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Danielle Highley

Danielle Highley, a 9-year-old from Deer Lodge, attended Tuesday's State of the Union.

Montana’s congressional delegation invited a range of guests to Tuesday’s State of the Union, including a 9-year-old, a Border Patrol agent and a spouse.

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican, brought 9-year-old Danielle Highley, from Deer Lodge. Danielle is one of the roughly 24,000 children in the state who is insured through the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

CHIP funding was a major part of the most recent budget battle in Congress. Funding for the program expired Sept. 30 and Montana was set to run out of money to operate the program in March. As part of ending the federal government shutdown last week, Congress extended CHIP funding another six years.

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Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, speaks with National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd, who will be his guest at Tuesday’s State of the Union.

Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, speaks with National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd, who will be his guest at Tuesday’s State of the Union.

Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, brought National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd as his guest.

Judd is a 20-year veteran of the Border Patrol and has been stationed in California, Arizona, Maine and Montana. He now lives in Malta.

As Congress works toward a long-term budget deal, Tester has met with the Homeland Security secretary and a bipartisan group of senators to discuss border security and increasing manpower on the borders.

Montana’s newest member of Congress, Rep. Greg Gianforte, brought his wife, Susan. This was his first State of the Union address since he was elected to the House last May.

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