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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Tester Courts Student Vote At UM

Rosie Costain
Sen. Jon Tester at a University of Montana Ice Cream Social on September 7.

Senator Jon Tester held an ice cream social Friday at the University of Montana to encourage students to vote. He also fielded questions about issues surrounding November’s election.

The event was billed as a chance for Senator Tester to hear from students about issues they care about and talk about the upcoming election. That’s exactly what happened when Tester stepped to the front of the room of about 60 people in the University Center on the University of Montana campus.

Tester also tried to appeal to students by talking about the rising cost of college.

"I have a four year degree, I have a Bachelor’s in music," he said. "I do not know today if I would go to college to get a Bachelor’s in music. That is not the best way to have it. If we’re going to have an economy that works, you guys have to be able to afford an education to be able to work to go out and start up businesses and add to our economy.”

Tester said he would support PELL Grants to help with the cost of college. It was a strategy that seemed to grab students attention.

Sara Kutz-Yeager is a freshman at the university, and plans to vote for Tester.

“I think he is really looking out for the right things, especially for younger people our age," she said.

Jakob Baker is a sophomore. He wants to try and see Tester talk again to find out more about his campaign, but has a good impression of the senator so far.

“He’s a democrat, he’s looking out for the Montana people and especially the youth which is really important," he said.

During the event, Tester was asked for his thoughts on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation - he’s still undecided; on border control - he says securing the border is critically important; and on state issues like the 6-mill levy - which he enthusiastically supports.

“It should be a 12-mill levy," Tester said.

He was also asked about campaign ads concerning his opponent, Republican candidate Matt Rosendale.

One recent ad from Tester accuses Rosendale of money laundering and “stuffing his own pocket" with campaign funds. MTN News reports Rosendale reported all transactions publicly and is not accused of violating any campaign finance rules.

Tester stood by the ad today, insisting Rosendale did not stick to campaign finance laws.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Tester campaign disputes our interpretation that their candidate's quote below constitutes an accusation that his opponent didn't stick to campaign finance laws: "“If you’ve got enough money you can find a attorney that will get you around the law and that’s exactly what he did — he failed to live up to the spirit of the law.”

Rosie Costain is a former MTPR reporter.
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