An inspiring and eye-opening memoir showing how Democrats can reconnect with rural and red-state voters, from Montana’s three-term democratic senator
Senator Jon Tester is a rare voice in Congress. He is the only United States senator who manages a full-time job outside of the Senate—as a farmer. But what has really come to distinguish Tester in the Senate is his commitment to accountability, his ability to stand up to Donald Trump, and his success in, time and again, winning red state voters back to the Democratic Party.
In Grounded, Tester shares his early life, his rise in the Democratic party, his vision for helping rural America, and his strategies for reaching red state voters. Leaning deeply into lessons on the value of authenticity and hard work that he learned growing up on his family’s 1,800-acre farm near the small town of Big Sandy, Montana—the same farm he continues to work today with his wife, Sharla—Tester has made his political career a testament to crossing the divides of class and geography. The media and Democrats too often discount rural people as Trump supporters; Tester knows better. His voice is vital to the public discourse as we seek to understand the issues that are important to rural and working-class America in not just the 2020 election but also for years to come.
A heartfelt and inspiring memoir from a courageous voice, Grounded shows us that the biggest threat to our democracy isn’t a president who has no moral compass. It’s politicians who don’t understand the value of accountability and hard work. Tester demonstrates that if American democracy is to survive, we must put our trust in the values that keep us grounded.
Montana senator Tester's candid and appealing debut interweaves autobiography and insights into the issues and values that resonate with rural voters. In addition to serving in Congress as a Democrat, Tester manages the family farm started by his grandfather in 1912. He vividly describes losing three fingers in a childhood accident at the farm's butcher shop, and recalls attending college on a music scholarship; marrying his wife a few months after they started "going steady"; and taking over the farm at age 21 in 1978. After serving on the local school board and in the state senate, Tester won election to the U.S. Senate in 2006. He highlights his advocacy for veterans and writes poignantly about how his relationship with his son, who is gay, helped to change his views on LGBTQ rights. Tester was reelected in 2018 despite being in the middle of a spat with the White House over Trump's nominee for secretary of veterans affairs and suggests that his fellow Democrats need to relearn "how to speak to the folks who shower at the end of the day." Tester relates his unique personal story with plainspoken charm, and offers helpful advice for red-state Democrats. This political memoir stands apart from the pack.