Weekly Column


Saving the People from Their Government

When you sent me to Washington 4 1/2 years ago, I pledged to work on your behalf to get government out of the way and stop interfering with your everyday lives. I've always believed Americans flourish best in an environment that values personal freedoms and encourages innovation. For too long, the federal government has operated with a "Washington knows best" mentality. When we discuss ways to reduce government interference, I often look to President Ronald Reagan, who set the gold standard … Continue Reading


Honoring Those Who Wear the Uniform of the United States

Memorial Day is an opportunity for all of us to honor the brave Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. We are forever grateful to them for defending our freedoms and way of life in the United States. Our fallen service members deserve to be remembered and honored every day, and especially on Memorial Day. Countless South Dakotans have served in the military since our state joined the nation, and we have a proud history of honoring their service and thanking thei… Continue Reading


China Trade Negotiations: A Primer

South Dakota's manufacturers and ag producers have been at the tip of the spear in our trade negotiations with China. At a time when farmers and ranchers are facing the worst agricultural crisis since the 1980s, it's more important than ever the administration finalizes a trade deal with them that is good for American producers. For the past two years, President Trump and members of his administration have been working on a trade deal with China that will level the playing field and stop th… Continue Reading


Focusing on Lowering Healthcare Costs

Since I've been in the Senate, I have been focused on reversing the negative impacts Obamacare has had on South Dakota families. I was working as governor when Obamacare was signed into law and began to be implemented, and I saw firsthand how destructive the law was. For example, before it was enacted, South Dakota had more than a dozen insurers providing individual insurance. Today, there are just two. Additionally, South Dakota's plans addressed those with pre-existing conditions before Obamac… Continue Reading


Working to Improve South Dakota’s Small Businesses

South Dakota's small businesses play a critical role in strengthening our communities. They provide good-paying jobs, pay local property taxes and reinvest into the future of our state. When our small businesses succeed, our economy soars. The Senate recently passed a resolution designating the week of May 5-11, 2019, as "National Small Business Week." This is a time to celebrate the entrepreneurs who start their own businesses and acknowledge the impact small business owners have on communities… Continue Reading


Celebrating Military Families

The month of April has been designated as the Month of the Military Child. This is a time to appreciate the sacrifices made by the children of service members. We are forever grateful to the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States. We are also grateful to their family members who support them while they are away protecting our country. This month, we celebrate and honor the children who love and support their moms and dads serving in our armed forces. South Dakotans have a lo… Continue Reading


Tax Reform Works: Majority of Americans Saw Tax Cut

April 15 is known as tax day, the day in which tax returns are due to be submitted to the federal government. This is the first tax day we've had since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted, and this year we celebrated with higher wages, record economic growth and families across South Dakota keeping more of their paychecks each month. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lessened the tax burden for South Dakota families and businesses, and our economy is stronger because of it. When families aren't payin… Continue Reading


Flooding Remains a Concern for South Dakota Communities

South Dakota residents continue to share with me their concerns about flooding and high water levels in many of our rivers and lakes. My team and I are keeping a close watch on the Corps' management of the Missouri River, and the rivers that feed into the Missouri including the James and the Big Sioux. This is especially important as major rain and snow events continue to wreak havoc in South Dakota and across the plains, causing significant flooding throughout the region. I am speakin… Continue Reading


Green New Deal is a Bad Deal for South Dakota

The Green New Deal is an extreme proposal introduced earlier this year by a number of our Democrat colleagues in a misguided attempt to reduce carbon emissions. It would require the U.S. to switch to 100 percent renewable energy within 10 years and would dramatically change nearly every aspect of our lives-from how we consume and produce energy to how we use transportation to how farmers manage their crops and raise livestock. It will also cost roughly $93 trillion over the next ten years. That … Continue Reading


B-21 Announcement Solidifies Ellsworth’s Role in our Long-Term Defense Strategy

This week, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced that Ellsworth Air Force Base will be home to the B-21 Formal Training Unit and be the first base to receive an operational squadron of B-21 Raiders, which are the next-generation stealth bombers. This is great news for South Dakota and our national defense. It reaffirms the vital role Ellsworth will play in our defense strategy for years - if not generations - to come. The B-21s are currently being developed as part of the Air Force's … Continue Reading


