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Tester holds town hall in Bozeman

Senator Tester held a town hall in Bozeman Tuesday. (Photo: NBC Montana)
Senator Tester held a town hall in Bozeman Tuesday. (Photo: NBC Montana)
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Sen. Jon Tester was in Bozeman where he held a town hall with residents Tuesday.

More than 100 residents went to the Baxter Ballroom at noon to listen and ask questions.

For Tester it was a chance to connect with his constituents in his no-nonsense style.

"To be able to talk about anything they wanted no-holds barred, no one was censored -- I even called on a guy with a MAGA hat on -- so it's important that elected officials get out and listen," said the Democratic senator.

Tester just returned from a trip to McAllen, Texas, where he says he spoke to farmers and the border patrol in the area, and immigration policy was one of the issues he addressed Tuesday.

Tester told the Montana residents in the room who are 2,000 miles away from the border that he doesn't think a wall is practical, isolating many farmers in its wake.

"The Rio Grande weaves back and forth like the Missouri or like the Yellowstone does, and you can't build a wall right on the river, so consequently it's a ways off the river, quite a ways off the river on a levy, and so I don't know that we know how much land it's going to put on a no-man's land," he said.

Instead, he offered other solutions like having more immigration judges near the border who can adjudicate those who are seeking asylum in a timely manner.

"If we're going to deal with the immigration problem, if we're going to deal with the drug problem -- let's deal with it. The best way to deal with that is not with a wall; I think that makes the immigration problem worse not better, it's to deal with it with technology and manpower," he said.

Residents got to ask him questions about other issues that mattered to them, like conservation efforts, health care and climate change.

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"I've never really been able to meet with a Washington official before, this is absolutely fabulous," said Mason Grail, a veteran in the audience. "I come from a much larger state and you never actually shake hands and ask questions with a wonderful senator."

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