I recall Sen. Jon Tester’s support for Columbia Falls in 2015 when the CFAC closure came down. Our barely-unpacked new Rep. Ryan Zinke had chastised the city’s leaders for inviting EPA involvement and said we should all just “trust Glencore to do the right thing.” But Sen. Tester, very experienced with Glencore, came here many times to fact-find and add his considerable support to an EPA-overseen site investigation and cleanup. Anyone who googles the history of Glencore knows he saved us from a mess. Kudos for standing with the locals, Senator. Since then, the burst of investment in this town is remarkable. Columbia Falls took the high road and he helped steer.
He did likewise for Kalispell, advocating for the TIGER grant that was focal for the rail park. His energy and presence in the Flathead has earned him gratitude.
Tester is the only farmer in Congress; the last of that Jeffersonian ideal. His endorsements from agriculture, labor, seniors (BigSky55), outdoor recreationists and sportsmen, educators, bankers, the National Border Patrol Council … reveal a remarkable breadth of respect for and confidence in a hard-working Montana-focused man. His genuine, effective advocacy for veterans (about 100,000 in Montana) rises above all the pandering lip-service they get from others across the spectrum. I appreciate his efforts to increase health insurance access, rather than decrease it. He’s probably done more to help everyday Montanans than anyone we’ve elected since the Mansfield-Metcalf era. He works with both parties; he and Sen. Daines often work together for Montana’s interests.
Montana’s greatest treasure is its vast public lands; federal and state legacies that we must never squander because we would never get them back. Once gone, they’re lost forever. Tester has worked hard to forge creative compromises in land uses and protections that included wins for all stakeholders. His opponent in this election has advocated for divestment or transfers of these legacy lands ever since he moved out here (rosendalerecord.com). Our vote in this election, for the heritage of our grandchildren’s children, is consequential.
As predicted, the outside-money ads are trying to portray Tester as something he is not … a pawn of sinister forces who does not have a mind of his own. Hardly. A tractor jockey elected from conservative Big Sandy Montana who became our state senate president and was sent on to Washington has to have Montana credibility. I will vote based on what I’ve seen first-hand … a Montana work ethic, concern for people, integrity, and a native who has always put Montana first.