A town hall event with Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Tester brought around 100 people to the Helena College Student Center Tuesday morning.
Tester was praised for his work on public lands and stance on funding public education, but received some push back on issues surrounding the southern border.
The crowd was overall favorable to the state’s senior Senator as microphones were passed between rows of plastic seats for an hour of questions.
The wide ranging town hall included topics on the cost of healthcare and education, climate change, agriculture, and Democrats struggle for power in Washington D.C.
There were also several questions about the families being separated at the southern border and the poor conditions people are reportedly being kept in, which Tester responded, in part, “Separation, if it’s not illegal, it is certainly morally corrupt.”
Tester disagreed with one member of the crowd who said ICE, the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, should be abolished. The Senator also said there should not be open borders and the U.S. needs to give more aid to countries that people are fleeing.
Colleen Murphy, a social worker who lives in Helena, wasn’t completely satisfied by Tester’s answers. “I’m not sure I got an answer about what we’re going to do about the children,” Murphy said.
The in-person town hall was Tester’s third of the year. The events in Helena, Bozeman, and Missoula were all in counties Tester carried during his reelection in 2018.