Montana has a long roster of women who fought to have their voices heard. This includes Jeannette Rankin, the first woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress; Roe v. Wade activist Judy Smith; and Elouise Cobell, a Blackfeet woman who won the one of largest class action lawsuits against the federal government, winning billions for tribes across the nation.
The voices of these women shaped the history of Montana and empowered an entirely new generation of Montana women to speak up. Now, more than ever, women’s voices are critical to the national conversation of how to move our country forward, and it is becoming harder and harder for Washington politicians to ignore the swell of our voices. One person who has always listened to us, however, is U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.
A third-generation dirt farmer who still farms the land his grandmother homesteaded, Tester never fails to defend the women of this state against those who want to chip away at our personal freedoms. He understands that Montana women know what’s best for Montana women, not stuffy politicians back in Washington, D.C.
That’s why, since Day One, Tester always made listening to women a priority. Since he first began working for us in the U.S. Senate, he’s sponsored and voted for equal pay legislation six different times, including the Lily Ledbetter Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. He knows a hard day’s work is worth a hard day’s work, no matter whether you’re a man or a woman, and he won’t stop fighting until that’s the standard nationwide.
When partisan efforts to block a woman’s access to reproductive health care or roll back protections for critical women’s healthcare services find their way to the Senate, Tester is there to stop them in their tracks. He’s earned 100 percent pro-choice voting records from and is supported by organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL. Tester believes that a woman’s personal healthcare decisions should be made between herself and her family. In other words, Jon Tester trusts Montana women.
Not only that, Tester understands that the women of our state face unique challenges compared to other states. Many women live in rural areas, miles away from the nearest hospital, so Tester makes sure our community health centers are funded in budget bills, and Tester recently introduced a bill to strengthen tribal law enforcement and address the epidemic of murdered and missing Native women.