Sen. Tester appoints new chief of staff

By Martin Kidston

A University of Montana graduate and familiar face in state politics will serve as Sen. Jon Tester’s new chief of staff, the senator’s office announced on Friday.

Aaron Murphy, who formerly served as Tester’s communications director and press secretary between 2006 and 2013, will lead the senator’s offices in Montana and Washington, D.C.

“Aaron is a strong leader who will help me continue to fight for the next generation of Montanans,” Tester said. “Whether it’s strengthening our national security or guaranteeing all Montanans have access to public lands, health care and education, Aaron will ensure my staff continues to deliver on the issues that matter to our state.”

Tester is bracing for a potential tough challenge as he runs for re-election in 2018.

Prior to serving as Tester’s communications director, Murphy worked as executive producer at KTVQ Television in Billings, as well as a ranger in Yellowstone National Park. More recently, Murphy has served as a consultant specializing in political communications and public lands issues.

“I’m among the many Montanans who are inspired by Jon’s record of bringing accountability and honesty to Washington, and making responsible decisions for our kids,” Murphy said. “Jon works long, hard hours as both a farmer and as Montana’s senior senator, and I look forward to working again at his side to protect our values, traditions and freedoms.”

Murphy is a 2001 graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism. He will replace Jamie Wise, who served as Tester’s legislative director and chief of staff. Wise began working with the senator in 2007 as a legislative assistant on veterans issues, as well as homeland security.

Tester thanked Wise for his service.

“Under his leadership, we’ve delivered incredible victories for Montana’s service members, veterans, and middle class families,” said Tester. “Jamie’s institutional knowledge, passion, and creativity are a hallmark of his tenure.”

Tester said Murphy will start on Jan. 3, 2017. He joins State Director Dayna Swanson, Legislative Director Dylan Laslovich, and Communications Director Marneé Banks on Tester’s senior staff.