Montana’s junior senator, Jon Tester, called the offices of The Western News recently from Kalispell to speak about the upcoming election and the benefits of choosing him for a second term over Republican challenger Dennis Rehberg.
Tester, an “old-school” Democrat, a pro-gun, anti-big business Montanan who grew up on his family’s farm in Big Sandy, Mont., is convinced that transparency and honesty in government is the key to compromise.
Tester has voted with the party line 89.1 percent of the time, according to opencongress.org, 45th of 51 Democrat senators and just a shade behind senior Montana senator, Max Baucus, who is at 89.6 percent.
Tester described his actions for Lincoln County in the past six years and what he plans to do should he win in November.
“Take a look at the work we’ve done with the CARD Clinic and how we can still expand it,” Tester said. “Low-interest loans for St. John’s Hospital, the Flower Creek Dam. We are continuing to push the EPA, that as science improves on asbestos they make sure it’s addressed.”
Forest management, moving the Montanore Project forward and other job-creating moves are other key initiatives Tester would like to press forward on if elected to a second term.
“You’ve got good folks up there that know how to handle the woods,” he said. “We want to continue to push the Forest Service on the Montanore Project.”
Tester’s campaign ads have relentlessly played Rehberg’s quote about dissolving Social Security, a policy that Tester believes would deeply impact a “graying” state like Montana.
“That safety net has worked very well for many years,” Tester said. “To change Medicare is a problem. It would be terrible.”
One of Tester’s pet-peeves has been the structure of campaign financing and the ability of corporations and unions to donate to third-party political groups like Super PACs.
Tester ended the interview by repeating his core philosophy.
“Campaign commercials try and make me something I’m not,” he said. “I wasn’t elected to play politics. We’ll continue to apply Montana common sense.”