Weekly Column


Bringing South Dakota Values to a Broken Washington, D.C.

Let's be real - Washington D.C. is broken. If it were just you and me out there, we could figure this thing out pretty quickly with a little South Dakota common sense. But unfortunately, that's not the case. Washington is filled with un-elected lobbyists and bureaucrats who think they run the show. They don't. We the people do. It's time to take back what they've taken from us. And, only together, do we have a chance to break through the bureaucracy. For the past six years, I've been honor… Continue Reading


Impressive Indeed

"I'm really impressed." Words spoken about Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Words spoken by a surprising voice, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Like many Americans, I watched the confirmation hearings of Judge Barrett this past week. Senator Feinstein put to words what many of us were thinking. Judge Barrett is strong and confident. Her legal prowess was evident as she dissected with ease complicated doctrines like severability and could easily r… Continue Reading



HAU MITAKUYEPI, CANTE WASTE NAPE CIYUZAPELO (Hello my relatives, I greet you with warm heart and handshake). This year, South Dakotans are celebrating the 30th anniversary of recognizing the second Monday in October as Native Americans' Day. As a 30 year old who has never known the second Monday in October to be anything different, I'm honored to share my perspective and reflections on this meaningful day. I'm a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and a lifelong South Dakotan. I've … Continue Reading


Delivering the News

When I was a kid growing up, I was a paperboy who delivered the Minneapolis Star Tribune to homes around Pierre. Today, news is delivered a little differently than it was back then. While some still receive printed papers in their mailbox or on their front step, many have turned to getting their news online. But some things never change. In South Dakota, our local newspapers remain at the center of our communities. Each issue of one of South Dakota's 120 daily and weekly newspapers is packed… Continue Reading


History Repeats

In the Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes says "there's nothing new under the sun." That's been proven true time and time again. In 1937, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt attempted to "pack the court." During Roosevelt's first term in office, the Supreme Court struck down many of his New Deal proposals, deeming them as unconstitutional. After winning re-election, Roosevelt vowed to alter the court to try to shove through his agenda. He introduced legislation to increase the number of justices an… Continue Reading


Adult Supervision

I come from a big family - a good Catholic family! I'm the oldest of eleven kids - Mike, Mick (Michele), Doc (Dennis), Doug, Tim, Dan, Tom, Pat, Steve, Scott and Jamie. We grew up together in Pierre and no matter what we did, whether it was exploring the hills north of Pierre or wandering the neighborhood, we always made an adventure out of it. Being the oldest, my parents naturally expected me to use good judgement and to keep my siblings safe. I don't know if that meant adult supervision or ju… Continue Reading


Backing the Blue

Jacob Chestnut. John Gibson. They're not household names instantly recognizable. They were sons, husbands and fathers. They were two regular people, just like the rest of us, except they possessed a little bit more courage. Their stories weren't known until July 24, 1998. On that fateful day, a lone gunman walked into the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. He shot and killed the first person he encountered, Officer Chestnut, operating the X-Ray machine at an entrance. Quickly, the gunman then foun… Continue Reading



I'm not savvy with social media by today's standards. I'm pretty good with texting and emailing, but for the most part, I'm old fashioned and appreciate a face-to-face conversation or phone call. I'll admit - some of the social media platforms make my head spin. But, I do like Twitter because you're able to follow who you want and skip past most of the nonsense. This isn't a Twitter endorsement, by any means, it's just another place to find news in my opinion. If you're like me, the hashtag … Continue Reading


Feds Continue to Miss the Mark on Livestock Policy

I read a quote from my local sale barn operator Bryan Hanson, the other day: "You used to be able to survive on a 100 head operation; now you have to have a full-time job and run 100 cows." Anyone that knows Bryan or has read his market report knows that he doesn't pull punches. I've known his dad, Dennis, for many years, and I've enjoyed that same no-nonsense style from him as well. But I'd take Bryan's statement one step further - I'd actually contend that without another full time job, yo… Continue Reading


November Election Conversation with South Dakota’s Secretary of State

I chair the Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee. In that role, we've worked extensively on election security. It's well documented that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election by using a misinformation campaign on social media and they attempted to hack into at least 21 of our state election systems. Fortunately, Russia was not successful in changing the 2016 outcome. The 2018 midterm elections were free from outside interference-that was no accident. The 2018 e… Continue Reading


South Dakotans are Bolstering the American Food Supply Chain

During the month of August, Congress traditionally takes an extended break from Washington to spend time at home to hear firsthand from their constituents, and this year is no different. It's an opportunity for me to travel the state and hear directly from you about the issues you care about. While this year looks a little different - with many events like Dakotafest, county fairs and concerts being canceled, and others being held virtually- I've enjoyed the opportunity to visit with a number of… Continue Reading


Rounds Weekly Column: Letter to Students, Parents and Teachers

Dear Students, Parents and Teachers: The longest summer break you will ever experience is almost over. Life has been different for all of us since COVID-19 hit our communities in March. Kids moved from learning in classrooms to learning online from home. Winter sports abruptly came to an end and spring sports seasons were canceled entirely. Graduation ceremonies looked a little different. But we are all weathering the storm together. In South Dakota, we've used common sense to fight this virus… Continue Reading


When it Comes to the Election, States Should Use South Dakota Common Sense

With fewer than 90 days left until the November election, voters are considering how best to cast their ballot in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We won't be moving the date of our election - it will be November 3 as scheduled - but logistics may be different. Absentee voting has become a popular choice this year since you can avoid crowded polling places. Normally, I vote in person at my polling location, but for this year's primary election I actually voted absentee. South Dakota has a saf… Continue Reading


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

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