Weekly Column

01.16.20

What Recent Trade Wins Mean for South Dakota

As any South Dakota farmer or rancher will tell you, having a market to sell their products is vitally important to the success of their operations. In South Dakota, we produce some of the highest-quality crops and meat in the world. However, trade uncertainty-coupled with low commodity prices and poor weather conditions-has made life difficult for ag producers. After years of being at the tip of the spear in ongoing trade disputes, South Dakota's farmers, ranchers and manufacturers saw some maj… Continue Reading


01.10.20

U.S.-Iran Relations: A Primer

For more than four decades, Iran has been a nefarious actor on the international stage. They've spent billions of dollars supporting terrorist activities across the globe, wreaking havoc in the Middle East and threatening to destroy the United States and our allies. We've seen this escalate in recent weeks as they killed an American contractor in Iraq and orchestrated the storming of the U.S. embassy in Iraq, putting American lives in danger. President Trump made the bold decision to take ou… Continue Reading


01.03.20

Two Years Later, Tax Reform Continues to Help South Dakota Families, Small Businesses

Historic tax reform legislation was signed into law by President Trump just over two years ago, and it has had a positive impact for South Dakota families and small businesses. Entrepreneurs are feeling optimistic about their businesses, and are reinvesting savings from tax cuts back into their businesses and their employees. Wages are rising and new jobs are being created. The average American household can expect a lifetime gain of around $25,000 thanks to tax reform. One of the many reasons … Continue Reading


12.27.19

2019 in Review

As 2019 comes to a close, I've had time to reflect on the past year. As a state, we celebrated the commissioning of the USS South Dakota, a Virginia-class nuclear submarine designed to fulfill 21st century mission requirements. We also worked to secure Ellsworth Air Force Base as the location for the first two B-21 Raider bomber squadrons - the training squadron and the operational squadron - solidifying Ellsworth's long-term role in our national security. We were also hit hard by Mother Nature … Continue Reading


12.19.19

The Magic of Christmas

As we celebrate the holidays with our loved ones, we are reminded of the true reason for the season: the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. His teachings remind us to be kind to others, share our gratitude for all the good things in our lives and give back to those less fortunate. Through these acts, we can experience the real magic of Christmas. You may be surprised to hear that Christmas magic is alive and well even in the most unlikely of places-the United States Capitol. Despite what you t… Continue Reading


12.13.19

South Dakota Well-Represented in Defense Authorization Bill

Every year for nearly 60 years, Congress has worked in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). By the end of 2019, we will have passed the 59th NDAA in a row. This one, which authorizes funding for the military for Fiscal Year 2020, includes some major wins for South Dakota, to include Ellsworth Air Force Base and Dakota State University (DSU). As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chairman of our Cybersecurity Subcommittee, I wo… Continue Reading


12.06.19

A Better Way to Determine How Your Tax Dollars are Spent

Again this month, Congress is operating under a Continuing Resolution, or CR, that expires just a few days before Christmas. The intent is to back Members of Congress and the White House into a corner, hoping they will be willing to accept a massive end-of-year spending package that they might otherwise oppose. This is not a new phenomenon - it's been happening under our modern budget process since 1974. But that doesn't mean we have to accept it. We must demand better when it comes to deciding … Continue Reading


11.22.19

Extra Gratitude at our Thanksgiving Table This Year

Jean and I wish a very happy Thanksgiving to all South Dakotans. This season provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the blessings we've received this year. Like every year, I continue to be thankful for the love and support of my family, as well as the opportunity South Dakotans have given me to represent you in the United States Senate. It's an honor that I will never take for granted. And of course, none of us would be able to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday if not for the service an… Continue Reading


11.15.19

South Dakota Families Honored During National Adoption Month

The month of November is recognized as National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness of children in need of a permanent, loving home. Opening one's home to a child in need of a loving family and secure environment is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give. And as many adoptive families have told me, they too feel blessed to have their kids. The countless South Dakota families who have chosen adoption continue to be an inspiration to us all. Take the O'Connor family from Rapid City fo… Continue Reading


11.08.19

Supporting Veterans Every Day

In South Dakota, we support our veterans every day of the year, not just on Veterans Day. Veterans actually make up 10 percent of our state's population! Nearly all of us have a friend or family member who served, or you're a veteran yourself. The men and women whose sacrifice and bravery allows us to live freely are among the best of the best. We owe it to them to make sure they receive the benefits they were promised when they signed up to serve. I have the privilege of serving on the Senate … Continue Reading


11.01.19

Only U.S. Beef Should be Labeled as a “Product of the U.S.A.”