Obamacare Costs Continue to Put Financial Strain on South Dakota Families

This month marks the 9th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, being signed into law. Nine years is a long time for the millions of Americans who have been adversely affected by this failed law through higher premiums, fewer options and loss of health care all together. South Dakotans continue to contact me to share their stories about how Obamacare is just too expensive. For some of them, their health insurance premiums cost more than their mortgage payments. The American people… Continue Reading


National Emergency Declaration: A Primer

Congress and the administration have been in a months-long debate over border barrier funding. In fact, it was this debate that led to the longest partial government shutdown in our history. The shutdown ended in February after Congress passed a funding bill that allotted $1.4 billion to fund physical barriers along our southern border. This will pay for approximately 55 miles of new barriers. That amount was far short of President Trump's $5.7 billion request, so he declared a national emergen… Continue Reading


Tourism in South Dakota Continues to Grow

With the frigid temperatures and heavy snow we're experiencing, it's hard to believe that spring is just around the corner. But before long, we'll be seeing green grass in our lawns again, farmers will be planting crops and tourists from across the world will flock to South Dakota to experience our many attractions. Tourism is a vital part of our economy- number two only to agriculture. Last year alone, tourism supported more than 54,000 jobs and generated nearly $300 million in tax revenue. Wh… Continue Reading


South Dakota Leads the Way in Career and Technical Education

Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs provide students with the academic and technical training necessary to work in specific jobs such as a trade or craft. This includes programs such as welding, ranch management, dental assisting, bookkeeping, telecommunications, web programing and automotive technology. The Senate recently passed a resolution to highlight the importance of CTE programs across the nation. In South Dakota, we are home to four high-caliber technical institutions that… Continue Reading


Nominating South Dakota’s Best and Brightest Students to our Nation’s Service Academies

Each year, I have the opportunity to nominate students from our state to our nation's service academies. Four of the academies require a nomination: the Military Academy at West Point, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy and the Merchant Marine Academy. Nominations are not required for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. In 2018, I was able to nominate 27 South Dakotans to the various academies. The U.S. service academies are among the most elite educational institutions in the world. The y… Continue Reading


Indian Health Service Continues to Let Down Tribal Members

Tribal members have been in the midst of a government-induced health care crisis for decades due to poor leadership and mismanagement at the Indian Health Service (IHS). For far too long, tribal members who rely on IHS for health care have faced unimaginable horrors. Troubling reports from a number of IHS facilities have found gross mismanagement, dirty medical equipment, broken sanitizers and blatant corruption. In one outrageous case, a woman gave birth to her baby on a bathroom floor with no … Continue Reading


As Americans, More Unites Us Than Divides Us

President Trump recently delivered his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. Our Constitution requires the president to provide Congress with an update on the state of our union each year. Throughout our history, some presidents have opted to deliver their messages in person and others have sent in written messages. However, for the past 100 years, it has become the norm for presidents to deliver the message in person. I appreciated hearing from President Trump about … Continue Reading


USS South Dakota is Navy’s Newest Nuclear Submarine

USS South Dakota (SSN 790) is the Navy's newest nuclear submarine, commissioned on Feb. 2, 2019. It is the 17th Virginia-class attack submarine to join the fleet. It was a true honor to be a part of the commissioning event. USS South Dakota will play an important role in the mission of our sailors, and it will also serve as a new symbolic link between our state and the Navy. According to the U.S. Navy, it has been designed to fulfill the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-s… Continue Reading


With Record Low Unemployment, South Dakota’s Workforce Needs H-2B Visa Workers

The national unemployment rate is at the lowest levels since 1969. In South Dakota, we have an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent, which is one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. This is certainly something to be celebrated, but it also means our industries that rely on seasonal and temporary work have to seek outside workers when necessary. This is especially true for the tourism and construction industries, which will be seeking extra help from the springtime to early fall. One … Continue Reading


Corn Ethanol Production Plays Important Role in South Dakota’s Economy

Corn and corn ethanol production are vital components of South Dakota's economy. The corn ethanol industry supports thousands of jobs in our state and contributes a significant amount of revenue to our local communities. Corn ethanol has taken a hit in recent years, due in part to the high number of waivers issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to small refineries. This has reduced the amount of ethanol required by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), thus reducing the demand for cor… Continue Reading

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