Weekly Column: Shaking Up the Status Quo in Washington

When you elected me as your United States Senator, you sent me to Washington to shake up the status quo and fix the mess we’ve been dealing with for years: the Obamacare disaster, our ballooning debt, overregulation and tax reform. In the two-and-a-half years I’ve been in office, these are the issues I’ve focused on. While some progress has been made, there is much more work to be done to get us back on track. That’s why I was happy about the recent announcement that the Senate will be cutting short the August in-state work period to spend more time working in Washington so we can make further progress on these important issues.


I was part of a group of Republican senators who sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the end of June, requesting that rather than spending the whole month of August away from Washington, we remain in D.C. for a few weeks longer to get our work done. The fiscal year ends on September 30, and we still need to pass a budget to fund the government. We’ve been working every day on an agreement to repeal and replace Obamacare, and tax reform is a major priority that we’d like to accomplish before the end of the year. For these reasons, we found it necessary to request that we remain in Washington longer than planned and keep working on these issues that, once passed, will greatly benefit South Dakota families. I support Leader McConnell’s decision, and I’m eager to roll up my sleeves and work with my colleagues to get much-needed results.


Meanwhile, I continue to get home to South Dakota nearly every weekend and get input from folks on the issues we’re working on. During the Fourth of July in-state work period, I appreciated the chance to meet people at parades, pow-wows and coffees. The one thing nearly everyone continues to tell me when I’m traveling across the state is that they want to see results, not rhetoric. Nobody wants the status quo to continue on.


We expect to be back in South Dakota for our in-state work period starting mid-August, and until then I will continue returning home on weekends to speak with South Dakotans about their concerns. We will also continue holding tele-townhalls so that I can hear from you firsthand even when my work requires me to remain in Washington. Tele-townhalls are open to all South Dakotans, and folks can call in to ask me any questions they may have. We’ll be distributing call-in information through our website, Facebook page and via our e-newsletter, the Rounds Report, which South Dakotans can subscribe to from my website, www.rounds.senate.gov. Additionally, folks are encouraged to call, email or stop by our offices in South Dakota or Washington. We go to great lengths to make ourselves available to answer questions and hear about the issues that are most important to you.


Getting real, positive results for the people of South Dakota remains my top priority. I’m happy that my colleagues agree that we need to be spending more time on issues like repealing and replacing Obamacare, reforming the tax code and passing a responsible budget. Families in South Dakota and across the country deserve better than a broken government, and this is one small step we can take toward fixing the problems in Washington.