America’s veterans have sacrificed so much for our nation. It’s our responsibility to make sure they receive the care and benefits they have earned.
I look forward to working with Chairman Isakson, the Republicans, Democrats, and Independents on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, and Veteran Service Organizations, to ensure we are delivering on this nation's commitment to the men and women who have worn the uniform. My top priorities include reforming the Veterans’ Choice Program, reforming VA Community care, strengthening accountability, and addressing medical workforce shortages at the VA.
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About Ranking Member Tester
Jon Tester is a third-generation Montana farmer, grandfather, and former school teacher who has deep roots in hard work, responsibility and accountability. As a teenager, Tester played Taps at many funeral services for World War II veterans. These ceremonies left a deep impression on him – an impression that motivates his work today as the Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Tester and his wife Sharla still farm the same land near the town of Big Sandy, Mont. that was homesteaded by his grandparents in 1912. In addition to farming and teaching, Tester and Sharla for years ran a custom butcher shop. Tester still butchers his own meat and regularly hauls it to Washington with him in a carry-on suitcase. Tester’s parents believed public education and family agriculture are the cornerstones of democracy—and those values had a tremendous role in shaping Tester’s leadership.
Tester ran for and was elected to the Montana Senate in 1998. In 2005, Tester’s colleagues chose him to serve as Montana Senate President. Tester was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and reelected in 2012.
His first bill to pass in the U.S. Senate successfully raised the veterans’ mileage reimbursement rate for the first time in decades. Since then, Tester’s successful work for Montana’s and America’s veterans includes increasing veterans’ access to health care, reducing red tape in the benefits process, and creating more job opportunities for veterans.
In addition to his leadership position on the Veterans Affairs Committee, Jon serves on the Homeland Security, Indian Affairs, Banking and Appropriations Committees.