Tester Addresses Montana State Legislature

Tester: “This body has an opportunity to truly make sure Montana is an affordable place to live and to work”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) addressed the Montana State Legislature today, urging lawmakers to use Montana common sense to make sure the state is an affordable place to live and to work, honor the veterans who served our state and our country, and protect Montanans’ freedom and privacy.  

As the former President of the Montana State Senate, Tester began his remarks by highlighting how the Treasure State’s citizen legislature is structured to keep members grounded, and encouraged members to use their time in Helena to better serve the people of Montana.

“It is a great system and one that I believe in so strongly that even today, my wife and I continue to operate our farm in North Central Montana while serving in the United States Senate – in fact I am the only actively engaged farmer in the United States Senate, said Tester. “But it’s not enough to have the best system if it isn’t put to good use.”

Tester focused on the most important issue facing Montana: tackling the high costs that hard working Montanans are facing every day, from inflation to housing to health care and child care costs.

“This body has an opportunity to truly make sure Montana is an affordable place to live and to work,” said Tester. “I urge you to take steps to put more money in the pockets of working folks in the long run – rather than handing out checks to the wealthy and well connected in the short term.

He then spoke about the importance of taking on party leaders to do what is right for Montanans.

“In Washington, I will always take on anyone to defend Montana values and do what’s right for our state,” said Tester. “…I implore this body to do the same: Do what’s right for your constituents, and our state — not just what party leaders expect.”

Tester also emphasized the importance of ensuring our veterans receive the health care they have earned, and highlighted the successful signing of his PACT Act.

“Montana is home to more than 100,000 veterans – nearly 10 percent of our state’s population – who were willing to put their life on the line for our country,” said Tester. “I’m proud of the fact that we were able to get my toxic exposure bill known as the PACT Act passed and signed by the President last year – it is the biggest expansion of VA health care in history, and it will provide more than 60,000 of Montana’s toxic-exposed veterans with the health care and benefits they earned.”

He also spoke about protecting privacy and freedom – values that are fundamental to Montanans.

“I will always defend a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions, because those freedoms are fundamental to who we are as Montanans and as Americans,” said Tester. “Privacy and freedom are bedrock principles in this state, and elected officials would do well to respect that, whether it’s about regulating the kinds of medical care families receive, or protecting our Second Amendment rights.”

Tester concluded his speech to the legislature by encouraging the body to keep working families in mind when passing policies, because they are the backbone of Montana.

“Montana has always been a state of the working man and woman. We know what it’s like to get our hands dirty, and we’ve never had much affinity for the ultra-wealthy. The Treasure State has always been about the people who have built this country, whether it’s a laborer, a farmer, or a small business owner,” said Tester. “Keep that in mind as you pass your policies. It’s how we built this country, and it’s how we’ll keep Montana the Last Best Place.”