Tester Joins Local Officials at Grand Opening of Southwest Montana Veterans Home in Butte
Butte community celebrated new, state-of-the-art veterans facility after decade-long push from Senator
U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today joined local, state, and federal officials in celebration of the grand opening of the new Southwest Montana Veterans Home in Butte. Following a decade-long push from Tester, the veterans home welcomed its first resident in March 2021.
“This is a great day for veterans across Montana, but especially for those in Butte who will now have access to quality care and services at this top-notch facility,” said Tester. “Folks in the Butte-Silver Bow community and in the state legislature gave their time, passion, and resources to deliver for veterans in southwest Montana, and I couldn’t be prouder to have been a part of this massive effort. Together, we’ll have the privilege of seeing the lasting impacts this new state-of-the-art facility will have on Montana’s veterans and their families for years to come.”
The approximately $20 million facility includes five, 12-bedroom cottages along with a Community Center and the capacity to house 60 veterans. The facility offers many services for its residents, including an activities program, spiritual resources, support groups, and social services.
For years, Tester led the charge in Congress to secure this new, state-of-the-art veterans facility. A timeline of his efforts can be found below:
- Efforts to fund the project began about three decades ago, when veteran and former Montana Legislator Bob Pavlovich first proposed the idea for a Southwest Montana Veterans Home in 1993.
- In Congress, Tester fought to secure federal funding for the project by raising the issue directly with Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki in 2010.
- He then brought VA Secretary Robert McDonald to Montana in 2015 to hear directly from Butte officials about the critical need for a Veterans Home in southwest Montana.
- In 2017, as Vice-Chairman of the VA Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester successfully included an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs Appropriations Act to give rural states like Montana a fair shot at securing funding to build new Veterans Homes. He also introduced an amendment to provide funding for the Southwest Montana’s Veterans Home but that amendment was defeated on a party-line vote.
- On March 22, 2018, as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Tester secured $9.7 million for construction of the Southwest Montana Veterans Home in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. He was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to vote for the bill.
- During the 2019 legislative session, former Governor Bullock supported-and the legislature passed-HB5 that provided $5 million as part of the Long-Range Building Program. This funding ensured the project could be fully funded.
- Tester joined Bullock, along with various local, state and federal officials at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Southwest Montana Veterans Home on July 2, 2019.
- Tester continued to work with local stakeholders and the federal government to ensure construction and regulatory entities were in communication for all permitting, approval processes, and sign offs needed for the opening of the facility.
- In March 2021, the Southwest Montana Veterans Home welcomed its first resident.
- In April 2021, Tester brought VA Secretary Denis McDonough to meet firsthand with Montana veterans and tour the facility on his first official trip as Cabinet Secretary.