Weekly Column


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Great Faces, Great Places

We are very fortunate to call South Dakota home. We live in a beautiful, diverse state with an interesting history. We welcome visitors from all over the U.S. and the world, but South Dakota also offers new experiences to those who have lived here their whole lives. Some of my favorite memories with my family include camping trips to the Black Hills and boating on the Missouri River. Jean and I always try to take a few days each summer to drive through the Black Hills. With my busy schedule… Continue Reading


Helping South Dakotans Navigate the Federal Bureaucracy

While I spend much of my time working on legislation, attending committee hearings and voting on the Senate floor, a lesser known but equally as important role of my job is helping South Dakotans when they're having problems with a federal agency. Congressional offices refer to this as "casework," and it's actually the main focus in my state offices, located in Aberdeen, Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City. My staff members who work in these offices are specially trained to act as liaisons betwee… Continue Reading


Rapid City Family’s Adoption Story an Inspiration to Us All

Raising a family has been the greatest privilege of my life. Jean and I have been blessed with four children and ten grandchildren who all live near our home in Fort Pierre. Providing a loving home where kids can grow up, learn values and feel safe is one of the most important jobs we as parents have to prepare them for their futures. Every child deserves the love and support that a family provides. As any parent knows, raising kids is both the most rewarding and toughest job in the world. T… Continue Reading


Bipartisan Budget Agreement Strengthens the Military and Supports Veterans

The Senate recently passed the Bipartisan Budget Agreement that was negotiated by President Trump and Congressional Leadership. I supported this legislation because it prioritizes spending for the military and for our veterans while simultaneously avoiding a default on our debt, taking steps to avoid an unnecessary and costly shutdown and ending the threat of sequestration for two years. The negotiators agreed that no "poison-pill" policy riders-partisan amendments offered by legislators that co… Continue Reading


Time for Congress to Pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement

When President Trump was elected, he promised to fight for American workers by putting into place strong, fair trade deals. He has worked hard to deliver on that promise. Like many South Dakotans, I support the president's goal of strengthening our trade deals to make certain we are on a level playing field. South Dakota's producers and manufacturers can compete with anyone in the world given a fair opportunity. Trade has become such a hot topic in our state because of our large agriculture … Continue Reading

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