Jon Tester

From KeyWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jon Tester

Jon Tester is a Democratic member of the United States Senate, representing Montana.


Senator Jon Tester is third-generation Montana farmer, a proud grandfather and a former school teacher who has deep roots in hard work, responsibility and accountability.

Jon and his wife Sharla still farm the same land near the town of Big Sandy, Mont. that was homesteaded by Jon’s grandparents in 1912. Jon’s parents believed public education and family agriculture are the cornerstones of democracy—and those values had a tremendous role in shaping Jon’s leadership.

After earning a degree in music from the College of Great Falls, Jon took over the Tester farm in 1978. He also taught music at F.E. Miley Elementary and eventually was elected to the Big Sandy School Board. Fired up by the Montana Legislature’s decision to deregulate Montana’s power industry (resulting in higher power costs), Jon ran for and was elected to the Montana Senate in 1998.

In 2005, Jon’s colleagues chose him to serve as Montana Senate President. The people of Montana elected Jon to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and again in 2012..[1]


Jon Tester 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.[2]

Exxon Senators

Exxon Mobil Corp. lobbyist Keith McCoy listed six Democrats the oil giant saw as key allies to push its legislative agenda in the Senate in a secretly recorded sting video Greenpeace UK published late last month.

New analysis of campaign disclosures found the six Democratic senators ― Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Chris Coons (Del.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) ― received a combined total of nearly $333,000 from lobbyists, political action committees and lobbying firms affiliated with Exxon over the past decade.

The analysis of campaign disclosures, which the advocacy group Oil Change U.S. conducted and HuffPost reviewed, found Tester received the most in donations from Exxon Mobil ― $99,783 from seven lobbyists, the company’s PAC and four lobbying firms working for the firm.

The report includes some donations lobbyists at K Street behemoths such as Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck gave before taking on Exxon Mobil as a client. Spokespeople for Coons and Sinema said including those contributions in the total was “misleading” and “inaccurate.”

But Collin Rees, the senior campaigner at Oil Change U.S. who conducted the analysis, said the donations paint a fuller picture of Exxon Mobil’s influence taking stock of the relationships the company’s money helped cultivate as well as those that may have prompted the oil giant to hire certain lobbyists in the first place.

“This is a story about how lobbyists curry favor, and specifically about how Exxon’s current lobbyists have spent decades currying the favor of these six Democrats to position themselves to do things like safeguard fossil fuel subsidies and pare down infrastructure packages,” Rees said. “Exxon has hired these firms and lobbyists because they’ve contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to these Democrats, both before and after they were hired by Exxon.”

Counting donations from lobbyists like Arshi Siddiqui, some of which came before Exxon Mobil hired her, makes Sinema the No. 2 recipient on the list, with $70,800 in contributions from eight Exxon Mobil lobbyists, the company PAC and three lobbying firms.

“Inclusion of those contributions would be incredibly misleading,” John LaBombard, a spokesman for Sinema, said of money that came from lobbyists who also work for other clients. “Kyrsten’s work in the Senate is influenced by only one thing: what is best for Arizona.”

Coons came in third with $68,650 from seven lobbyists, the PAC and four lobbying firms.

“One of the other ones that aren’t talked about is Senator Coons, who’s from Delaware, who has a very close relationship with Senator Biden,” McCoy said in the now-viral video, in which he believed he was talking to corporate headhunters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. “So we’ve been working with his office. As a matter of fact, our CEO is talking to him next Tuesday.”

It’s unclear whether a meeting with Exxon Mobil chief Darren Woods took place.[3]

Stephanie Schriock connection

Stephanie Schriock has been at the forefront of some of the most challenging and innovative political campaigns of the past decade. As the national finance director for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign, she built and led the team that revolutionized political fundraising. By harnessing the power of the Internet and implementing other creative fundraising strategies, Stephanie's team raised more than $52 million in a Democratic primary, far exceeding previous records.

