Weekly Column

05.29.20

Coming Back Stronger

For the past few months, South Dakotans have done a good job of distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Compared to other states, we have a very low number of cases and some of our counties have no cases at all. More and more businesses are opening their doors, and in most cases they are following safety guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Folks are ready to get back to work. Maintaining health and safety guidelines will allow more people to return to work faster,… Continue Reading


05.22.20

COVID-19 Bill Provides Temporary Economic Relief While States Prepare to Safely Reopen

When the Senate passed emergency COVID-19 relief legislation-called the CARES Act-in late March, our country was experiencing the early stages of the pandemic. Businesses were closing to the public, people began to stay home and our economy took a nosedive. The CARES Act provided direct financial assistance to businesses, individuals and families to lessen the impact on the economy, so that when our country reopens, our economy will be able to bounce back more quickly. After the president signe… Continue Reading


05.15.20

Standing Up for South Dakota’s Livestock Producers

South Dakota's number one industry is agriculture, and for years, farmers and ranchers have been dealing with difficulties including trade uncertainty, low commodity prices and price disparities between what they receive versus what the consumer pays at the grocery store for the product. These issues have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 outbreaks at processing plants have forced them to shut down temporarily, resulting in fewer facilities available for producers to process th… Continue Reading


05.08.20

China Must be Held Accountable for Spread of COVID-19

As our entire lives continue to be disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, many South Dakotans are increasingly frustrated by the impact it's having on our businesses, our jobs, our children and our social lives. While we continue to do our part to flatten the curve and deal with the immediate health crisis, many are also asking how the COVID-19 virus spread in the first place and whether it could have been prevented. To answer this, we first look to the origin of the virus. Overwhelming eviden… Continue Reading


05.01.20

Keeping Food Supply Chain Running during COVID-19 Pandemic is Critical

Maintaining a steady, stable supply of food at the grocery stores is an important part of our nation's supply chain that can be easy to take for granted. Because agriculture is South Dakota's number one industry, we are more closely aware of some of the struggles in the food supply chain - particularly for our farmers and ranchers - that can occur. The past several years of low commodity prices, trade disputes and market disparity are prime examples. Despite this, most of us do not question ther… Continue Reading


04.24.20

More Relief on its way for South Dakota Businesses

We're now in the end of April and COVID-19 is continuing to impact our daily lives. Around two thousand cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in South Dakota, and social distancing continues throughout the state. While we hope the end of this period of uncertainty is coming soon, Congress continues to pass legislation to address the crisis and provide much-needed relief. Recently, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law a $480 billion dollar package that provides more funding f… Continue Reading


04.17.20

Working to Answer Your COVID-19 Healthcare Questions

As COVID-19 continues to spread in our state and across the country, South Dakotans are reaching out to my office for answers about how this virus will impact the economy and their businesses, and also how they can protect their health. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is continually putting out new guidance on their COVID-19 website with tips on how to protect against getting the virus, and what to do if you suspect you may have it. The CDC is a great resource, and I encourage folks to che… Continue Reading


04.09.20

Celebrating Easter Differently During the Coronavirus Crisis

Each spring, Christians around the world celebrate Easter. Easter Sunday marks the end of Lent and is the day that Jesus was resurrected from the dead three days after his crucifixion. Christians look upon Easter as one of the holiest days of the year. Through Jesus' death and resurrection, we are granted the gift of eternal life. My family is Catholic, and celebrating Easter together has long been a tradition. This year, because of the social distancing required to limit the spread of the coron… Continue Reading


04.03.20

How to Access COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 is impacting every South Dakotan right now. On top of worrying about the health and safety of our loved ones and ourselves, many people in our state have been put in a difficult financial position due to the virus. We're facing a highly unusual situation where many businesses have had to close in order to protect the health of our citizens. To help keep our economy going, Congress passed-and the president signed into law--the CARES Act, a nearly $2 trillion relief bill. It includes reso… Continue Reading


03.27.20

COVID-19 Relief Available for South Dakota Families and Businesses

COVID-19 is impacting every American. Schools have closed, public events are canceled and many businesses are asking employees to work from home for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, medical providers have been working around the clock, sometimes with limited resources and equipment, to help patients during their time of need. We are so grateful to them, and to all essential service employees who continue to go into work during these uncertain times to help their communities. I've just retu… Continue Reading


