Weekly Column


Here to Serve

As a senator, much of my time is spent in committee meetings, voting on legislation and meeting with constituents. However, a major part of the job is to assist people with navigating the complex federal bureaucracy. In fact, "casework," as it's called, is a primary focus of our South Dakota offices. South Dakotans having trouble getting answers from a federal agency are welcome to contact my offices in Pierre, Sioux Falls, Rapid City or Aberdeen for assistance. Staff members in our South Dakot… Continue Reading


Election Wrap up and Look Ahead

As Americans, we recently participated in one of our country's most sacred traditions: voting for our state, local and federal elected officials. Closely coinciding with Veterans Day, we also recognize that it is because of our men and women in uniform that we are able to participate in our election process. Like so many elections past, the 2018 election was filled with seemingly endless advertisements, unexpected twists, some upsets and many long hours on the campaign trail for the candidates a… Continue Reading


South Dakota Honors Its Veterans

As South Dakotans, we are fortunate to live in the greatest state in the greatest nation in the world. The people who live here are what make South Dakota so great. They work hard, give back to their communities and care about their family and friends. South Dakotans also have a long history of honoring our military members and veterans, whose sacrifice and bravery allows us to go about our lives freely and safely each and every day. Nearly every town in the state does something special to t… Continue Reading


Delivering Results

When you sent me to the Senate, I promised to do all I could to get Washington working again. For too long, the red tape and excessive bureaucracy of the federal government hindered the ability of South Dakotans to succeed. Overregulation made it difficult for farmers, ranchers, small business owners and local financial institutions to do their jobs. Families were paying so much money in taxes that they weren't able to reinvest back into the economy. We still have work to do, particularly when i… Continue Reading


100 Years of Pheasant Hunting in South Dakota

Pheasant hunting season is a time of year that many South Dakotans look forward to for months. I've been looking forward to it since the end of last year's season! It's a time to pass down traditions and join friends and family in the fields. We're especially looking forward to this season, as it marks the 100th year of pheasant hunting in South Dakota. In 1918, our state established its first pheasant hunting season. The first official hunting season was actually held in 1919 in Spink Count… Continue Reading


Supreme Court Fight Highlights Need for More Civility

The Senate recently had the opportunity to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court-the second Supreme Court Justice we've confirmed since President Trump was elected. He was sworn in shortly after his confirmation vote. This is a positive move for all who believe the role of the judiciary is to interpret the law rather than legislate from the bench. I believe Justice Kavanaugh will call balls and strikes in a fair, unbiased manner. The United States Supreme Court is the nation's highest… Continue Reading


15th Annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

This October is the 15th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an initiative started by the Department of Homeland Security to highlight the importance of protecting our personal information online. As always, the goal is to make sure all Americans have the tools and knowledge they need to make safe and secure decisions on the internet and to improve our national cybersecurity efforts. Attempts to obtain sensitive information online and execute successful cyberattacks are increasing… Continue Reading


Celebrating Native American History in South Dakota

While the Senate has been focused on the Supreme Court nomination hearing in Washington, we have continued to work on issues that affect South Dakotans. We'll discuss the Supreme Court hearing in one of our next weekly columns. Every October, South Dakota celebrates the rich culture and the many contributions made by Native Americans who called this land home long before Europeans settled in the West. Native Americans' Day is a state holiday started in 1990, and it replaces what used to be call… Continue Reading


Tax Fairness in South Dakota

This summer, the Supreme Court issued a decision to allow states to collect and remit sales tax from online retailers, like Amazon or eBay, which may not have a physical brick-and-mortar store in the state. South Dakota led the effort in the Supreme Court case South Dakota v. Wayfair. By opening the door for states to collect online sales taxes, South Dakota and local governments can widen the tax base and allow for more tax competition, so that we can foster economic growth by keeping our rate… Continue Reading


South Dakota Family Honored for Work Assisting Families Interested in Adoption

Countless children around the world and in the U.S. are in need of safe, permanent homes and the love and support of a family. Providing a child with a loving home is truly one of the greatest gifts anyone can give. I am a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children waiting to be adopted around the world. Each year, CCAI invites Members of Congress to nominate an outstanding fa… Continue Reading


Kavanaugh Eminently Qualified to be Supreme Court Justice

Earlier this summer, President Trump nominated U.S. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh will replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who recently retired from the court after 30 years. President Trump made an excellent decision when he picked Judge Kavanaugh as the nominee. After watching his Judiciary Committee hearing, studying his judicial philosophy and meeting with him in person, it's clear that he is eminently qualifie… Continue Reading


Affordable Energy for South Dakota

In South Dakota, we have scorching hot summers and frigid winters. This means we require reliable, affordable energy to keep our homes and businesses at a comfortable temperature year-round. Thanks to the Missouri River, South Dakota produces and uses a significant amount of renewable hydroelectric power. We are also one of the largest wind power resources in the nation. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, wind power provided around 30 percent of our total net electricity ge… Continue Reading


A New School Year Begins for South Dakota Students

Across South Dakota, students and educators are gearing up for a new school year. While Jean and I no longer have school-age kids, we enjoy seeing how excited our grandkids are for their first day of school. