Senator Jon Tester is making an admirable stand against Joe Biden’s nominees to the Amtrak Board of Directors – finally putting his state’s rural communities first. While Tester has previously voted with Biden’s nominees, he has announced that he will now oppose six of the President’s nominees, despite having previously promised to back them. And, for supporters of the west, Tester’s decision is welcomed given that none of the six nominees hail from this predominantly rural region. “Amtrak is not only critical to Montana, but it’s critical to rural communities and economies across this entire country. And it’s important that folks in rural America have a voice at Amtrak to assure that we aren’t left behind”, he said.
Being a cattle rancher himself, no one knows better than Tester the needs and wants of people living in a rural area. When he told the nominees during a Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing, “if we lose Amtrak in Montana, it is an incredible hit”, he was reminding the nominees how vital this service is to his state. Republicans have been critical of funding Amtrak, but thanks to Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the system received $58 billion. Since then, it has been expanding, but it has not yet fully met the needs of rural areas.
While Amtrak is important, it is not yet fully representative of rural America. The train system has only one western line, and none in Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, or Wyoming. With none of Biden’s nominees hailing from the western part of the U.S, Tester makes a sound point that, “this slate of nominees fails to meet those requirements”. Now, is the time to give rural America a voice, and it starts with Tester’s bold move to block these nominees until their needs are met.
In conclusion, Tester’s opposition to Biden’s nominees is a win for rural America who continues to be neglected by government policies. It is about time that people in these areas had a voice and the necessary representation on boards like Amtrak’s. Rural communities are the backbone of our nation, and it’s time that they get the attention they deserve. Tester’s action will start the ball rolling and remind those in the government that no one should be left behind – no matter where they live.
I will be blocking the President's slate of nominees for the Amtrak Board of Directors until rural America is given their lawful seat at the table. pic.twitter.com/aDy5mISRSx
— Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) April 25, 2023
Source: The Daily Caller