Weekly Column


Weekly Column: Staying Safe Online

The internet has become such an integral part of our daily lives that most of us take it for granted. It is where we go to read the news, pay our bills, socialize with others, do our shopping and conduct important business. Over the last 15 years, the number of internet users has risen across the world from about 360 million to more than 3 billion. While the World Wide Web has helped us stay connected with loved ones and become more efficient in our daily lives, we must be mindful of hacker… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Pope Francis' Inspiring Message

Washington, D.C., recently hosted Pope Francis during his first visit to the United States. Not just Catholics, but citizens across the country have been preparing for his much-anticipated trip to our capital city. Tens of thousands flocked to the city to attend a special Mass, catch a glimpse of the pope-mobile or watch the pope's address to Congress on the West Lawn of the Capitol. As lifelong members of the Catholic Church, it has been a truly special experience for Jean and me to participate… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Back to School

With September in full swing, students across the state are back in the classroom to begin a new school year. Making sure our kids receive a top-notch education is important to me as a former governor and state legislator, current U.S. Senator and most importantly, a grandfather to eight. The young people learning, growing and thriving in our schools today will be our next generation of engineers, economists, lawyers, doctors, business owners and community leaders. A strong education system will… Continue Reading


The President’s Nuclear Concession Deal

This month, as we pause to recognize the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 and 2012 Benghazi terror attacks and remember those we lost, we are reminded of the freedoms and values we hold dear as Americans. We are also reminded just how different our country is now than it was on September 10, 2001. The threats we face today pose the most complex and uncertain international environment for the U.S. since the end of World War II. The foreign policy decisions we make today will undoubtedly have… Continue Reading


Responsible Spending Starts with a Budget Process

With the elections far behind us and so many pressing issues before us - the Iran deal, the rise of ISIS and "lone wolf" terrorists, a national highway bill and cyber security - the need to address our budgetary crisis has fallen out of the limelight recently. But failing to make front-page news doesn't change the fact that our national debt has more than doubled in the last decade and irresponsible, reckless spending continues to threaten our economy and national security. When you elected me t… Continue Reading


Thanking our VSOs

In my first eight months working as a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, I'm beginning to learn just how complicated it can be for our veterans to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to obtain promised benefits and utilize the agency's wide range of services. While trying to navigate the VA and its benefits, there are a number of resources veterans can tap into for help. Veterans Service Officers, who are employed by counties and tribes in South Dakota, are but one g… Continue Reading


Angels in Adoption

Providing children with a loving home is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give. Strong families are an important pillar of society that help bring stability to communities and teach core values to future generations. Every child deserves the love and support that a family provides. I applaud those who are committed to strong and healthy families, especially those involved in adoption and foster care. That is why it is an honor to nominate Bethany Christian Services of Eastern and Western Sou… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Obama’s Clean Power Plan is Fundamentally Flawed

Earlier this summer, President Obama announced his so-called "Clean Power Plan" final rule, which requires states to cut greenhouse gas emissions nearly a third within 15 years. This sweeping new mandate requires states to completely rework their electric grid and dramatically reduce the amount of electricity they get from coal-fired plants. The result of which will be higher electricity rates for every single household and business in the country. Additionally, energy production will be reduced… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: The EPA’s Unfair ‘Sue and Settle’ Tactics

Too often, rather than writing and implementing regulations in an open and transparent process, environmental regulations are enacted as a result of citizen suits prompted by environmental activists. This practice is commonly known as "sue-and-settle." I recently chaired a Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee hearing to examine the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) sue-and-settle tactics and the impact they have on our economy and local… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: No Deal is Better Than a Bad Deal

Several weeks ago, President Obama submitted part of the nuclear agreement with Iran to Congress for review. The U.S. negotiators, including Secretary of State John Kerry, have not even seen the details of the side agreements reached between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran. I have been closely examining the proposal and asking important questions regarding specific details. Unfortunately, the more I learn about the President's agreement, the more concerned I am about the r… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Dodd-Frank: Five Years Later

