New West Travel & Outdoors: Bridging the Gap in D.C., a Pop-In by a Straight-Talking Tester and Final Thoughts

The previous evening ended with a reception for the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus, of which Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) is currently chairman. It is a fun affair, where conversations come easily and common interests seem to abound. After a day spent crisscrossing from one office to another, back and forth across the Capitol lawn, lobbying on behalf of responsible energy development, it is a welcome change of pace.

There is a rumor that the senator will make an appearance, but with Congress as hectic as it is at the moment, we know this isn’t necessarily a given.

Before the pot stickers and shrimp have fully disappeared, a man built like a cross between an NFL linebacker and a pile of bricks enters with a small entourage, and I recognize his face, of course.

Tester makes a short speech and, though I’ve heard him speak before, I’m struck again by how he simply doesn’t talk like your typical senator, and I mean this in a good way. He talks like the kind of real, down-to-earth guy that you could kick back and have a beer with; that you could talk about everyday things with, who wouldn’t flinch at getting his hands dirty. And while many politicians try to affect this sort of act when they feel they need to work a particular crowd, there is nothing to suggest that Tester is being anything other than himself. Like him or not, he is an intriguing, unique presence in the Senate, and brings a perspective few others seem to.

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