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, imposes strict ethics rules on personal office and staff, and makes history as first member of Congress 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

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

March 7, 2008 — Launches unprecedented independent ethics audit of personal Senate office, conducted by former Montana Supreme Court Judge

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

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

February 9, 2011 — Bozeman Small Business Opportunity Workshop

February 23, 2011 — Missoula Small Business Opportunity Workshop

May 4, 2011 — Following Jon's law, 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

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 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

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

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


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 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"

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

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