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Sen. Tester slated to lead Senate Indian Affairs Committee





Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) is slated to chair the Senate Indian Affairs Committee for the remainder of the 113th Congress.

Tester will take over the gavel from Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington). She was the first woman in the post and is leaving to run another committee.

"You've done a great job on behalf of Indian Country," Ron Allen, the chairman of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe of Washington, told Cantwell at a hearing this afternoon. "We are very proud of you, coming from Washington state."

Cantwell took over the committee in January 2013. She has held fewer hearings and has advanced fewer pieces of legislation than most of her predecessors although her staff has held a significant number of listening sessions with tribal leaders and Indian organizations.

As for Tester, he has been a member of the committee since his first term in office. He's known for his aggressive defense of tribal sovereignty and self-determination.

"I know that you're a great champion as well," Allen said today.

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