The accomplishment caught the eye of a farmer and state senator in Stephanie's home state of Montana, who was looking to unseat an 18-year Republican incumbent U.S. senator in a state with an eight-point Republican advantage. As the campaign manager for Jon Tester, Schriock oversaw every aspect of a $5 million race -- building an expansive field operation, maintaining strict message discipline, and ultimately leading Tester to defeat conservative Republican Conrad Burns and help Democrats take over the Senate. Tester quickly made Schriock his Senate chief of staff, giving her full authority to hire and direct a 40-person organization with offices in Washington, D.C., and in eight cities throughout Montana; manage the office budget; and develop a strategic plan that would solidify the senator's strength in Montana. [4]


Tester serves on the Veterans’ Affairs, Homeland Security, Indian Affairs, Banking and Appropriations Committees.[5]

Radical staffer

Tracy Stone-Manning served as senior advisor for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation, she advocates for the wise stewardship of our nation’s lands and waters. Before joining the Federation, she served as Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s chief of staff, where she oversaw day-to-day operations of his cabinet and the state’s 11,000 employees. She stepped into that post after serving as the Director of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, overseeing the state’s water, air, mining and remediation programs. She served as a regional director and senior advisor to Senator Jon Tester during his first term, focusing on forestry issues.

"End the Forever War"


The United States has been in a state of continuous, global, open-ended military conflict since 2001. Over 2.5 million troops have fought in this “Forever War” in over a dozen countries – including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Niger, Somalia, and Thailand. I pledge to the people of the United States of America, and to our military community in particular, that I will (1) fight to reclaim Congress’s constitutional authority to conduct oversight of U.S. foreign policy and independently debate whether to authorize each new use of military force, and (2) act to bring the Forever War to a responsible and expedient conclusion.

2020 signatories of the Common Defense pledge.

Federal Elected Officials

Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Jon Tester, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Joaquin Castro, Adriano Espaillat, Ruben Gallego, Barbara Lee, Jim McGovern, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Donald Payne, Jr., Mark Pocan, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Susan Wild.

Common Defense endorsement


Common Defense endorsed Jon Tester in 2018.

Communist Party enthusiasm

According to a report to the National Committee of the Communist Party USA June 24, 2006;[6]

There were also some outright victories for peace candidates.
In Montana, State Senator Jon Tester who has a very strong labor, environment and peace record won a landslide victory in the US Senate primary over a Democratic Leadership Council candidate who was favored to win. Tester will challenge incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns who is considered the second most vulnerable in the Senate.

Progressive States Network Gala

April 19, 2007, Progressive States Network’s first annual gala honored U.S. Senator Jon Tester, U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, and Deborah Rappaport. Awards were also presented to Iowa State Senator Joe Bolkcom, Kansas State Senator Donald Betts, and Washington State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles. Participants talked about promoting their legislative agenda and public policy advocacy. They also talked about issues such as operations in Iraq, grassroots organizing and recruitment, and public participation.

Other speakers included Joel Barkin Executive Director Progressive States Network, Steve Doherty Founding Co-Chair Progressive States Network, Senators Al Franken and Bernie Sanders, Lisa Seitz Gruwell Chief Operating Officer Skyline Public Works, Washington (State) Tom Matzzie Director, David Sirota Founding Co-Chair Progressive States Network.[7]

ARA endorsement

August 16 2012, the Alliance for Retired Americans proudly endorsed Senator Jon Tester for re-election for the United States Senate at a membership meeting in Helena.

In 2011, Sen. Tester earned a perfect 100% score for his votes on seniors’ issues, according to the Alliance for Retired Americans 2011 Voting Record; he has earned the trust of the Alliance for Retired Americans and seniors.

“Jon Tester’s commitment to protect Social Security and Medicare is proven. His vigorous opposition and votes to combat cuts to the programs – including privatization; cuts in benefits and raising the eligibility age – confirm his commitment to improve the quality of life for older Americans,” said Barbara Easterling, President of the Alliance for Retired Americans. She continued, “Jon Tester has confirmed through both his words and his votes that he understands the value of Social Security and Medicare to Americans and that he will work to keep these programs strong and solvent without slashing benefits.”[8]

His wife Sharla Tester accepted for him.

