MISSOULA — Montana's senators are optimistic about how the state will rebound from the coronavirus shutdown. But they're also saying it will take a phased approach, geared to the different circumstances.
Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines have had some differing viewpoints over how everyone is dealing with the pandemic. Tester has been more critical of the rollout of stimulus funds and assistance, while Daines is more praiseworthy of the efforts to help individuals and businesses.
And while they each have their own perspective on how the country should re-open after the long shutdown, both are expressing confidence that Montana's community support and ingenuity will help us in the recovery.
"We just need some common sense," Daines said. "We prepared for the worst. But thankfully the worst isn't happening. And so now it's time to think about a phased approach. We can safely re-open this economy and get people back to work."
And that phasing is the key, and finding a solution that best fits what Montana as a state needs.
"We very much need to have individual, state-based and even county-based solutions," Daines said. "What's going on in New York, that's a very different scenario than what's happening here in Montana. Even within Montana we have differences between counties."
"I really do honestly believe that things could return to normal really quickly if we get tests and a vaccine to come shortly thereafter," Tester added. "And that's really what we need to focus on. I can tell you there's a lot of business that are out there that are saying 'what are we doing? I'm closed, I should be closed. This isn't that big of a deal.'
"All I would say is just take a look around and listen to the folks that are in the fields of science. And I will tell you that, we've got to take this seriously. If we don't it will become a massive, big problem."