Weekly Column


Tax Fairness in South Dakota

This summer, the Supreme Court issued a decision to allow states to collect and remit sales tax from online retailers, like Amazon or eBay, which may not have a physical brick-and-mortar store in the state. South Dakota led the effort in the Supreme Court case South Dakota v. Wayfair. By opening the door for states to collect online sales taxes, South Dakota and local governments can widen the tax base and allow for more tax competition, so that we can foster economic growth by keeping our rate… Continue Reading


South Dakota Family Honored for Work Assisting Families Interested in Adoption

Countless children around the world and in the U.S. are in need of safe, permanent homes and the love and support of a family. Providing a child with a loving home is truly one of the greatest gifts anyone can give. I am a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children waiting to be adopted around the world. Each year, CCAI invites Members of Congress to nominate an outstanding fa… Continue Reading


Kavanaugh Eminently Qualified to be Supreme Court Justice

Earlier this summer, President Trump nominated U.S. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh will replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who recently retired from the court after 30 years. President Trump made an excellent decision when he picked Judge Kavanaugh as the nominee. After watching his Judiciary Committee hearing, studying his judicial philosophy and meeting with him in person, it's clear that he is eminently qualifie… Continue Reading


Affordable Energy for South Dakota

In South Dakota, we have scorching hot summers and frigid winters. This means we require reliable, affordable energy to keep our homes and businesses at a comfortable temperature year-round. Thanks to the Missouri River, South Dakota produces and uses a significant amount of renewable hydroelectric power. We are also one of the largest wind power resources in the nation. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, wind power provided around 30 percent of our total net electricity ge… Continue Reading


A New School Year Begins for South Dakota Students

Across South Dakota, students and educators are gearing up for a new school year. While Jean and I no longer have school-age kids, we enjoy seeing how excited our grandkids are for their first day of school. Making sure students get a quality education is very important to me. What they learn in school now can set them up for success for years to come. Teachers, administrators and all other school staff members play an integral role in student success. Their dedication to our young people can m… Continue Reading


Protecting the Integrity of U.S. Elections

Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of our republic. With the 2018 midterm election less than three months away, making certain the integrity of our voting system remains intact is a top priority. When Americans cast their votes in an election, they are exercising their right to make their voice heard. Many of our young men and women in uniform fight every day to protect our ability to choose our own leaders safely and freely. Assuring American citizens that their voice will be heard when … Continue Reading


South Dakota Ag Community: Stability is Crucial as we do our Part to Feed and Fuel the World

In South Dakota and across the Midwest, harvest time is nearly upon us. Farmers are preparing to market their crop, and for many of them prices remain low. Low commodity prices and trade instability are having an impact on the ag industry in our state. Livestock producers are feeling the impact of tariffs as they work to market their products. To hear more about the issues farmers and ranchers are facing right now, I recently held an ag roundtable in Sioux Falls. We invited more than 20 ag leade… Continue Reading


EPA Must Live up to its Promise to Provide Certainty to Farmers

I recently had the opportunity to question Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler about a number of issues important to our farming community. Particularly, I am concerned about recent action the EPA has taken related to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the impact those actions could have on our corn and ethanol producers. Passed in 2005 and expanded in 2007, the RFS is one of the most significant actions the federal government has taken on behalf of rura… Continue Reading


A New Direction at the VA

We are fortunate to live in the United States, where our men and women in uniform sacrifice so much to defend our liberty. We owe our servicemembers and veterans a debt of gratitude that we can never fully repay. However, one thing we can do is uphold the promises our nation has made to them over the last several generations, and we can do that by making improvements and changes within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The Senate recently confirmed Robert Wilkie to be the VA Secretary… Continue Reading


Economy is Improving, but Trade Instability Must be Addressed

Across the country, Americans are experiencing the benefits that come from a healthy, growing economy. In just the month of June, 213,000 new jobs were created and more than 600,000 people re-entered the work force. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law, nearly 1.3 million jobs have been created. This growth is due in large part to policies enacted by the current Congress and the Trump Administration. In addition to strong job numbers, retail sales have increased for the fifth con… Continue Reading