LA fundraiser

In November 2011, Steve Bing, Peter Lowy, Michele Reiner and Rob Reiner hosted a fund-raising evening for Montana’s Democratic senator, Jon Tester, at Craft restaurant in Century City.

Tester, who eked out a narrow win over three-term Republican incumbent Conrad Burns in the Democratic sweep that carried Barack Obama into the White House, remains one of the party’s chief hopes in the Mountain West. [9]

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Jon Tester in his successful Senate run as candidate for Montana.[10]

2012 CLW Senate victories

2012 CLW Senate Victories were;

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Chris Murphy (D-CT) Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).[11]


According to the Council for a Livable World website;

In 2006, endorsed early by Council for a Livable World, he scored the biggest surprise of the primary elections by coming from far behind to trounce his heavily favored opponent. He then went on to win a close general election contest, defeating a sitting Republican Senator by 3,500 votes.
Tester serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, including the key Energy and Water Subcommittee that appropriates non-proliferation program funding.

Senator Tester again faces a tough challenge in the 2012 election. His opponent is Montana’s at large Congressman, U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg (R).
Tester has averaged 85% on the Council’s scorecard over past four years that included votes on the New START Treaty, Afghanistan, missile defense, the Iraq War and North Korea. Rehberg, on the other hand, has averaged under 9% over the same time period on Council for a Livable World’s PeacePAC voting record.

CLW 2018

Jon Tester (D-MT) for Senate was endorsed in 2018 by Council for a Livable World.

Senator Jon Tester, who the Council for a Livable World endorsed in 2006 and 2012, faces a difficult re-election in 2018.

President Trump carried Montana 56%-36% in 2016, and Tester is a top hawkish target. The Senator has won two close elections for Senate, and next year is not expected to be any different.
Senator Tester was born in Montana in 1956 and grew up on land that his grandparents homesteaded in 1912. Tester attended the University of Great Falls and studied music. He also taught public school. Tester was elected to the State Senate in 1998 and quickly rose through leadership ranks to become Senate President.

Tester has had one big break in this 2018 contest; Rep. Ryan Zinke, who represented the entire state in the House and was expected to be Tester’s challenger, was appointed Secretary of Interior. But the race will be competitive. His strongest opponent may be the state Attorney General Tim Fox.
The Senator voted for the New START Treaty and for the Iran nuclear agreement and has a progressive national security voting record.
For progressive national security advocates to regain control of the Senate, they have to win in states with strong agricultural interests and a substantial rural base. Senator Tester, who continues to run his family farm growing organic crops, fits that profile as an authentic Montanan who can win the state. [12]

21st Century Democrats support

21st Century Democrats is a Political Action Committee that has stood for Progressive causes for over 20 years. Founded in 1986 by Institute for Policy Studies affiliate, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, Democratic Socialists of America affiliates, former Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, and former Illinois Congressman Lane Evans. Its three main goals are to help elect progressive candidates, train young people about grassroots organizing, and lastly, to continue to support our elected officials after Election Day "through our comprehensive progressive network".

Carol Moseley Braun, a former US Senator from Illinois, and long time Communist Party USA affiliate, serves on the organization's Advisory Board. Long time Board chair was Democratic Socialists of America member Jim Scheibel, a former Mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The mission of 21st Century Democrats is to build a "farm team" of progressive populists who will be the future leaders of the Democratic Party.

