Weekly Column


A South Dakota Christmas

Each year around the holidays, Jean and I like to reflect upon all of our blessings. We are incredibly grateful for our family and friends, our good health and the fact that we get to call South Dakota home. We are looking forward to spending Christmas with our loved ones, including my dad Grandpa Don and his wife Rosemary, Jean's parents, our four kids, their spouses, our eight grandkids and all of our extended family members. For as long as I can remember, our family has always gathered toget… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Investing in Infrastructure is an Investment in the Future

In 2017, with a new president in office and a reinvigorated Congress eager to get to work, finding ways to help grow our economy will be a top priority in Washington. For the first time in nearly a decade, we will have an executive branch willing to work with us to reform the tax code and undo many of the burdensome regulations that are preventing job creators from expanding their businesses. Additionally, we will have a president in office who has committed to investing in infrastructure across… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: The Need for a Strong Military

The number one responsibility of the federal government is to provide for the defense of our country. One way we do that is by passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) each year. The NDAA, which has passed the Senate every year for more than 55 years, is a vital piece of legislation that shows our service members and their families that they have the full backing of Congress. I am pleased that the NDAA for fiscal year 2017 passed the Senate with overwhelming support and now heads to… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: The Electoral College a Vital Piece of our Constitution

The Electoral College was one of the most innovative concepts created by our Founding Fathers when they were setting up our young republic. Embedded in our Constitution, the Electoral College is the system for electing our president through a slate of 'electors' in each state, rather than by direct popular vote. It was carefully crafted to satisfy smaller states' desire for greater representation while balancing popular sovereignty with our Founders' fear of the tyranny of the majority. To win t… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Getting our Country Back on Track

As we look forward to the start of a new year, Congress and the new president will have a number of agenda items to start working on to get our country back on track. Along with executive overreach and regulatory reform, finding a solution to our nation's fiscal crisis is one of the more important issues to address. With our debt spiraling out of control at more than $19 trillion, it's clear that federal spending at current levels is unsustainable. According to a report from the nonpartisan Cong… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Plenty to be Thankful for This Year

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season for many of us, and it's a special time of year where we show gratitude for all the blessings in our lives. I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve the people of South Dakota in the U.S. Senate, and for the love and support of my family as I do this job. I'm also thankful for our men and women in uniform, many of whom may be far away from their friends and families for the holidays. This Veterans Day, I attended activation ceremonies… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Obama's Failed Foreign Policy Legacy

Since President Obama took office nearly eight years ago, the world has changed considerably. During his time in office, ISIL rose to prominence due to the administration's determination to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq. Iran has ascended as a regional destabilizing power, and it remains on a path to acquire nuclear weapons. The U.S. effort to combat the Taliban in Afghanistan faces potential under-resourcing. Russia has increased its nuclear arsenal and continues its aggression against Ukr… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Thanking our Veterans

Each year on November 11, we recognize the service made by our country's veterans. The date is meaningful, as November 11, 1918 is the day World War I finally came to an end and November 11 became a holiday called Armistice Day. In 1954, the 11th day of November became a legal holiday, reminding Americans to honor all veterans. This year, we commemorate the day by thanking the generations of South Dakotans who have answered the call to serve. South Dakota has one of the highest rates of militar… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: The (Un)Affordable Care Act

The skyrocketing cost of healthcare has made the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unaffordable for many Americans. The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that in 2017, premiums will rise an average of 25 percent for those covered on plans under the ACA. South Dakotans have it even worse: those of us covered under the ACA will see insurance rates increase by nearly 37 percent, according to Congress' Joint Economic Committee. The ACA was intended to provide all Americans with qua… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

The Internet is a platform on which many of us live our daily lives. Some of us share personal thoughts and photos on social media, we send emails to communicate with our families, colleagues and friends, and we even manage our bank accounts and financial transactions online. Some of us put our credit card information, home addresses, passwords and even social security numbers online. While technology has made our lives easier and more convenient, it also poses a serious threat as hackers increa… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Hunting Pheasants in South Dakota

