Weekly Column


The Pheasant Opener is a South Dakota Tradition

The 2019 pheasant opener always takes place on the third Saturday of October. For the next several months, hunters will enjoy being out in the fields. With more than one million acres of public hunting land available, South Dakota is widely known as the pheasant capital of the world. Folks from all over travel here to participate in our great South Dakota tradition, and at the same time make a big impact on our local economy. According to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (… Continue Reading


Celebrating Native Americans’ Day in South Dakota

For 29 years, South Dakotans have celebrated Native Americans' Day instead of Columbus Day. The late Governor George Mickelson, along with the editor of the Native Sun News, Tim Giago, and tribal leaders, worked together to proclaim 1990 the Year of Reconciliation. The decision to change Columbus Day to Native Americans' Day was made during the Year of Reconciliation by the state legislature as a way to honor the deep history of the tribal people who have long called this land their home. Th… Continue Reading


October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month takes place every October. It is a good opportunity to review our online security habits on both our personal devices and at work. We are more connected than ever, and while it is nice to have quick and easy access to the Internet, it also means we are putting more information into cyberspace that can be used against us by bad actors. The Department of Homeland Security has announced this year's Cybersecurity Awareness Month theme is "Own IT. Secure IT.… Continue Reading


Constitution Day a Reminder of Founding Fathers’ Vision for America

Each September, Americans celebrate Constitution Day. On Sept. 17, 1787, our Founding Fathers signed the U.S. Constitution, the most sacred document in our nation's history. The Constitution established the three branches of our government and still to this day protects the rights of each American citizen. In the Senate, I work to uphold the intent of the Constitution every day. As President Abraham Lincoln once said, "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, f… Continue Reading


Deb Bowman: A Genuine Public Servant

There's a difference between public servants and bureaucrats, and we have known or dealt with both. Our office spends an incredible amount of time and energy helping constituents bust through the federal bureaucracy and unfortunately, we often bump heads with federal bureaucrats. It is time-consuming and aggravating for constituents. After experiences like these, we unfortunately have a tendency to stereotype all government employees in that manner. Thankfully, that's not always the case. T… Continue Reading


A Busy Fall Season in the Senate

The Senate is back in session, which means we are traveling back to Washington for votes, committee hearings and meetings with constituents who visit the Capitol to advocate for their issues. In August we had our in-state work period, which gave me the opportunity to meet with many South Dakotans in communities across the state. We attended fairs, met with veterans, spoke to community groups, held a field hearing to address the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' management of the Missouri River and s… Continue Reading


Confirming Fair-minded Judges and Protecting the Independent Judiciary

Last month, I had the privilege of attending the investiture of Judge Jonathan Kobes, a newly-appointed U.S. Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Kobes, who previously worked as my general counsel, resides in Sioux Falls with his family. Judge Kobes has spent his career demonstrating his commitment to justice and the fair application of law. He is precisely the type of judge we have been committed to confirming in the Senate the past several years. I was proud to su… Continue Reading


Holding the Army Corps Accountable for its Management of the Missouri River

In the Senate, I have the opportunity to serve as Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight, which has the important responsibility of providing oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps of Engineers manages the Missouri River Basin Mainstem Reservoir System, which includes six dams and reservoirs in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. These six reservoirs have a combined maximum capacity of 7… Continue Reading


Great Faces, Great Places

We are very fortunate to call South Dakota home. We live in a beautiful, diverse state with an interesting history. We welcome visitors from all over the U.S. and the world, but South Dakota also offers new experiences to those who have lived here their whole lives. Some of my favorite memories with my family include camping trips to the Black Hills and boating on the Missouri River. Jean and I always try to take a few days each summer to drive through the Black Hills. With my busy schedule… Continue Reading


Helping South Dakotans Navigate the Federal Bureaucracy

While I spend much of my time working on legislation, attending committee hearings and voting on the Senate floor, a lesser known but equally as important role of my job is helping South Dakotans when they're having problems with a federal agency. Congressional offices refer to this as "casework," and it's actually the main focus in my state offices, located in Aberdeen, Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City. My staff members who work in these offices are specially trained to act as liaisons betwee… Continue Reading