In each election cycle, we endorse a diverse array of candidates who exemplify our values and show unusual promise to advance our progressive goals. We invest in some of the most competitive races as well as in some of the most challenging – those in which the candidates are outstanding but the traditional Democratic supporters are most reticent. We back candidates in primaries as well as general election races, and we focus the bulk of our resources on electing challengers and protecting vulnerable incumbents.[13]

Jon Tester was first endorsed by 21st Century Democrats when he ran for Montana State Senate in 1998. He was supported again in his successful 2012 U.S. Senate re-election bid.[14]

21st Century Democrats endorsed Senate candidates Elizabeth Warren Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Jon Tester, Sherrod Brown and Martin Heinrich in 2018.[15]

American Indians for Tester

In 2012, American Indians for Tester, one of the campaign’s major volunteer groups, was co-chaired by Ryan Rusche, a Fort Peck Assiniboine, and Amy Stiffarm, an Aaniih from the Fort Belknap reservation. The Nation Why the Native American Vote Could Win the Senate for Democrats By David Sarasohn OCTOBER 2, 2012]</ref>

Relationship with Marshall Mayer

From the Daily Kos

Jon Tester has a relationship with one time Montana Democratic Socialists of America leader Marshall Mayer, and his wife Bonnie Lambert.

Amanda Curtis Host Committee

You are invited to Helena's premier fundraising event to Support Amanda Curtis for the U.S. Senate on October 15th (2014) from 5-7pm at the historic Windsor Ballroom atop the Iron Front Hotel in downtown Helena.
Let's give Amanda Curtis a big Helena welcome, and send her off with buckets of hear-earned, home-grown cash contributions!
Amanda's Helena Hosts:

Take Back America Conferences

Jon Tester was on the list of 237 speakers at the 2007 Take Back America conference, which was organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future.[16]

An almost "Progressive" Cabinet "nominee"

In September 2008, Chicago based socialist journal In These Times asked its editors and writers to suggest their top progressive choices for a potential Obama Cabinet.[17]

We asked that contributors weigh ideological and political considerations, with an eye toward recommending people who have both progressive credentials and at least an arguable chance at being appointed in an Obama White House.

This group of people would represent at once the most progressive, aggressive and practical Cabinet in contemporary history. Of course, it is by no means a definitive list. It is merely one proposal aimed at starting a longer discussion about the very concept of a progressive Cabinet—and why it will be important to a new administration, especially if that administration is serious about change.

David Moberg suggested Jim Hightower for Agriculture Secretary - he also spoke highly of Tom Harkin and Jon Tester:

Two current U.S. senators would make excellent secretaries of agriculture.
One is Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Harkin has been a committee chair and leader on agriculture issues, opposing deregulation and favoring supply management, conservation, antitrust actions and many progressive policies — only some of which he has managed to put into law.
The other is freshman Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), an organic farmer with a distinctive flat-top haircut. Tester is a populist who is sympathetic to environmental issues and critical of corporate globalization. He might push more comprehensive reform than Harkin would.
But here’s the problem: Both are needed in the Senate.

Luckily, Obama can call on Jim Hightower, who is best known for his crusading print and radio journalism and his pithy, punchy, populist proverbs — like his book title, “There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”

But the funny, feisty Hightower also knows his farm and food issues. As Texas Agriculture Commissioner from 1983 to 1990, he promoted organic agriculture, alternative crops (like wine grapes and native plants), direct international marketing by small farmers, strong pesticide control and comprehensive environmental management.
Hightower would be a cheerfully combative complement to Obama’s ultra-cool post-partisanship (although he may have been too post-partisan for some Democrats by supporting Ralph Nader in 2000).

If Obama ever needs a Cabinet member to attack the fat cats who keep the sweet stuff for themselves on the top shelf — out of reach for the little guy — he could send Hightower, who would perform the task with glee.

Cuba visit

With an annual cost of roughly $2 million per detainee, the 13-year-old Guantanamo Bay Detention Center needs to be closed, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont, said Monday.

Tester, who toured Guantanamo in early February 2014, said then the subject comes up later this year, he will push to close the facility, where the Department of Defense houses 155 detainees, many without trial, some since Jan. 11, 2002 and the beginning of the war in Afghanistan.

