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Sen. Tester re-affirms his commitment to Native People

By Alyssa Nenemay

Montana Senator Jon Tester took a moment from his already stacked schedule to meet the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council. (Alyssa Nenemay photo) Montana Senator Jon Tester took a moment from his already stacked schedule to meet the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council. (Alyssa Nenemay photo)

PABLO — Senator Jon Tester launched his second term in office with a visit to the Flathead Reservation. Tester took a moment from his already packed schedule to meet with Tribal Council and CS&KT department heads to discuss their concerns.

“We’re excited to work with you again,” tribal chairman Joe Durglo said. “Native American tribes are in a unique position with our relationship to the US Government and you’ve been very understanding.”

Tester’s recent victory in the 2012 elections was heated and attracted national attention. Not only was this past senate campaign the most expensive in Montana’s history (reportedly reaching the $30 million mark) Tester won by the skin of his teeth. Poll results showed Tester had a slim 6.5 percent advantage over his opponent Denny Rehberg.

With most precincts in Montana voting for Republican candidate Rehberg, Tester’s landslide advantage was the support he received in precincts located on or near Montana’s tribal reservations.

“The Native American vote without a doubt, made a huge difference in this election and I extend my thanks here and throughout Indian country,” said Tester.

Senator Jon Tester was re-elected for his second term as a Montana Senate representative. Tester had a slim six point five advantage over his Republican opponent Denny Rehberg. (Alyssa Nenemay photo) Senator Jon Tester was re-elected for his second term as a Montana Senate representative. Tester had a slim six point five advantage over his Republican opponent Denny Rehberg. (Alyssa Nenemay photo)

Tester will continue his role as one of two senate representatives for Montana in the United States Congress. Congress represents the American people in the legislative branch of governmental authority and is responsible for creating the nation’s laws.

Aside from creating and passing laws, senate has the constitutional authority to try and impeach federal officers, approve presidential appointments, to declare war, approve treaties, and conduct and oversee investigations. Senate also has the authority to approve and oversee the use of federal funds.

Along with his responsibilities as a state senate representative, Tester will also continue to serve on several committees including the Veteran’s Affairs, Homeland Security, Indian Affairs, and Banking and Appropriations.

Although some weren’t passed through Congress, the following is a list of bills Tester sponsored in relation to Native Americans:
   • S.546: Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act of 2011: Extend federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
   • S. 1514: Authorize the President to award a gold medal on behalf of Congress to Elouise Pepion Cobell, in recognition of her outstanding and enduring contributions to American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and the Nation through her tireless pursuit of justice.
   • S. 375: Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2009
   • S. 3209: Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes of the Fort Belknap Indian Community Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012

Following his meeting with Tribal Council, Senator Jon Tester was given an opportunity to discuss looming issues specific to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes via tribal department heads. (Alyssa Nenemay photo) Following his meeting with Tribal Council, Senator Jon Tester was given an opportunity to discuss looming issues specific to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes via tribal department heads. (Alyssa Nenemay photo)

Although some weren’t passed through Congress, the following is a list of bills Tester supported in relation to Native Americans:
   • S. 3546: To amend the Native American Programs Act of 1974 to reauthorize a provision to ensure the survival and continuing vitality of Native American languages
   • S.Res. 329: A resolution recognizing National Native American Heritage Month and celebrating the heritages and cultures of Native Americans and the contributions of Native Americans to the United States.
   • S. 1763: SAVE Native Women Act: Gives Indian tribes criminal jurisdiction over domestic violence, dating violence, and violations of protective orders that occur on their lands.
   • S.J. Res. 14: A joint resolution to acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States.

For more information on Senator Jon Tester visit: www.tester.senate.gov.

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