South Dakota and American cattle producers raise the best beef in the world. Many families specifically seek out these high-quality products when choosing what beef to purchase at the grocery store. However, some families may not realize that not all meat labeled "Product of the U.S.A." is actually beef from cattle raised within the United States. Current federal regulations include a loophole that allows beef from livestock born, raised and slaughtered in foreign countries to be labeled "Produc… Continue Reading


10.25.19

Pass the USMCA

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA) is the trade deal President Trump negotiated to replace and improve upon the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement-NAFTA. The three countries signed it nearly one year ago, but it has yet to be ratified by the U.S. Congress. This agreement would be beneficial not only for our national economy, but also the economy of our state which relies heavily on agriculture. Once the USMCA is finalized, it will create additional access for U.S. agricultura… Continue Reading


10.17.19

The Pheasant Opener is a South Dakota Tradition

The 2019 pheasant opener always takes place on the third Saturday of October. For the next several months, hunters will enjoy being out in the fields. With more than one million acres of public hunting land available, South Dakota is widely known as the pheasant capital of the world. Folks from all over travel here to participate in our great South Dakota tradition, and at the same time make a big impact on our local economy. According to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (… Continue Reading


10.11.19

Celebrating Native Americans’ Day in South Dakota

For 29 years, South Dakotans have celebrated Native Americans' Day instead of Columbus Day. The late Governor George Mickelson, along with the editor of the Native Sun News, Tim Giago, and tribal leaders, worked together to proclaim 1990 the Year of Reconciliation. The decision to change Columbus Day to Native Americans' Day was made during the Year of Reconciliation by the state legislature as a way to honor the deep history of the tribal people who have long called this land their home. Th… Continue Reading


10.03.19

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month takes place every October. It is a good opportunity to review our online security habits on both our personal devices and at work. We are more connected than ever, and while it is nice to have quick and easy access to the Internet, it also means we are putting more information into cyberspace that can be used against us by bad actors. The Department of Homeland Security has announced this year's Cybersecurity Awareness Month theme is "Own IT. Secure IT.… Continue Reading


09.27.19

Constitution Day a Reminder of Founding Fathers’ Vision for America

Each September, Americans celebrate Constitution Day. On Sept. 17, 1787, our Founding Fathers signed the U.S. Constitution, the most sacred document in our nation's history. The Constitution established the three branches of our government and still to this day protects the rights of each American citizen. In the Senate, I work to uphold the intent of the Constitution every day. As President Abraham Lincoln once said, "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, f… Continue Reading


09.19.19

Deb Bowman: A Genuine Public Servant

There's a difference between public servants and bureaucrats, and we have known or dealt with both. Our office spends an incredible amount of time and energy helping constituents bust through the federal bureaucracy and unfortunately, we often bump heads with federal bureaucrats. It is time-consuming and aggravating for constituents. After experiences like these, we unfortunately have a tendency to stereotype all government employees in that manner. Thankfully, that's not always the case. T… Continue Reading


09.13.19

A Busy Fall Season in the Senate

The Senate is back in session, which means we are traveling back to Washington for votes, committee hearings and meetings with constituents who visit the Capitol to advocate for their issues. In August we had our in-state work period, which gave me the opportunity to meet with many South Dakotans in communities across the state. We attended fairs, met with veterans, spoke to community groups, held a field hearing to address the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' management of the Missouri River and s… Continue Reading


09.06.19

Confirming Fair-minded Judges and Protecting the Independent Judiciary

Last month, I had the privilege of attending the investiture of Judge Jonathan Kobes, a newly-appointed U.S. Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Kobes, who previously worked as my general counsel, resides in Sioux Falls with his family. Judge Kobes has spent his career demonstrating his commitment to justice and the fair application of law. He is precisely the type of judge we have been committed to confirming in the Senate the past several years. I was proud to su… Continue Reading


08.30.19

Holding the Army Corps Accountable for its Management of the Missouri River

In the Senate, I have the opportunity to serve as Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight, which has the important responsibility of providing oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps of Engineers manages the Missouri River Basin Mainstem Reservoir System, which includes six dams and reservoirs in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. These six reservoirs have a combined maximum capacity of 7… Continue Reading

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