Tester toured Guantanamo Bay on Saturday as part of a two-day visit to Cuba, with Sens., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

The senators also met with American Alan Gross, who has been jailed in Cuba since 2010 for setting up unrestricted Internet access for Jewish groups. Cuba considered Gross’ actions subversive and sentenced the Marylander to 15 years detention.

Tester said there was also talk with Cuban officials about the Cuban trade embargo launched in 1960 after the Cuban Revolution ushered Fidel Castro’s communist government into power. There is talk in the United States of easing the embargo and lawmakers from farm states see an opportunity for trade if that occurs.

Tester said the rule of Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul, could present the best opportunity for normalizing relations with Cuba without presenting a threat to the Fidel Castro legacy. But Raul Castro is old and the opportunity might not last forever.

“Raul is 83 years old and in very good health. He’s one of the few people who could do this from a Cuban perspective,” Tester said.[18]

The three-day tour was organized by Sen. Jon Tester, and the party was in Cuba when President Barack Obama signed the farm legislation, allowing U.S. farmers greater access to Cuba into law.[19]

2014 WOLA Awards

WOLA's 2014 Human Rights Award Ceremony page

The Honorary Committee for Washington Office on Latin America's 2014 Human Rights Award Ceremony and Benefit Gala, consisted of;[20]

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) was named the next chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in November 2014, placing a red-state Democrat with a populist streak in charge of recruiting 2016 candidates for the party.

Tester's new role was announced after Democrats in the Capitol held their leadership elections.

"One of my concerns moving forward is being able to win in every state across this country -- red state, purple state and blue," Tester told reporters shortly after the new leadership team held a press conference.

Tester does have strong ties within the larger Democratic infrastructure. Stephanie Schriock, his former chief of staff -- and another oft-mentioned possible Clinton campaign manager -- has turned the group EMILY's List into a Democratic juggernaut.[21]

Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

S 299, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015, principal sponsors are Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.[22]

By May 20, it had accumulated 33 co-sponsors, including 26 Democrats - Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Udall, Dick Durbin, Thomas Carper, Amy Klobuchar, Barbara Boxer, Jack Reed, Debbie Stabenow, Jeff Merkley, Chris Murphy, Benjamin Cardin, Chris Coons, Dianne Feinstein, Jeanne Shaheen, Sherrod Brown, Mazie Hirono, Brian Schatz, Tammy Baldwin, Ed Markey, Heidi Heitkamp, Jon Tester, Claire McCaskill, Ron Wyden, Tim Kaine, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet, Martin Heinrich . [23]

Promoting trade with Cuba

For much of late 2016 Miguel Fraga has traveled across the United States, speaking to congressmen, governors, U.S. trade groups and civic organizations about the need for improved U.S.-Cuban relations. He is a fully credentialed diplomat from the Republic of Cuba traveling openly across the United States to spread a message of cooperation and economic opportunity.

In Helena Montana Fraga met with local resident Jorge Quintana of Cuba Connections, a nonprofit.

In Montana, groups such as the Montana Farmers Union have expressed general support for expanded trade opportunities with Cuba. Montana Sen. Jon Tester has been a vocal proponent for deconstructing some the trade barriers that continue to block U.S. exports.

Tester, a Democrat, met with Fraga February 2017, discussing diplomacy and trade, and the opportunity for increased exports of Montana beef and grain to the island nation.

“I support modernizing our relationship with Cuba... we raise some of the best wheat in the world in Montana, and we should be exporting at least a portion of that to Cuba. There are challenges out there, but with challenges come opportunities. I think what we ought to do in Washington, D.C., is take the necessary steps to allow those folks in Cuba to import our very high quality wheat, especially in a time when TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) has been thrown out the window. This is a market we absolutely could get a share of, but it’s not going to happen without some proactive steps from Washington, D.C.”

