Daines Announces Chairmanship of Senate Western Caucus

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that he is taking the helm of the Senate Western Caucus. 

The Senate Western Caucus was founded in 2009 by outgoing Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY). Barrasso will remain Chairman Emeritus. The Senate Western Caucus (SWC) is made up of Senators from Western and rural states who are committed to upholding the fundamental principles of the West and will help advance priorities important to Western and rural states. 

“We need a commonsense western approach to solving our nation’s most challenging issues including energy development and balanced use of our public lands,” Daines stated. “I look forward to taking on these challenges with my colleagues from the West.”

“The Senate Western Caucus has been a great platform for lawmakers who are committed to upholding the fundamental principles of the West. I’m honored to have served as chairman for the past eight years. In that time, we’ve seen our membership and impact grow tremendously,” said Barrasso. “Senator Daines will make a terrific new chairman. I look forward to working with him to continue to advance western solutions related to our environment, as well as to our energy and natural resources." 

As Chair, Daines will work with his colleagues to promote American energy independence, strengthen mineral security, foster a 21st century balanced federal land management approach that includes state and local input, protect the West's hunting, fishing and outdoor heritage, help bridge the government-to-government relationships with Indian tribes and secure water infrastructure.

Daines also serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.  

Todd Devlin, President, Montana Association of Counties: “As president of the Montana Association of Counties, I congratulate with great enthusiasm the smart and wise selection of Senator Daines as the new chairman of the Senate Western Caucus.  As a US Representative and now Senator, Steve Daines works with his heart and soul to assure that Montana and all the West are on an even playing field nationally and globally.  We know that he will always fight for Montana’s counties and be a champion of solutions that are needed for our state to thrive. We are excited to work with the Senator in his new role to secure funding for important programs like PILT and Secure Rural Schools that are vital for many counties in Montana and help foster commonsense solutions to allow our local economies to thrive.”

Montana Petroleum Association Executive Director Alan Olson: “I have known Senator Daines for quite a while and I am grateful that the Senate Western Caucus has seen the same strong leadership abilities of Senator Daines that we in Montana have been fortunate enough to have experienced over the last several years. Senator Daines knows the problems that we in the west face on a daily basis and we are looking forward to his leadership on western issues.”

Little Shell Tribal Chairman Gerald Gray: “I think it’s really important to have someone from Montana like the Senator. He gets Montana tribes, he understands Montana issues and for a position like that, we’re really in support of that.”

Northern Cheyenne Tribal President Jace Killsback: “I’d like to congratulate him on the selection to be the chairman. He definitely has the voice of Indian Country from Montana and can be a better and stronger advocate for the tribal issues that our region, including all our surrounding states, deal with and the government-to-government relationship with the United States government." 

Bud Clinch, Executive Director, Montana Coal Council“Obviously the membership of the Senate Western Caucus recognizes the insight and leadership that Senator Daines exhibits by electing him as their chairman. His understanding and passion for our western values and opportunities  will benefit all the Western Caucus members as they strive to advance issues that will help our economies grow while carefully balancing environmental concerns. Whether its advocating for a sensible regulatory  system or engaging in public land access issues, Senator Daines always does the right thing for the right reasons.”

Hans McPherson, Montana Farm Bureau President: “Senator Daines has certainly proven himself as a true leader on issues important to Montana agriculture, natural resources, and the rural way of life.  The Montana Farm Bureau Federation has appreciated his efforts to pass helpful legislation and stop harmful regulations during his tenure in the Senate. We are excited to hear that his leadership is being noticed and recognized by his colleagues in his selection as chairman of the Senate Western Caucus. His record of working to pass legislation beneficial to the West tells us that he will no doubt be an excellent and effective chairman of this group.”  

Joe Briggs, Cascade County Commissioner: “The Western Senate Caucus has long been a voice of reason within the halls of congress.  As Westerners they understand that the "one size fits all" solutions preferred in DC do not work in the rural expanses of the West.  The election of Senator Steve Daines as the chair of the Western Senate Caucus insures that not only the Western perspective but also the Montana perspective in particular will be well represented in congress. I know that the selection of Senator Daines as Chairman will serve the people of Montana, the west and the nation as a whole extremely well.” 

Errol Rice, Montana Stockgrowers Association Executive Vice President: “The Montana Stockgrowers Association congratulates Sen. Daines on becoming chair of the Senate Western Caucus. Federal land management policies have a disproportionate impact on Western states, and it is critical that those in the West work together to ensure that they have a strong voice in DC. The Senate Western Caucus can play an important role in that process,  and having a Montanan in Sen. Daines lead this coalition will provide great opportunities for Montana ranchers. MSGA appreciates Sen. Daines’ work on behalf of Montana farmers and ranchers and we look forward to continuing to work with him as he leads the Senate Western Caucus this Congress.” 

