Jon Tester (D-MT-Senator)i
Senate links: Jon Tester (D-MT-Senate)i
Campaign links: Jon Tester (D-MT-Senate)i
Jon Tester, Senatorial Candidate Montana
Biography of Jon Tester from Senate.gov
Jon Tester is not a typical Washington, D.C., politician. Whether in the U.S. Senate or on his farm near Big Sandy, Montana, Senator Jon Tester isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves to get work done.
A pioneer in ethics reform, Tester’s first act in Congress was passing the most sweeping ethics overhaul since the Watergate scandal. Tester is also the first U.S. Senator to post his daily schedule online and to conduct a self-imposed ethics audit of his office.
Tester values integrity, common sense, transparency in government, and working across party lines to do what’s right for Montana. He is a staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights, individual privacy, and public access to public land.
In the U.S. Senate, Tester is an outspoken leader for rural America, working families, small businesses and family agriculture.
Tester has a strong vision for America’s energy future. He crafted and passed measures to develop clean and sustainable new energy resources and to promote conservation.
After traveling to every corner of Montana to hear from veterans in his first year in office, Tester passed a significant increase to the VA’s mileage reimbursement rate for disabled veterans. He continues to make veterans’ issues a top priority and even hired a State Veterans’ Liaison to serve Montana veterans.
Tester also passed legislation to improve the security of America’s northern border and secured funding for critical infrastructure projects that provide vital transportation and irrigation links to rural Montana. He believes investing in America’s infrastructure will help rebuild the nation’s economy from the ground up.
Tester and his wife Sharla farm the same land his grandparents homesteaded nearly 100 years ago. He was elected to the U.S. Senate on Nov. 7, 2006, after a long history of public service in the Big Sky State. Tester served as chair of the Big Sandy School Board and on his local Soil Conservation Service Committee before running for the Montana Senate in 1997. Tester served two four-year terms in the Montana Legislature. In 2005, he was chosen to serve as the President of the Montana Senate.
Tester was born in Havre, Montana, on August 21, 1956. He graduated from the College of Great Falls in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science in Music. In addition to farming and running a custom butcher shop, Tester also worked as a music teacher for Big Sandy Public Schools.
The Testers now grow organic wheat, barley, lentils, peas, millet, buckwheat, and alfalfa. They come home to Montana almost every weekend to hear from Montanans, take care of chores, and visit their children and grandchildren.
Tester has field offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Glendive, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula, Montana. He serves on five Senate committees, including the influential Senate Appropriations Committee. A fresh face in Washington, Senator Jon Tester has become an authentic and effective voice for frontier communities, rural America, middle class families, small businesses and family farms and ranches.
Biography of Jon Tester from Montanans for Tester
A champion for rural veterans. A pioneer in transparency and cleaning up Washington. A third-generation family farmer fighting to create jobs and new opportunities in Montana. A powerful voice for rural America.
During his first term in the Senate, Jon Tester has earned a reputation as a straight-talking, hardworking, common sense United States Senator who gets things done.
Jon still farms the same land outside Big Sandy, Montana, where he grew up and where his grandfather homesteaded nearly 100 years ago. Born in 1956, Jon attended the University of Great Falls and studied music (you can still spot him playing Taps on his trumpet at memorial events around Montana). He also taught public school.
Jon first saw his high school sweetheart Sharla sitting in a church pew, and they took over the Tester farm after they were married in 1977. Jon and Sharla are proud and active parents and grandparents.
Jon launched his political career in response to huge rate hikes following the deregulation of Montana’s energy industry in the 1990s. He was elected to the Montana Senate in 1997 and became Senate President in 2005. His 2006 campaign for U.S. Senate ousted a three-term incumbent, putting Jon in the same Senate seat once held by former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield.
Jon immediately made history as the first member of Congress to post his daily public schedule on his website. He helped pass sweeping ethics reform, and then went beyond those rules and banned all gifts, meals, and travel from lobbyists for himself and for his staff. He barred any staffers who become lobbyists from ever lobbying him or being rehired. And he began posting all of his requests for funding for Montana projects on his website for Montanans to see.
Jon’s record on transparency has earned him the title, “Montana’s advocate for accountability.”
Jon’s first order of business after taking office was a listening tour with Montana’s veterans. From his seat on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, he took what he heard and turned it into action. His landmark Rural Veterans Health Care Improvement Act became law and strengthened health care for all of Montana’s veterans, and veterans across rural America.
Jon put his common sense on display in 2008 when he bucked his party and became the only Senate Democrat to vote against both taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street and the U.S. auto industry. He pointed to a lack of oversight and accountability, saying simply, “I’m against bailouts.”
Jon instead fought for jobs and opportunities in Montana. He toured the state hosting small business workshops, bringing Montanans together with industry leaders to boost jobs through innovation, marketing, and increased export opportunities. And as a member of the influential Appropriations Committee, he has delivered needed investments in jobs and physical infrastructure in Montana.
This pro-gun man of the dirt returns to Montana nearly every weekend to work the farm, listen to Montanans, and take their input back to the Senate.
Sporting his trademark flattop haircut ($10, including tip), Jon Tester needs no introduction to the Montanans he meets. After all, he’s one of them.