Montana senator mixes political savvy, a potty mouth, and his farming background

It’s probably safe to say that Montana Senator Jon Tester is the only serving Congressperson to have lost three fingers in a meat grinder as a child—and he’s also one of the body’s few working farmers. He’s managed a masterful political balancing act as a Democrat staring down 2024 re-election in a Republican-leaning state, and as a party member who’s been a key backer of President Biden’s infrastructure plans while he’s bucked other White House priorities, says Politico. Chalk some of that up to his chairmanship of the Senate Veteran Affairs’ committee and his advocacy on agricultural measures—including his position against raising inheritance taxes (a move that he said would have decimated family-owned farms). He also sells a salt-of-the-earth-farmer persona that plays well across the Great Plains and on TV. Speaking of media, he’s known for a profane plainspokenness not common in quote-careful Congress. When fellow Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota pointed out a recent instance of his public blue language, he first demurred. Then faced with the evidence of his own words, he conceded. “Goddammit,” he said, “I’m trying to wean myself off of this.” 

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