Montana Wool Growers Association President, Dave McEwen of Galata, MT: “On behalf of the membership of the Montana Wool Growers Association, which represents Montana’s sheep and wool producers, I extend my congratulations to our Senator, Senator Steve Daines, on becoming Chair of the United States Senate Western Caucus’.  This is a positive development for Montana and for livestock production across the West.  Senator Daines grew up in Montana and, as a result, fully understands and cares about the people living and working in areas West of the Mississippi and into the rocky mountain states.  Senator Daines has an extensive knowledge of federal policy issues and programs that impact sheep production and producers west of the Mississippi, such as grazing on federal lands, operating in areas proximate to endangered species, long-distance transportation and travel costs, and agriculture lending and financing issues unique to rural areas.  Senator Daines has been a leader for sheep producers in Montana and throughout the West taking on the role of champion of our industry; and we are heartened that Senator Daines will bring those leadership abilities to the Senate Western Caucus.” 

Tammy Johnson, Executive Director of the Montana Mining Association: “What a great choice to lead the Western Caucus. Montana’s mineral and metal producers know that Senator Steve Daines will excel in this important position. He has a deep understanding of the issues facing Montana and the entire west and will be an informed, thoughtful, and tireless advocate for the Western states. Congratulations Senator Daines!”

David Allen, President & CEO, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: “We are very excited to have Senator Daines’ leadership grow in the US Senate. Heading up the Western Senate Caucus is a significant appointment for Senator Daines and we look forward to his advocating for the issues that matter so much to all of us who hunt, fish and recreate in the West.” 


Julia Altemus, Executive Director, Montana Wood Products Association: “Senator Daines has a proven commitment to Montana’s national forests and wood products industry. His leadership on the Senate Western Caucus will be vitally important as the Senate works on desperately needed forest management reform. We are excited to have Montanan who will fight for sensible solutions to the unique problems that face the western states and look forward to working with the Senator as these issues are debated in Congress.”  

Keith Olson, Executive Director, Montana Logging Association: “We know that Senator Daines will be a powerful voice for the family-owned businesses engaged in this profession we call logging. Furthermore, his commitment to responsible forest management reform, combined with his support for sustainable forests and rural communities, will be an important guide for other Senators in the west.”

Mac Minard, Executive Director, Montana Outfitters and Guides Association: “Outdoor recreation is not just a major part of our economy in Montana, it is part of our heritage. Senator Daines has a track record of supporting our outdoors and our outdoor way of life. As an avid outdoorsman himself, his position as Chairman of the Senate Western Caucus will make him a strong advocate for our Montana outfitters and guides. We look forward to working with Senator Daines to help pass smart, responsible legislation that will benefit Montana and the nation as a whole.” 

Kathleen Sgamma, President, Western Energy Alliance: “Western Energy Alliance appreciates that we have such strong leaders in the West with Senators Daines and Barrasso. The Western Caucus goes from a position of strength to strength with the leadership change, and we expect the caucus to continue to be a force on issues that affect not only the West, but help to create jobs and economic vibrancy throughout the nation.”

Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) President and CEO Barry Russell: “IPAA wishes to congratulate Senator Daines on his election to lead the Senate Western Caucus. America’s energy producers have long believed that safe, responsible development of our natural resources and protecting our environment can coexist in a balanced, commonsense approach. Senator Daines has carried that same sense of balance and understanding in his support for Western priorities and American jobs. We look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Daines and the Senate Western Caucus.”

Becky Humphries Chief Conservation and Operating Officer, National Wild Turkey Fundation: “The National Wild Turkey Federation applauds the election of Sen Daines to the Chairmanship of the Senate Western Caucus. Sen Daines is a thoughtful legislator who seeks practical solutions to on the ground natural resources conservation issues. His commitment to science based active management of our federal forests to fulfill all of their public values not only benefits wildlife but our local communities. We look forward to continuing to work with him on these issues.”

Ron Regan Executive Director, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies: “Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies applauds the election of Sen Daines to the Chairmanship of the Senate Western Caucus. Sen Daines is a thoughtful and deliberate legislator with a deep interest in science-based conservation of our natural resources for the sustainable use and enjoyment of our citizens. He is also a strong supporter of the role and authority of the state fish and wildlife agencies in those conservation efforts. We look forward to continuing our work with Senator Daines.” 

Senate Western Caucus Membership:

Senator Steve Daines (R-MT)

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)

Senator John Boozman (R-AR)

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)

Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)

Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE)

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO)

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

Senator Dean Heller (R-NV)

Senator John Hoeven (R-ND)

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)

Senator James Lankford (R-OK)

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Senator Jim Risch (R-ID)

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS)

Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD)

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE)

Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK)

Senator John Thune (R-SD)

Stay up to date with the Senate Western Caucus:

Facebook: Senate Western Caucus

Twitter: @SenWestCaucus

Website: https://www.daines.senate.gov/senate-western-caucus