I am 18, and a senior at Hellgate High School in Missoula. I have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetically-inherited, muscular-degenerative disease that prevents my body from producing dystrophin, which nourishes muscles. Thus far, it has affected my legs, but will eventually affect my heart and lungs. Thanks, in large part, to the Muscular Dystrophy Care Act, and other legislative actions that boost awareness and funding for research, I am on a special steroid-based medication that slows the progression of the disease. There are also several studies and clinical trials underway that show a lot of potential and promise for more treatments and a possible cure.
I have made several trips to Washington D.C. where I have met with Senator Jon Tester to discuss these issues. He has always been tremendously kind, humble, respectful, attentive and responsive. He was instrumental in helping to reauthorize the Muscular Dystrophy Care Act, and in providing me and others with support, encouragement, and hope.
I also love to fish, camp and spend all the time I can in the wilds of Montana. Senator Tester has worked hard and continues fighting to protect the public wildlands and rivers I cherish. He has also led cooperative efforts, such as the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act and the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, to bring diverse people together – including hunters, anglers, hikers, environmentalists, loggers, businessmen, ranchers, tribals leaders, and many others – to seek common ground and find collaborative solutions for the sustainable management and protection of the wildlife and wildlands that make Montana so special.
In addition, my father is a Marine Corps veteran who has struggled with medical and mental health issues related to his service in an elite Force Recon unit. When the Veterans Administration (VA) was slow in responding to my father’s needs, Senator Tester stepped in and offered to help. Senator Tester has been a champion for veteran’s issues, helping increase attention and funding for VA programs, and continually fighting to help and assist veterans, like my father, and their families – getting them the help they need and deserve.
I was born and raised here in Montana, and love my home state. This will be the first year I am eligible to vote. My first vote will be for the reelection of Senator Jon Tester, who has served Montana well and fights to protect all the things I love and cherish. Please join me in voting for Senator Jon Tester!