• Melissa Smith

An Open Letter to Senator Jon Tester

Dear Senator Tester:

I’m filled with profound grief regarding your statement that you will vote against President Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees. I realize that you believe you are representing the will of Montanans, and that is your job, but in this case, those Montanans are wrong.

The cynical manipulation of a vaccinated news media (Fox News employees were required to disclose their vaccination status, as reported in August) fostered a massive disinformation that has only made the pandemic worse.

The science is correct, the anti-vaccination people are wrong. The SARS Covid virus will continue to mutate and Covid will be with us, just like it is for Covid long haulers, for all of our lives. We had a chance with a vaccine to achieve herd immunity and contain variants of the Covid virus. We chose a different path. A path of selfish “freedom” over the common good.

In short, we chose death over life.

Covid is no longer a political battle, but a moral one. The old adage of “if everyone was running off a cliff would you join them?” applies here. By opposing a life-saving, safe vaccine, you have chosen some short-term political expediency over truth, justice, and Montanas’ lives.

My personal Covid story includes the deaths of many loved ones and the consequences of social isolation on the elderly. My 91-year-old Mother suffered terribly when she was in lockdown several times at her assistedbliving facility in Great Falls. Sometimes the lockdowns occurred when staff brought the virus to work. My Mother went months without human contact because of the horrendous behavior of willfully ignorant, anti-mandate, pandemic-denying, individuals. This may seem like a small thing to you and to them, but this social isolation resulted in a rapid decline in my mother’s mental health, accelerating her dementia. And her case is not an exception.

The measure of a society is how we treat our most vulnerable. We have failed. We have failed our kids, our elderly, and ultimately ourselves by allowing utter nonsense and a “freedom of choice” ideology during a worldwide pandemic to dominate the narrative. I implore you to change your mind and vote for the mandate. If not, at least insist that Covid testing be done every single day before any employee can go to work -- vaccinated or not. I take a Covid test to see my Mother. Everyone else should have to as well.

Please consider the suffering of the voiceless Montanans instead of kowtowing to the shouting of the misinformed.

Be a moral force for the common good in Montana.


Melissa Smith

Democrat, Great Falls

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Campaign Biography Melissa Smith, Candidate for Montana House District 23 I’m Melissa Smith, and I’m a Montanan, a professional pianist, and teacher, currently working in Great Falls. I was raised in