We recently marked the five-year anniversary of the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act. At the time, supporters of Dodd-Frank said it would improve our economy and protect taxpayers from "too big to fail" financial institutions. Instead, our economy remains stuck in a rut and the law has plagued our country with burdensome new federal mandates. The 456 final rules enacted since the passage of Dodd-Frank have so far unleashed a bureaucratic nightmare, the cost of which is being handed down directly … Continue Reading


Weekly Column: The Importance of Education

A strong education system is vital to making certain our young people have the opportunity for a prosperous future. To accomplish that goal, I believe the federal government's role in education should be limited and well-defined. I'm pleased the Senate came together recently to pass the Every Child Achieves Act, or ECAA, a comprehensive, bipartisan overhaul of our education system that will improve the quality of education across the nation. The ECAA passed the Senate 81-17 and has been endorse… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: We Must Act Decisively to Defeat ISIL

Protecting our nation through a strong defense is a fundamental role of the federal government. We have the greatest military in the world, and it's an honor to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee to give them the support they need to continue to protect our nation. The House and Senate recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, which supports our troops and provides them with the tools necessary to successfully complete their missions. Yet, while Congr… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Supporting Science in South Dakota

While working as governor of South Dakota, securing the underground laboratory at the Homestake mine in Lead was one of our proudest accomplishments. Without the strong support of people across the entire state none of this would have happened. At that time, it was called the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, or DUSEL, and managed by the National Science Foundation. During a competitive process and with a generous gift of from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, the facility was … Continue Reading


Weekly Column: King v. Burwell Ruling Doesn't Change the Fact that the ACA is Fatally Flawed

On June 25, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) federal subsidies are legal. Ruling in the case of King v. Burwell in a 6-3 vote, the Court sided with the administration finding the subsidies 6.4 million people currently receive do not depend on where they live, under the president's health care law. With this ruling, the administration has dodged another bullet. The Supreme Court once again interpreted the law in a way that favors the adminis… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Summer in South Dakota

Now that summer is officially here, many of us are planning family vacations and weekend getaways. With so many unique events across South Dakota during the summer months, people of all walks of life can find something that interests them. Whether you're interested in fishing, kayaking, hiking, biking, boating, golfing or camping, just to name a few, you can do it here! Some of my favorite memories include weekends spent with family boating on the Missouri River or camping in the Black Hills. S… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Protecting our Troops by Reauthorizing NDAA

During the eight years I worked as governor of South Dakota, I had the honor of serving as the commander-in-chief of South Dakota's National Guard forces. My first term began in 2003, right at the start of the war in Iraq. I attended ceremonies for our military men and women as they deployed to active duty and welcomed them home upon their return. I ask that everyone continue to remember the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and did not return home. These brave men and women and … Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Protecting the 2nd Amendment

As an avid hunter and lifelong gun owner, I have always been a strong defender of the Second Amendment. We cherish our right to bear arms in South Dakota, where we have a strong outdoor heritage and lively economy based on sportsmen activity. This fundamental right is embedded in the Constitution and must be fiercely protected. That's why I'm greatly concerned about the Obama administration's latest attempt to circumvent congress and impose sweeping new gun restrictions on the American people. I… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Honoring Those We Lost

Memorial Day is a special time for us to remember all the brave men and women who died defending our nation on the battlefield. They paid the ultimate price to protect our freedoms. While they can never be repaid for their sacrifices, this weekend allows us to honor them posthumously. On Memorial Day, we remember who we have lost while serving this country. Their memory lives on through their families and friends and the legacies they leave behind, but it also lives on through the daily lives of… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Reliable, Affordable Energy

Last summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants. Self-titled the "Clean Power Plan," the rule would require power plants across the country to comply with costly new rules and regulations that would reduce energy production and raise electricity rates - with little environmental benefit. South Dakotans could see their electricity rates double due to the Clean Power Plan. For those of us who oppose higher taxes … Continue Reading

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