Rapid City Family’s Adoption Story an Inspiration to Us All

Raising a family has been the greatest privilege of my life. Jean and I have been blessed with four children and ten grandchildren who all live near our home in Fort Pierre. Providing a loving home where kids can grow up, learn values and feel safe is one of the most important jobs we as parents have to prepare them for their futures. Every child deserves the love and support that a family provides. As any parent knows, raising kids is both the most rewarding and toughest job in the world. T… Continue Reading


Bipartisan Budget Agreement Strengthens the Military and Supports Veterans

The Senate recently passed the Bipartisan Budget Agreement that was negotiated by President Trump and Congressional Leadership. I supported this legislation because it prioritizes spending for the military and for our veterans while simultaneously avoiding a default on our debt, taking steps to avoid an unnecessary and costly shutdown and ending the threat of sequestration for two years. The negotiators agreed that no "poison-pill" policy riders-partisan amendments offered by legislators that co… Continue Reading


Time for Congress to Pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement

When President Trump was elected, he promised to fight for American workers by putting into place strong, fair trade deals. He has worked hard to deliver on that promise. Like many South Dakotans, I support the president's goal of strengthening our trade deals to make certain we are on a level playing field. South Dakota's producers and manufacturers can compete with anyone in the world given a fair opportunity. Trade has become such a hot topic in our state because of our large agriculture … Continue Reading


The Border Crisis has Reached Unprecedented Levels

The crisis at our southern border shows no signs of slowing down, as the number of individuals attempting to cross our border illegally continues at a rapid pace. In May of this year, border patrol agents made 132,887 apprehensions. That is three times more than the same month in 2018, and nine times more than the same month in 2017. This has overwhelmed our system as our border patrol agents are overburdened and detention facilities are growing more crowded every day by individuals who have ill… Continue Reading


Showing RESPECT to Native Americans

During my time working as your governor and now U.S. senator, I've had the privilege of establishing friendships with tribal members from all nine reservations in South Dakota. As governor, Jean and I invited tribal leaders to our home to simply break bread and get to know each other on a personal level. It's a small thing, but we've also made a concerted effort to employ tribal members and people with close ties to the reservations on my staff. I believe those personal relationships help me bet… Continue Reading


Supporting our Troops and Strengthening the National Defense

It is because of the sacrifices made by the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States that we remain the greatest country in the world. It's important that our troops have all the tools and resources they need to successfully carry out their missions. That is why each year, we put aside political differences to pass a strong National Defense Authorization Act-or NDAA. The Senate recently voted to pass the NDAA, which included a number of provisions I offered to help our troops and … Continue Reading


Celebrating America

On July 4, Americans celebrate our country's independence. Like many families in South Dakota, Independence Day is a special holiday that our family looks forward to each year. For decades, we've spent the Fourth of July boating and camping on Lake Oahe, just north of Pierre. It's a fun time for the big Rounds crew to get together with our kids and grandkids to celebrate America's birthday. We cherish this special time together even more so this year, since Jean is currently undergoing treatme… Continue Reading


Grateful for your Prayers

In my weekly columns to South Dakotans, I frequently write about important policy discussions happening in Washington or highlight the issues that South Dakotans have been talking to me about. However, this week is different, as my wife, Jean and I have some personal news to share. As many South Dakotans already know, Jean recently began cancer treatment for a malignant high-grade aggressive tumor that was discovered near her sciatic nerve. Her team of doctors in South Dakota referred her to… Continue Reading


Federal Disaster Aid Available to South Dakota Families, Communities Following Storms

Many families, businesses, tribes and communities in South Dakota have experienced serious destruction of property and infrastructure following a series of late-winter storms. Heavy rain and snow led to flooding that caused widespread damage in nearly all parts of the state. As governors do when disaster strikes a state, Governor Noem requested a major disaster declaration from the federal government, which opens up federal tools to help folks get back on their feet after a series of bad sto… Continue Reading


When it Comes to Educating our Youth, Local Control is Best

A strong education system is vital to giving our young people the tools they need to grow and create a prosperous future for themselves. I believe students are best served when states and local governments, along with individual school boards, parents and teachers, are empowered to make education decisions. Unfortunately, for too long, the federal government has taken a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to education decisions. We know that what works best for one school system may not be the best cho… Continue Reading

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