Western Roots
Man of the Dirt
A Call to Serve Montanans
A Call to Serve Montanans
A Call to Serve Montanans

1912 — Fred and Christine Pearson begin homesteading farmland outside Big Sandy, Montana


1916 — David Tester born in Oakley, Utah


1920 — Helen Pearson born in Fargo, North Dakota


1943 — David Tester and Helen Pearson marry, begin managing family farm outside Big Sandy


August 21, 1956 — Jon Tester born in Havre


1965 — Jon loses three fingers in meat grinder accident


1974 — Graduates from Big Sandy High School


1977 — After first seeing her in a church pew years earlier, Jon marries Sharla Bitz


1978 — Graduates from College of Great Falls; begins managing family farm


1979 — Works as elementary school music teacher


1979-1982 — Serves on the Big Sandy Soil Conservation Service Committee


1980 — Daughter Christine born


1985 — Son Shon born


1986-1991 — Serves as Chairman of the Big Sandy School Board of Trustees


1987 — Testers convert farm to organic crops (wheat, peas, lentils, soybeans)


1990-1995 — Serves on the Chouteau County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service Committee


1992 — Testers build their own house on farmland


1998 — Elected to Montana Senate


2001 — Elected to serve as Montana Senate Minority Whip


2003 — Elected to serve as Montana Senate Minority Leader


2005 — Elected President of Montana Senate

May 26, 2005 — Announces campaign for U.S. Senate

August 29, 2005 — Big Sandy native Jeff Ament and rock band Pearl Jam performs for Tester Senate campaign


June 6, 2006 — Wins Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate

November 7, 2006 — Elected to U.S. Senate seat once held by Mike Mansfield


January 3, 2007 — Sworn in and makes history as first member of the Senate to post daily public schedule on website

January 18, 2007 — Helps pass first bill as Senator, installing most sweeping ethics and transparency reforms since Watergate

February 7, 2007 — Delivers first Senate floor speech, telling colleagues U.S. troops and families deserve an open debate over course of Iraq war

March 13, 2007 — 9/11 Commission recommendations passed by Senate with Jon's amendments to strengthen northern border security

April 25, 2007 — Introduces Indian health care legislation to reauthorize the Indian Health Services

July 21, 2007 — Chairs Veterans Affairs Committee field hearing in Great Falls, Montana

November 2007 — Tours Iraq war zone with military commanders


February 1, 2008 — Jon's proposal to boost mileage reimbursement for disabled veterans take effect

February 7, 2008 — Blasts Washington, D.C.'s ban on guns as affront to Second Amendment in speech to Heritage Foundation

April 1, 2008 — Sends “wake up call” to protect student loans

May 21, 2008 — Rallies emergency funding for rural Montana schools and infrastructure

May 22, 2008 — Helps pass 21st Century G.I. Bill

June 26, 2008 — Helps lead Congressional effort to secure individual gun rights in Heller v. District of Columbia Supreme Court case

October 1, 2008 — Votes against Wall Street bailout

November 19, 2008 — Gets automaker CEOs seeking bailouts to publicly agree to $1 salary

December 11, 2008 — Votes against U.S. auto industry bailout, becoming only Senate Democrat to vote against both bailouts of Wall Street, automakers


January 13, 2009 — Earns seat on influential Senate Appropriations Committee

January 30, 2009 — Tapped as Vice Chairman of Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus

Febuary 4, 2009 — Jon helps settle Crow water rights

March 16, 2009 — Introduces "Dirt Bike Bill"

March 30, 2009 — Jon's bipartisan "Wolf Kill Bill" signed into law

May 22, 2009 — Helps write successful law cracking down on credit card industry

June 13, 2009 — Hosts first in series of Small Business Opportunity Workshops to boost jobs and business across Montana

July 17, 2009 — Introduces Forest Jobs and Recreation Act

August 4, 2009 — Successfully strips funding for controversial Animal ID program

August 12, 2009 — Dr. Joe Medicine Crow of Lodge Grass, Montana awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom after Jon's nomination

August 14, 2009 — Jon's requests for new Vet Centers in Great Falls and Kalispell, Montana approved by VA

September 30, 2009 — Pushes successful legislation to make Congress' expense reports publicly available online


January 26, 2010 — Votes in favor of creating a bipartisan panel to cut government spending and reduce the national deficit

April 26, 2010 — Helps kill Congressional pay raise

May 3, 2010 — Backs legislation to permanently ban former members of Congress from ever becoming registered lobbyists

May 5, 2010 — Jon's landmark Rural Veterans Health Care Improvement Act signed into law, benefiting all veterans in Montana and across rural America

May 6, 2010 — Introduces sweeping Public Online Information Act for government transparency

June 3, 2010 — Hosts Treasure State Export Seminar with Montana businesses and industry leaders

June 28, 2010 — Helps achieve major gun rights victory in McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court case


January 4, 2011 — Food Safety Bill, amended by Jon to protect family farms, signed into law