Across the country, the month of October is a time to carve pumpkins and watch the leaves change color. While I enjoy participating in these activities with my family, for us, the highlight of the month has always been the opening weekend of the pheasant hunting season. I have lived most of my life in central South Dakota, which is home to some of the best pheasant habitat in the country. Huron, where I was born, actually bears the nickname "Ringneck Nation." For our family and for many familie… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: National Newspaper Week

Local newspapers are the beating heart of our communities. Along with the local coffee shop, they're often the best way to learn about the local news or receive an update on the latest sporting events. Today, there are more than 120 newspapers throughout South Dakota, with circulations running from just a few hundred to tens of thousands for the Sunday edition. The 76th Annual National Newspaper Week was celebrated October 2nd through the 8th to recognize the impact of newspapers big and small, … Continue Reading


Weekly Column: A Better Way to Decide How Congress Spends Your Tax Dollars

Determining how the federal government spends your taxpayer dollars is an important responsibility. Congress, in conjunction with the president, is tasked with deciding how to fund federal programs and various agencies through careful debate and consideration. Unfortunately, that is not happening today. Instead of thoughtful debate, too often in recent years Congress has passed spending bills that largely maintain the status quo and fail to bring about any meaningful discussions about whether fe… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Undoing Historical Wrongs to Our Native American Citizens

Imagine a scenario today in which the federal government, with no due process, forcibly removes children of a specific race from their homes and places them into a boarding school more than a thousand miles away from their family and friends. Or imagine the outcry if the federal government were to subject a certain race of citizens into forced labor as a condition of receiving benefits he or she has a treaty obligation to receive. Such patronizing superiority would not be tolerated in today's so… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Defending the United States

When I was working as governor of South Dakota, one of the most difficult parts of my job was sending off our men and women in uniform as they deployed overseas. I promised them I would do everything I could to make sure they came home safe and sound, and to take care of their families while they were gone. Working in the Senate now, the defense of our country and support for our troops are still two of my top priorities. As I've said many times, the most important responsibility of the federal … Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Cost of Regulations Impacts South Dakota Landowners

As Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight, my job is to oversee federal agencies that promulgate some of the most egregious and harmful regulations. With more than 1 million regulations on the books today and a president who has issued more regulations than any previous administration, our subcommittee has highlighted the impact these regulations are having on everyday Americans. Recently, I chaired a field hearin… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Enriching Your Education

When our four kids were growing up, the last days of summer were always bittersweet. They marked the end of the boating and camping season, but they also meant that a new school year was about to begin. No matter what age our kids were, they'd always get excited to compare class schedules with their friends or go to that first football game of the season. Making sure all kids get a great education in South Dakota has always been important to me-as a dad, a governor, a senator and now a grandfath… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Protecting South Dakotans From Zika

Many of us spend extra time outdoors during the summer months - working in the field, making improvements to our homes or enjoying the many recreational activities our state has to offer. While we enjoy this extra time outside, we also take extra precautions to protect ourselves and our families from mosquitos, whose bites can come with unwanted harm. The most recent mosquito-borne threat to our health is the Zika virus. The Zika virus is spread when an individual is bitten by an infected speci… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Celebrating 100 Years of National Parks

In South Dakota, we celebrate the great outdoors. Often called the land of "Great Faces and Great Places," South Dakota's differing landscapes and abundance of outdoor activities mean there is something for everyone to enjoy-any time of year. Spending time outside with our family and friends when the weather cooperates is one of our favorite pastimes. We go camping and fishing at Lake Oahe and take the grandkids tubing on the Missouri. We love visiting the Black Hills and exploring all that West… Continue Reading


Aviation Connects South Dakotans to the World

National Aviation Day is observed annually on August 19th to celebrate the history and promote the development of aviation. It coincides with the birthday of Orville Wright who, along with his brother Wilbur, pioneered powered flight more than 100 years ago. I took an early interest in aviation, receiving my pilot's license at the age of 17. Today, aviation allows us to travel more frequently and with relative ease to all corners of the world. As a large, rural state with a sparse population, m… Continue Reading

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