“The issue with the credit is right now the main obstacle for us,” Fraga said. “Cuba buys $2 billion every year in food, and unfortunately it’s prohibited by law here in the United States to give credits to Cuba to buy agricultural products. According to U.S. law, we have to pay in cash and in advance. This is not how trade goes in the world. It’s not only about this credit issue, it’s also that we cannot use the American dollar when we buy something. We are living in a world that is very connected, but sometimes we cannot do business with a company that has relations with the United States.”

According to Tester, this impediment to trade with the U.S. has contributed to the increasing influence of China in Cuba and throughout the Western hemisphere. It is a trend the Montana senator said Americans should be concerned about.

“It absolutely should be a source of concern,” Tester said. “China has done this all over the world, especially in Africa and Third World countries. They’ve made investments, they’ve created trade relationships and quite frankly we need to be wise about this stuff. We cannot afford to be bull headed about these issues. We need to try to reestablish our trade relations throughout the world, and we should absolutely be concerned about China’s influence in our hemisphere.”

The opportunities for expanded U.S. trade in Cuba have at times been overshadowed by concerns about the country’s human rights record.

A 2015 report from the international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, details an extensive and ongoing history in Cuba of arbitrary detentions, the imprisonment of political dissenters and the suppression of the freedom of speech.

When pressed about his country’s human right’s record, Fraga responded passionately, arguing that press reports in the United States were frequently biased, and that the U.S. has a double standard when it comes to diplomatic relations with Cuba.

“I know that this is something people read about or listen about in the news, but this is not the real issue between Cuba and the United States,” Fraga said. “Let me put it this way. We are communist, but you have wonderful relations with other communist countries. How much relations do you have with Vietnam? Why not with Cuba? All because we have only one political party?

“You have relations with countries that don’t allow political parties. So this is about human rights? I don’t think so. You never put an embargo to Pinochet in Chile, and how many people did he kill? You never put an embargo on Somoza in Nicaragua, and how many people did he kill? You never put an embargo to Batista in Cuba (dictator prior to 1959). You never put an embargo to any dictator that you have in theory in the western hemisphere. Many people say to me this is a double standard, and this is true.”

“Many things have changed, and we are going to change more things in the future,” Fraga added, “but these need to come from the Cuban people and not from another country. For that reason we are still there. At the beginning of the revolution everybody say, OK, this is only six months. After that they say the problem is the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union disappeared in 1991 but we are still there. Then, all the problem is because of Castro. Fidel has not been in power since 2006. Now they say the problem is President Raul (Castro).

“If you’re looking for an excuse, you are always going to find an excuse, but if you want to have relations and you want to improve the life of the Cuban people you need to remove the embargo. You can say you want to punish a whole country: women, children, elders – you want to punish because we made a revolution? OK, but don’t say to me you have put in the embargo because of the human rights, because the embargo has damaged the human rights of my people.”

Tester spoke in marked contrast to Fraga regarding Cuba’s human rights record, but agreed that U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba has been inconsistent when compared with other parts of the world.

“I think these are important points to be brought up and to take into account moving forward,” Tester said. “But if we are able to inject more free-market economics into Cuba, normalizing our trade relations with Cuba, I think it’s going to lead to a more just society.”

“The bottom line is this,” Tester said. “I think Cuba is uniquely positioned for change right now. You can argue about the effectiveness what we’ve done to them over the last 55 years or so – but I don’t think it’s been that effective in changing their form of government or changing human rights issues. I do think, by putting more free-market economics in their economic system, I think it’s going to lead to better conditions for their people and a more democratic form of government.”[24]

Democratic Party leaders 2015

  • Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Chairman
  • Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Democratic Congressional Committee Chair
  • Sen. Jon Tester, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair
  • Gov. Steve Bullock, Democratic Governors Association Chair[25]

Hiring Michael LaValley

In September 2016, U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester has hired Michael LaValley as his new Native American Liaison.

LaValley is a Blackfeet American Indian with deep roots on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation where most of his family currently resides. LaValley joins Tester's staff after spending the past year working as the Wilma Mankiller Legislative Fellow for the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C.

