My Plan to #EmployMT

Senator Jon Tester
Jan 17, 2017 · 5 min read

From Sidney to St. Regis, and everywhere in between, Montana is full of the hardest working people I know. So I’m introducing a plan to create good-paying jobs for Montanans everywhere. My #EmployMT plan will rebuild our infrastructure, create a marketplace for our products, pave the way for innovation, invest in our workforce, and responsibly develop our resources.

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In order to ensure a 21st Century economy, we must make responsible investments in our roads, bridges, water and wastewater systems. We need a modern infrastructure in order to stay a global leader. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will fight for these critical investments.

Over the past few years, the Connect America Fund delivered nearly $100 million to two broadband companies that serve Montana. I will be holding these companies accountable to ensure that money is being used to lay down fiber across this state as soon as possible. Strong connectivity across Montana will attract businesses to our state and allow our homegrown companies to market their products worldwide.

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It’s time we make sure our tax money supports American workers. So I’m introducing the Berry Amendment Extension Act, which will require the Department of Homeland Security to purchase its supplies from American companies. This is a commonsense solution that will create jobs here in Montana and keep our taxpayer dollars within our own borders.

I also promise to work with the new Administration to negotiate a more fair, effective, and sustainable softwood lumber agreement that will give our timber industry the certainty it needs to responsibly cut trees and get our mills back to work.

But timber isn’t our state’s only industry suffering from unfair trade practices. As farmers across Montana continue to feel the sting of unfair wheat grading by the Canadian government, I’ll do my part — and I want the Trump administration to do their part — to ensure Montana farmers can compete in the global marketplace.

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A large part of my #EmployMT plan is dedicated to ensuring Montana’s innovators have access to the funding they need to thrive. So as a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will be fighting to increase investments in the Small Business Innovation Research Program, which provides grant money to help companies start and grow their operations.

And, as a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, I will work with Democrats and Republicans to cut red tape for community banks and credit unions that are the cornerstone of our rural communities. Montana-based banks should not be subject to the same regulations as Wall Street.

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We all know Montana’s workforce is second to none. We just need to make sure they have the skills that businesses are looking for. So as part of my #EmployMT initiative, I will prioritize strengthening Job Corps to help create a pipeline of trained workers that meet the needs of Montana’s businesses.

But training our workforce shouldn’t be limited to Job Corps — we also need to make sure our education system is preparing the next generation of workers to meet Montana’s needs. And our two-year colleges are the key. That’s why, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will fight for increased investments in two-year colleges, which provide folks with important skills to land jobs in their hometowns.

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The fifth and final aspect of my #EmployMT initiative is a plan to responsibly develop an all-of-the-above energy strategy. That’s why I’m introducing the Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage Act, which will provide tax credits to Montana companies that burn coal cleaner and create good-paying jobs.

As a farmer, I’ve also seen the effects of changing climate firsthand and I knows that if we don’t start taking proactive steps to protect our clean air and water, Montana’s number one industry, agriculture, will lose revenue and become more dependent on the federal government to pay the bills.

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