Weekly Column


South Dakota: Small World, Big Family

South Dakota is a special place. We all know that. It's where we choose to live, work and raise our kids. It's where we call home and are surrounded by the people we love, our family. Last week, I was out in the Black Hills visiting with folks. On my way home to Fort Pierre, I stopped in Philip, as I often do, to grab coffee and see a few familiar faces. Near the end of our visit, I was stopped by a lady who asked, "You're that Rounds guy, aren't ya?" I said, "Yes, I'm Mike." She told me her n… Continue Reading


Making Sure the U.S. Military Remains the Best in the World

This year marks the 60th consecutive year that the U.S. Senate has passed a bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act-or NDAA. The NDAA is one of the most important pieces of legislation we pass each year, as it authorizes funding for the Department of Defense. The bill we recently passed authorizes funding to support our armed forces and their families throughout fiscal year 2021. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chairman of that committee's Cybersecurity Subcommittee,… Continue Reading


Senate to Focus on Families, Economy in Next COVID-19 Bill

When the Senate goes back into session the week of July 20, one of the proposals we'll be working on is a "phase four" coronavirus relief package. The last coronavirus relief bill we passed back in March-the CARES Act-included funding for the Paycheck Protection Program which helped many businesses in South Dakota stay open during the pandemic. It also included direct funding for families and individuals which was intended to help keep our economy going. It's never easy to vote for such a big pi… Continue Reading


Half-Time Pep Talk

The year 2020 is only half written, but already it's one for the history books. Everyone, whether 8 or 78, will remember this year as one unlike any other. While it is very common to set resolutions and goals on New Year's Day, this year is unique enough to deserve a half-time review, and possibly even a little pep talk. Farmers probably always subconsciously perform a half-time transition in July. You put away the planter and fertilizer while you tune up the combines. The old, outdated say… Continue Reading


Ready Reserve Corps Reestablished to Help During Health Care Emergencies

As we enter into the summer and continue working to get our economy back on track, COVID-19 continues to impact our country. Addressing growing public health needs has become a priority for the federal government over the past several months. We continue to be incredibly grateful to the healthcare workers who have been on the front lines throughout this pandemic-they are doing a critically important job. In order to make sure vital health care jobs remain staffed during times of crisis, we work… Continue Reading


On America’s Birthday, We Celebrate the Incredible, Flawed Men and Women who Shaped It

I'll never forget the first time we brought our youngest son, Johnny, to see Mt. Rushmore. He was two at the time, and we were on a family road trip. We pulled up to Mt. Rushmore in the evening, after a long day of driving. As we walked up the hill, the older siblings were enthralled at the great faces ahead of them. Johnny, on the other hand, seemed happy just to be out of the car, and unhappy everyone was focused on Mt. Rushmore instead of him. When we finally got to the top, Johnny stopp… Continue Reading


Upholding a Fair, Unbiased Judicial System

A fair and independent judiciary is a cornerstone of our democracy. Filling vacancies in our nation's courts with men and women who apply the law as written, rather than based on their own political ideologies, has been a priority in the Senate. According to the Constitution, it's the role of the president to nominate individuals to the federal bench, and the Senate has the role of "advice and consent." After a thorough confirmation process, the Senate votes to confirm the nomination. The Senate… Continue Reading


Strengthening our Armed Forces

The United States military is the best in the world. Our all-volunteer force is made up of men and women from different backgrounds and different states, but what they all have in common is a love of country and a desire to serve. We are eternally grateful to them-and their families-for the incredible sacrifices they make to protect our freedoms. One way we can show our thanks is by making sure they have the tools and resources necessary to do their job. In Congress, we do this by passing a Nati… Continue Reading


Standing Together

Like many Americans, I am saddened and angered by the death of George Floyd. Watching the video displaying such reckless, unwarranted brutality at the hands of law enforcement made me sick to my stomach. Those responsible for his death should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As a nation, we stand together in opposition to the violent killing of George Floyd. When crimes like this occur, it is important that we continue to speak out against them. Over the past few weeks, countl… Continue Reading


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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