Sen. Tester Warns Dems to ‘Show Up’ in Rural America, Bridge Divide on Guns

Sen. Tester Warns Dems to 'Show Up' in Rural America, Bridge Divide on Guns Sen. Tester Warns Dems to 'Show Up' in Rural America, Bridge Divide on Guns Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Fran Beyer | Sunday, 21 November 2021 12:34 PM

Democrats have to show “a record of accomplishment” to rural U.S. voters — and “bridge the divide” on hot button issues, particularly gun laws, before next year’s midterm elections, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said Sunday.

In an interview on on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” Tester warned Democrats better “go to work” in rural areas where they’ve “haven’t shown up.”

“I think if Democrats got out and spoke about things, enabling law-abiding citizens to protect their gun rights, I think it would help us win in rural America,” he said.

“Unfortunately what folks in rural America hear a lot about is they want to take away the guns. That's not what most Democrats want for sure,” he insisted. “It's an important issue in elections because it's made into an important issue.”

He added that Democrats have to go to work ahead of the midterm elections to “get a record of accomplishment, get out there and talk to folks about what your vision is and what you've done.”

“You have two ears, one mouth. Act accordingly,” he said. “Listen and react. Part of the problem with Democrats in rural America is we haven't talked enough about what we stand for and what we've accomplished. We haven't shown up in many places. Those things will be very, very important as we go into 2022.”

According to Tester, it’s “very important to bridge the divide.”

“It's a divide that's been put up to divide this country, quite honestly, as many hot button issues are,” he said of gun law particularly.

Tester also predicted the House-passed $1.75 trillion social spending bill will have “changes” in the Senate, where senators have to be “open to compromise.”

“I think people need to be open to compromise, and I think if we compromise like we did in the bipartisan infrastructure package where we had five Democrats and five Republicans that argues and fought and came to a bill that would work, I think it's the same thing within the 50 Democrats, too,” he said.

But he insisted he's not a locked-in supporter of the House bill.

“Oh, no, no, no, no,” he said. “It's going to come over from the House. There's going to be changes. I'm going to compare it to what Montana needs, and that's going to be where I focus on. … I think we can come up with a bill that's a very, very good bill that works for states like Montana and other states in the Union.”

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