Weekly Column


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


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

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