Jon Tester

U.S. Senator, Montana
Jon Tester Crosscut Festival 2021

Session: Bringing Progressive ideas to Rural America

5 p.m. Thursday, May 6

How does a Democrat keep winning in deep-red Montana? Can progressive Democrats ever hope to sway rural Americans that their policy wishlists could benefit rural America? Sen. John Tester, former presidential candidate and author of Grounded: Winning Back Rural America, says it’s all in how you deliver the message. Join the Senator for a conversation moderated by Crosscut Managing Editor Mark Baumgarten.


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About Jon Tester

Sen.Jon Tester is a 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 then elected Jon to the United States Senate in 2006. They voted to send him back in 2012 and again in 2018.


Jon believes in holding himself accountable to the highest standards possible, and he has improved transparency at all levels of government. In fact, Jon was the first senator to post his daily public schedule online.


In the U.S. Senate, Jon is an outspoken voice for rural America. He is an advocate for small businesses and has hosted numerous Small Business Opportunity Workshops across Montana to serve thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs. He is a champion of responsible energy development, sportsmen’s issues, clean air and water, Indian nations, women’s access to care, and quality health care for all of America’s veterans—no matter where they live.


In the Senate, Jon serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He is also a member of the Senate Commerce, Indian Affairs, Banking, and Appropriations Committees.


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About Crosscut Festival 2021

Join journalists, politicians, authors, creators and newsmakers from our community and around the nation May 3-8, 2021 as we come together to take a hard look at the people, policy and events that shape our lives.


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Once you RSVP or purchase tickets, we’ll email you all the information you’ll need to attend the festival.


Ask Sen. Tester a question!

Your submitted questions could help shape our conversations in May. We’ll accept questions until mid-April, then pass along popular and thought-provoking topics for moderators to potentially include in their scripts.