Tester Named Indian Affairs Chairman

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — Montana Sen. John Tester is the new chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, while newly appointed Montana Sen. John Walsh has announced his appointment to four committees.

Tester has served on the Indian Affairs Committee for seven years and takes over for former chairman Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, who chaired her final committee hearing Wednesday. Tester says he’ll address many issues affecting Indian Country but will focus on improving tribal schools and colleges.

“Working together, we will expand economic opportunities, create safer communities, stronger health care systems, and responsibly manage the natural resources that are so abundant in Indian Country,” Tester said. “And while we won’t get it done in a day, I have full confidence in our ability to make big strides for all Native Americans.”

Tester recently gave the Congressional response to the National Congress of American Indians’ State of Indian Nations address.

“Education – especially early education – is the foundation for sound life choices that increase economic security and help us climb the ladder of success,” said Tester, a former elementary school teacher. “But education’s greatest value is how it expands our worldview and prepares us to take on the challenges we face every day. As chairman, I will continue to seek more ways to improve tribal schools and tribal colleges and ensure Native students have every opportunity to succeed.”

Walsh was sworn in Tuesday to finish former Sen. Max Baucus’ term. He announced Thursday that he was appointed to the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; the Rules and Administration Committee and the Special Committee on Aging.

“These are important assignments that give Montana a voice at the table to strengthen our economy, improve transparency and protect seniors and small businesses,” Walsh said. “All of these committees affect Montana and I look forward to fighting for our state and shaping policy that responsibly cuts debt and spending while protecting Social Security and Medicare.”

Both Tester and Walsh are Democrats.

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