January 15, 2011 — Joins Eloise Cobell to celebrate historic settlement

January 25, 2011 — Secures hi-tech equipment to connect rural Montana schools

February 9, 2011 — Bozeman Small Business Opportunity Workshop

February 23, 2011 — Missoula Small Business Opportunity Workshop

April 12, 2011 — Jon brings together Education Secretary and Montana teachers to talk rural education

May 4, 2011 — In accordance with the law Jon passed, the U.S. Interior Department removes Montana's wolves from the Endangered Species Act, returning their science-based management to the State of Montana

May 25, 2011 — Jon's landmark Forest Jobs and Recreation Act gets its second hearing in the Senate

June 20, 2011 — Backs legislation to better protect victims of sexual assault in the military

June 29, 2011 — Secures flooding assistance for Northern Cheyenne Tribe

July 13, 2011 — Introduces bill to amend Family Medical Leave Act to allow time off to mourn death of a child

July 22, 2011 — Women's Small Business Opportunity Workshop — Billings

October 7, 2011 — Contractors' Small Business Opportunity Workshop — Butte

November 21, 2011 — Jon's VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which provides businesses with incentives to hire veterans, is signed into law.

November 30, 2011 — Jon's camelina crop insurance program goes into effect, providing new incentives to farmers who want to grow the biofuel crop

December 13, 2011 — Jon's bill to modernize the American Legion by allowing electronic payment of membership dues becomes law


February 21, 2012 — Women's Small Business Opportunity Workshop — Missoula

March 12, 2012 — Agriculture Small Business Opportunity Workshop — Bozeman

April 5, 2012 — Jon's Small Business Capital Formation Act, to help startup businesses grow, is signed into law

April 18, 2012 — Jon named “Legislator of the Year ” by the National Shooting Sports Foundation

April, 2012 — Jon holds Veterans Affairs Committee field hearing in Billings to address health care needs

April 26, 2012 — Judge William Leaphart praises Jon's ethics standards in Jon's third regular ethics review of himself and his office

June 22, 2012 — Jon announces that the Pentagon has agreed to his requests to keep the Montana Air National Guard's F-15 mission through the end of the fiscal year. The fighters will stay in Montana through 2013

July 2, 2012 — Secures assistance for improved tribal transit

July 12, 2012 — Congress unanimously passes Jon's Veteran Skills to Jobs Act

July 13, 2012 — Small Business Opportunity Workshop discussing Jon's JOBS Act —Bozeman

July 27, 2012 — Jon leads charge to establish a commission to defeat breast cancer

August 1, 2012 — At Jon's urging, the Defense Department agrees to cover critical breast cancer screenings for military service members, retirees, and their families

August 9, 2013 — After being unanimously approved in the Senate, Jon's Honoring America's Veterans Act, which improves health care access for veterans, becomes law

August 30, 2012 — Jon's bill protecting National Guard and Reservists' jobs when they are called to military service becomes law

September 7, 2012 — Pushes to lower contraceptive costs and increase women’s access to care

October 19, 2012 — Jon helps break ground on the expansion of the Billings VA Clinic

November 2012 — Jon's bill to increase transparency and accountability in the federal government by protecting whistleblowers becomes law

November 27, 2012 — Jon's bill to provide disabled veterans and survivors with a cost-of-living increase becomes law

December 7, 2012 — The Department of Veterans Affairs adopts Jon's plan to help improve health care access for Native American veterans

December 13, 2012 — Senate approves Tester’s bill to increase women veterans’ health services


January 3, 2013 — Jon begins his second term representing Montanans in the U.S. Senate

January 11, 2013 — Jon's bill to help make sure veterans have transportation to VA health care facilities is signed into law

February 14, 2013 — Jon is appointed chair of the Homeland Security subcommittee dedicated to improving government efficiency and effectiveness and the Senate Banking subcommittee that oversees the nation's financial markets

February 16, 2013 — Jon helps get camelina included in the nation's Renewable Fuel Standard, helping establish a stable market for Montana oilseed farmers

February 21, 2013 — Jon discusses water infrastructure at the Montana Rural Water Systems Annual Conference in Great Falls

February 2013 — Jon helps pass a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

April 18, 2013 — Wins security clearance reversal to protect survivors of sexual assault

April 25, 2013 — Jon discusses job creation and economic growth in rural communities at the annual Senate Rural Summit

May 17, 2013 — Tourism Small Business Opportunity Workshop — Bozeman

May 23, 2013 — Jon kicks off his first meeting as chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee, focusing on providing better health care in rural America

June 18, 2013 — Jon introduces his Constitutional Amendment to limit corporate spending in elections by clarifying corporations are not "people"

July 31, 2013 — Backs bill to improve Native American housing opportunities

August 6, 2013 — Jon is honored by the National Forest Homeowners for his work to keep Montana cabins affordable


Febuary 3, 2014 — Takes Chairmanship of Senate Indian Affairs Committee

April 2, 2014 — Senate Indian Affairs Committee approves Tester’s Little Shell recognition bill

May 22, 2014 — Seeks equal voting access for Native Americans

May 29, 2014 — Holds panel discussion to address domestic violence

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