"I am excited that Michael is on board to help serve folks in Indian Country," Tester said. "Michael understands our trust responsibility and the critical issues facing Native American families and I know he will work hard to respond to the needs of Montana's Tribal Nations."[26]

Single Payer


Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said on Wednesday September 6, 2017 that Congress should perhaps take a “solid look” at a single-payer health care system.

Tester's comments during a bipartisan hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee come at a time when more Democrats are getting on board with the idea of government-funded health care.

Tester, a centrist, spoke about how his parents lived without health insurance for most of their life, until they went on Medicare.

“My folks never had health insurance on the farm. They retired in 1970. Never had health insurance ever.”

“Their first insurance they had was Medicare. There’s a reason for that: In the mid-60s when that happened, it was $400,” said Tester, who is up for reelection in what is likely to be one of the most competitive Senate races in 2018.

“So the question is, there’s been a lot of debate, there’s been amendments offered on single payer for political purposes, but maybe not. Maybe it’s something we should, quite frankly, take a solid look at.”

Tester then asked the hearing's panel of experts how to finance the health care system and how to control the costs.

Tester has been open to various options on decreasing the cost of health care.

During the Senate ObamaCare repeal debate, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) offered an amendment to implement a government-funded health care system in an effort to get Democrats on the record on their vote for single-payer.

The amendment was shot down 0 to 57 with most Democrats voting "present." Tester was one of four Democrats — and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) — who went on record as voting no.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) championed the idea of “Medicare for All” during his presidential bid last year. He plans to introduce a bill soon, and last week received the endorsement and co-sponsorship of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who is seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2020.

While Sanders said the idea isn’t a litmus test for Democrats, it’s gained traction recently, with more than half of the House Democratic Caucus co-sponsoring a Medicare for All bill in the House. That’s almost double the number who co-sponsored the measure last congressional session.[27]

Communist supporter 2018


Emily Likins supported Jon Tester in 2018.

External links



  1. Official senate bio, accessed August 21, 2015
  2. Official senate bio, accessed August 21, 2011
  3. [1]
  4. [2]
  5. Official Senate bio, accessed May 16, 2015
  6. report to the National Committee of the Communist Party USA June 24, 2006
  7. CSpan APRIL 19, 2007 Progressive States Network Gala
  8. ARA,August 16, 2012 Seniors Group Endorses Jon Tester for Senate
  9. Pret a reporter, Politicians Swarm Hollywood for Fundraisers Over Veteran's Day Weekend, November 11, 2011 Tina Daunt
  10. CLW website: Meet Our Candidates
  11. Meet the Candidates, accessed April 10, 2013
  12. [3]
  13. 21st Century Democrats website, About us]
  14. 21st Century Democrats 2012 bio
  15. Century Democrats, 2016 candidates
  16. Our Future website: Take Back America 2003 Speakers (accessed on June 17, 2010)
  17. In These Times, 22 to KnowOur Picks for an Obama Cabinet, By In These Times Editors and Contributors, September 26, 2008
  18. Billings Gazette, After trip to Cuba, Tester says it's time to close Guantanamo, February 10, 2014
  19. Cuban Handshake, North Dakota Sen. Heitkamp: “It’s time to now transition to a different relationship” February 11, 2014
  20. WOLA, WOLA's 2014 Human Rights Award Ceremony and Benefit Gala
  21. HuffPo, Jon Tester Will Lead Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee For 2016 Posted: 11/13/2014
  22. [, Cuba travel bill advances in the Senate by: Emile Schepers May 20 2015]
  23. [%22S+299%22}, Congress.Gov. S.299 - Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015114th Congress (2015-2016) | G]
  24. [ Falls Tribune, Cuban diplomat talks trade, sanctions, social justice David Murray, Published 8:39 p.m. MT Feb. 22, 2017 | Updated 8:52 p.m. MT Feb. 22, 2017]
  25. DNC officers 2015
  26. [4]
  27. [5]