03.20.20

Tele-Health Services Can Help During COVID-19 Crisis

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, many are concerned about access to healthcare. Fortunately, tele-health services have become more common and are especially helpful for people living in rural areas, where a clinic or hospital may be many miles away. As we seek to limit the COVID-19 outbreak by encouraging keeping your distance from others, video chats or phones calls with medical professionals have become easy and helpful ways to receive care, all from the comfort of our homes. … Continue Reading


03.12.20

Ten Years of Obamacare

This month marks the ten-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act-or Obamacare-being signed into law. Obamacare dramatically changed the healthcare landscape across the United States, and not in a good way. Over the past decade, Obamacare has led to higher premiums, fewer healthcare choices and millions of Americans losing the health insurance they enjoyed. We believe in giving all Americans access to affordable, reliable health care coverage that put patients in control of their healthcare d… Continue Reading


03.05.20

Protecting Your Health During Coronavirus Outbreak

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the world, we should take precautions to stay healthy. Coronaviruses are a family of many different viruses. The strain of the coronavirus that we're currently concerned about is officially named SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes is called COVID-19. As of March 5, South Dakota has no confirmed cases of COVID-19. However, it is still important to be prepared. The administration is taking steps to make sure our country is ready to handle a greater … Continue Reading


02.27.20

Thank you for Your Prayers and Support

The past ten months have been the hardest challenge we've faced as a family, and that I have faced personally. In May of 2019, I was diagnosed with a malignant, high-grade, aggressive tumor near my sciatic nerve-a sarcoma. Prior to the diagnosis, I had been experiencing a lot of pain and was visiting the doctor frequently. We knew something was going on but weren't sure what exactly we were dealing with. After we got the diagnosis, Mike and I sat our kids down and told them about the sarcoma. We… Continue Reading


02.21.20

Maintaining the Integrity of Our Election Process

Our system of government in the United States is founded on free and fair elections. With the 2020 election already underway, protecting the integrity of our election process remains a priority of mine. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee, I've worked to make certain the Department of Defense (DOD) can fulfill its role for election security. While I've been working with senior DOD officials, the responsibility to keep our elections secure crosses many agencies… Continue Reading


02.14.20

Improving Life in Rural America

The majority of South Dakota is rural. We're a large state with a small population-we average just under 11 people per square mile. Comparatively, New York's population density is nearly 40 times that, with approximately 421 people living per square mile. In New York City, the population jumps to more than 26,000 people per square mile. As Americans, we celebrate our country's diversity and differences. But it also means we have unique challenges in different parts of the country. Rural and urba… Continue Reading


02.05.20

With Impeachment Behind Us, It’s Time to get Back to Work for South Dakotans

The Senate recently voted to acquit the president of the two Articles of Impeachment sent to us by the House of Representatives, falling 19 and 20 votes short of the 67 needed to remove him from office. I voted against the articles of impeachment, in keeping with the constitutional intent our framers expected. Throughout the process, I listened carefully as the House Managers and the president's defense team made their cases to the Senate, taking over 130 pages of notes over the course of th… Continue Reading


01.30.20

Working for South Dakotans

While the Senate is conducting the impeachment trial, we are unable to hold votes on the full Senate floor without agreement of all 100 senators. So all other Senate business has virtually come to a halt. Important nominations are not being confirmed and legislation is not being considered that could benefit South Dakota families. While this is frustrating to many of us, we are still able to get some work done while we're not in the trial. Most days, the trial has started at 1:00 p.m., allowing … Continue Reading


01.24.20

The Sanctity of Human Life

Right now in the Senate, we are spending many hours each day listening to arguments about the impeachment of President Trump. It's a historic time in our country. Once the trial is finished, I plan to write a weekly column sharing my thoughts on the impeachment process. It's a responsibility I take very seriously. The impeachment trial begins every day (except Sundays) at 1 p.m., so I have had some time in the mornings to focus on my other Senate duties. This includes meeting with South Dakotans… Continue Reading


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

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