Reflections of Mansfield in Tester

For more than eighty years, most of them spent in Montana, I have been busy about many things and left concern for politics to others. Sobered by the realization that there is far less time before me than time behind me , I now find myself worrying and whining, and, at times, embarrassed by the two-thirds of our congressional delegation whose interests, values and funding practices don't align with those of real Montanans. I ask myself: What can I do? What will be my legacy to the state that birthed me, supported me, educated me?

While it cannot be financial, there are, happily, other kinds of resources--relational ones. All my life, I have been surrounded by good people--friends, acquaintances, students, colleagues, teachers and teammates, Bobcats and Grizzlies. Rarely did we identify as progressives or conservatives. We were just Montanans who together generated a lot of social capital.

I would like to expend some of that capital at this time by urging my Butte friends to support Jon Tester in his bid for re-election as our U.S. senator. In the current political climate, Jon is Montana's MVP. We cannot afford to lose his voice in Washington. Nor can we risk loss of the way he represents Montana to the rest of the country. His experience, personal and professional, speaks for itself.

Reflecting on the good old days, I recently re-read a biography of Mike Mansfield and was reminded of what it was like when Mike made Montanans proud. Totally immersed for years in a leadership role in Congress, Mike Mansfield never lost the need or the knack of staying in touch with the people who put him there. He never forgot where he came from.

It is not a reach to see in Jon Tester a reflection of Mike Mansfield. So long as he insists on being his own person, we must insist that he remain our U.S. senator.

— Con Kelly, Missoula