Another Historic Opportunity to Shape the Direction of our Country

In June, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the United States Supreme Court after 30 years. While we thank him for his years of service and dedication to our legal system, his announcement provides an important vacancy on our nation's highest court. Confirming a president's nominees to lifetime appointments to the federal bench is one of the most important jobs of the U.S. Senate. The decisions they make have lasting effects on the direction of our country for a generation or … Continue Reading


Army Corps Sees Firsthand our Concerns about Missouri River Management

With summer in full swing, many South Dakotans have been taking advantage of the warm weather with some R&R along the Missouri. Jean and I have enjoyed spending time on the river with the kids and grandkids. However, I continue to be concerned about the Army Corps of Engineers' management of the river. With recent near-record rainfall in parts of the state and reports of significant flooding along the Missouri River System both north and south of us, many of us throughout the state continue … Continue Reading


Celebrating our Independence

Every year on the 4th of July, Americans join together to celebrate our independence. At that time in 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, breaking free from British rule and forming a new republic. In South Dakota, every town has their own celebration to mark this historic day. In Fort Pierre, where Jean and I live, there is a parade in the morning and a rodeo at night, followed by a spectacular fireworks show over the Missouri River. Across the state… Continue Reading


Taking Steps to Address our Broken Appropriations Process

Since coming to the Senate three-and-a-half years ago, fixing our broken appropriations system has been at the top of my priority list. South Dakotans have heard me talk about the fiscal problems our country is facing many times over the years. As I've said, one way to address our growing problem is to vote on appropriation bills each year instead of pushing through a two thousand page omnibus bill at the last minute. Getting back to 'regular order,' where we debate appropriation bills individu… Continue Reading


Protecting States’ Rights to Water

For many South Dakotans, the Missouri River is a constant in our lives. We have driven past it countless times, fished its waters and boated on it with our friends and families. It has also historically been a major water source for state and municipal projects. However, a U.S. Army Corps' of Engineers proposed rule, estimated to be finalized as early as this fall, would limit states' rights to the natural flow of water through river systems. The proposed rule, published during the previous … Continue Reading


Father's Day Lessons From Dads

Father's Day gives us a chance to celebrate dads and thank them for everything they do for their families. As any dad can attest, raising our four kids was both the hardest and most rewarding job I've ever had. Jean and I are incredibly proud of our kids, and we've enjoyed watching them grow and start families of their own. We look forward to spending time with them this Father's Day, however this year it will look a little different. This is the first Father's Day without my dad, Grandpa Don, … Continue Reading


Updating South Dakota’s Water Infrastructure

Fresh water is one of our most precious natural resources. We rely on it for everything from powering our homes and businesses, to drinking, showering and washing our cars, to boating, fishing and other recreation. In South Dakota, we also rely on the Missouri River to generate hydroelectricity, run our irrigation systems and more. I serve on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), which has jurisdiction over America's water infrastructure. When we think of the word "infr… Continue Reading


U.S. Economy is Improving Thanks to Pro-Growth Policies

The United States economy is looking up, thanks to the pro-growth policies implemented by the current administration and this congress. Since President Trump took office, 3 million new jobs have been created. Nearly 800,000 jobs have been created just since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted in January. Our economy is growing at a faster rate than previously expected. Prior to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the U.… Continue Reading


Showing Gratitude to South Dakota’s Veterans and Servicemembers

Each year on Memorial Day, we honor the lives of the men and women who bravely served our country and paid the ultimate price. We can never repay them for the sacrifice they made to defend the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. We can, however, work to improve the quality of life for veterans and provide our armed forces with the resources they need to be in the strongest position possible. I serve on both the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee. We have rece… Continue Reading


Opening New Markets for South Dakota Producers

Agriculture is the economic engine for many communities across the upper Great Plains. Farmers and ranchers play a critical role in feeding and fueling a growing global population, and also in our national security strategy. When we can produce affordable, nutritious food here at home, we don't have to rely on other countries to obtain it. However, ag income has been in decline over the past five years, in part due to low commodity prices. I recently introduced a bipartisan bill with Senator Ang… Continue Reading

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