Jon Tester

Jon Tester

Infobox Senator
name=Jon Tester

jr/sr=Junior Senator
term_start=January 3, 2007
alongside=Max Baucus
preceded=Conrad Burns
order2=President of the Montana State Senate
governor2=Brian Schweitzer
deputy2=Dan Harrington
President pro tempore
succeeded2=Mike Cooney
date of birth=birth date and age|1956|08|21
place of birth= Havre, Montana
residence= Big Sandy, Montana
occupation= farmer
spouse=Sharla Tester
children=Christine Tester
Shon Tester
alma_mater=University of Great Falls
religion=Church of God (Anderson)

Jon Tester (born August 21, 1956) is an organic farmer and junior U.S. Senator from the state of Montana, and a member of the Democratic Party. Prior to his election in 2006, he served as President of the Montana State Senate.


Tester was born in Havre, Montana to Helen M. Pearson and David O. Tester. [ [ 1 ] ] He grew up in Chouteau County, near the town of Big Sandy, Montana, on the same family land that his grandfather homesteaded in 1916. The small town is also the birthplace of Jeff Ament of rock band Pearl Jam, who played a concert in Missoula in support of Tester's U.S. Senate bid. [Kelly, Jamie. [ "Pearl Jammin' for a Senate seat"] , "Missoulian", 2005.]

Tester grew up helping his family on their conventional farm, as well as helping run their butcher shop. Beginning in the late 1980s, Tester moved toward the more profitable organic farming; his family now grows organic wheat, barley, lentils, peas, millet, buckwheat, alfalfa and hay. They still operate their butcher shop for close friends and relatives, but no longer utilize it as a source of income. [Lowery, Courtney. [ "The 'Good Guy' Running for U.S. Senate"] , "NewWest", 28 August 2005.]

As a child, Tester lost the middle, index, and ring finger on his left hand in an accident while working with a meat grinder.

Tester has a Bachelor of Science degree in music from the University of Great Falls. He was subsequently a music teacher in the Big Sandy School District for a brief time, before returning to farming.

Tester’s wife, Sharla, also grew up in north-central Montana and comes from an agricultural family. Jon and Sharla have a daughter, Christine (son-in-law James), a son, Shon, and one grandchild, Kilikina. [ [ Jon Tester for U.S. Senate | Montana 2006 ] ]

Political career

Tester served five years as chairman of the Big Sandy School Board of Trustees and served on the Big Sandy Soil Conservation Service (SCS) Committee and the Chouteau County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) Committee.

Tester was first elected to the Montana State Senate in 1998. He was elected the minority whip for the 2001 session. After being re-elected in 2002, he became minority leader for the 2003 session. In 2005, Tester was elected President of the Montana Senate, the chief presiding officer of the Montana Legislature’s upper chamber.

His election as President marked a significant transition for Montana Democrats as they moved into the majority leadership of the Senate for the first time in more than a decade. Term limits would have prohibited Tester from running for state Senate for a third time. While serving as Senate President, Tester increased funding for public education and cut taxes for small business owners and the working poor. He also worked to make health insurance more affordable and require public utilities to use more renewable energy [] .

2006 U.S. Senate race

Tester announced his candidacy in May 2005 for the U.S. Senate seat held by incumbent Republican senator Conrad Burns. Tester was the second Democrat to jump into the race, after state Auditor John Morrison. While Tester was seen as having a greater following among his fellow legislators,fact|date=August 2007 his opponent, whose grandfather was governor of Nebraska, was able to raise significantly more money and had greater statewide name recognition.

Morrison collected $1.05 million as of the start of 2006, including $409,241 in the last three months of 2005, [Johnson, Charles S. [ "Burns' fundraising nears $5 million; Morrison's hits $1 million"] ,, 28 August 2005.] but "Morrison’s advantages in fundraising and name identification have not translated into a lead in the polls," [Horrigan, Marie. [ "MT Senate: Race to Take On Embattled Burns Nears Finish"] ,, 31 May 2006.] most of which showed the race exceedingly tight, some calling it a "deadlock" as of late May. [Johnson, Charles S. [ "Tester, Morrison deadlocked"] , "Helena Independent Record", 28 May 2006] On May 31, 2006, Paul Richards, another candidate in the race, citing the closeness of the race, and his own position in the polls, threw his support to Jon Tester. [Dennison, Mike. [ "Richards: Tester is best choice"] , "Billings Gazette", 31 May 2006.]

On June 6, 2006, Tester won the Democratic primary by a margin of over 25 points, much larger than expected given the previous polling. Burns easily won the Republican primary. On election day, Tester received 198,302 votes versus 195,455 for Burns. Tester was declared the winner on Nov. 8, 2006. [Jalonick, Mary Clare. [ "Playing Outsider, Tester Wins Mont. Seat"] , Associated Press, 8 November 2006] [ [ U.S. SENATE / MONTANA results] ,, November 2006.]

Political View

Tester can be described as a a populist Democrat with libertarian tendencies.fact|date=September 2008 He has made government reform a top priority issue. Tester criticized Republicans in Congress for making policy that is designed "for those who write the biggest campaign checks" [] . He has stated that Washington culture is "controlled by K Street cronies. [] . Tester also blazes his own path on other issues. He has spoken against gay marriage and flag burning, but sees Constitutional bans on each issue as unnecessary. Instead of avoiding class issues, Tester has also taken them head-on. On Meet the Press, he asserted that "there’s no more middle class" because of Bush Administration policies.

Tester is a more mainstream Democrat on other issues. He is pro-choice and supports stem cell research, and he has also voted to expand health care coverage through Medicare and SCHIP. In the Senate, Tester continues to advocate increased funding for public education, just as he did in the Montana Legislature. Tester supports middle class tax cuts, but has voted against repealing the Estate Tax and Alternative Minimum Tax, policies he sees as favoring only the wealthy. When criticized for being soft on national security, Tester stated that "the Patriot Act has very little to do with the War on Terrorism" and asserted that "I don't want to weaken the Patriot Act--I want to repeal it." [] . Tester is also a strong supporter of alternative energy, voting to increase wind and solar power funding and decrease emissions. He states that the Kyoto Protocol needs American support in order to have global legitimization.

enate career

Committee Assignments

*Committee on Veterans' Affairs
*Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
*Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
**Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment
**Subcommittee on Financial Institutions
**Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development
*Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
**Subcommittee on Energy"'
**Subcommittee on National Parks
**Subcommittee on Water and Power
*Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
**Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security
**Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
**Ad Hoc Subcommittee on State, Local, and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration
*Committee on Indian Affairs

Electoral History

Election box candidate with party link
party = Democratic Party (US)
candidate = Jon Tester
votes = 199,845
percentage = 49.2
change =
Election box candidate with party link
party = Republican Party (US)
candidate = Conrad Burns (Incumbent)
votes = 196,283
percentage = 48.3
change = -2.3


External links

* [ United States Senator Jon Tester] official Senate site
* [ SourceWatch Congresspedia — Jon Tester] profile
* [ — Jon Tester] profile
* [ Jon Tester U.S. Senator-Elect] official campaign site

* [ "Montana Senator in Fight of Political Life,"] Associated Press, October 15, 2006
* [ Interview with Tester] , Newsweek, August 22, 2006

U.S. Senator box
before=Conrad Burns
alongside=Max Baucus

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