A Busy Week on the Road…
It has been a busy week on the road meeting face-to-face with Montanans and talking about the issues impacting families across our state.
I kicked off the week at MSU-Billings, where I announced new legislation to strengthen educational opportunities for rural, veteran, and Native American students. A strong public education system is the backbone of our democracy and critical to growing our economy. My legislation will help recruit and retain teachers in rural schools, which often struggle with teacher shortages. I also unveiled my Educational Development (ED) for Troops and Veterans Act, which will ensure Montana National Guardsmen and Reservists get their full education benefits under the GI Bill and that student veterans have access to critical resources like on-campus veteran education centers and expanded loan deferment options.
I then drove to Belgrade to meet with the Thompson family, who were charged $56,000 by an air ambulance company after their infant daughter needed a life flight to Seattle. Alongside the Thomson family, including their now healthy three-year-old daughter Isla Rose, I announced my legislation, the Isla Rose Life Flight Act, which will give our state the tools it needs to protect Montanans from unreasonable air ambulance costs. Every industry needs to be held accountable, and my legislation will help ensure that no other families face bankruptcy because they needed an air ambulance in a life-threatening situation.
Sen. Jon Tester announced a federal bill that would allow states to regulate the way air ambulances operate. Named the…www.nbcmontana.com
I then traveled to Seeley Lake, where I joined local business owners, loggers, conservationists, ranchers, and snowmobilers to announce my Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act. This bill builds upon current timber harvests and stream restoration efforts and opens up new land for snowmobiling, protects public access for bikers, creates new trails for recreation, and adds new land to the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Mission Mountain Wilderness Areas. This bill is the result of a truly collaborative process among folks on the ground in western Montana and across the political spectrum who wanted to break through the gridlock that has hindered active forest management. The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act will create jobs, strengthen the local economy, and preserve our outdoor way of life for future generations.
Further west in Alberton, I took part in a surprise assembly to congratulate 7th grader Lyssah Kromrey for winning Montana’s Doodle 4 Google drawing competition. Lyssah is one of 53 finalists in a nationwide contest. The nationwide winner’s drawing will be featured on Google’s homepage next month for millions to see. I told Lyssah that the whole state is rooting for her and that she has already made Montana proud.
Like I said, it has been a busy week on the road, and now I am heading back to the farm for a couple days to put my hands in the mud and decide when Sharla and I are going to start our spring planting.
As always, it is an honor to represent you in the U.S. Senate, and if you have any questions or concerns please shoot me an email through my website or call my office at (202) 224–2644. You can also stay updated on my work both here in the state and back in D.C. by following me on Facebook and Twitter!