engen, Tester kicked off the town hall by discussing his recent legislative efforts. He celebrated Wednesday’s announcement that the USDA would not be moving forward with its proposal to shut down or privatize all 25 Forest Service-run Job Corps Centers across the country, including Trapper Creek in Darby and another center in Anaconda.

He also touted Congress’ recent passage of his Blue Water Navy Veterans Act, which will enable veterans who served off the shores of Vietnam to access VA health care and benefits related to their Agent Orange exposure. And he touched on his recently reintroduced Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, a made-in-Montana forest management solution that will protect 79,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas.

Tester then answered questions on topics ranging from climate change to affordable housing to foreign affairs.

“Climate change is real—there’s no doubt about that—but in order to get anything passed, it’s got to get done in a bipartisan way,” Tester responded when asked about reaching across the aisle to address climate change. “We’ve got to address it in a commonsense way and the sooner we do it the better off this world’s going to be for our kids and our grandkids.”

This is Tester’s second in-person town hall of the year and his ninth since President Trump took office. Tester has also held dozens of in-person public forums since 2016, on everything from health care reform to Farm Bill reauthorization, VA community care, the ongoing trade war, and local infrastructure priorities across the state.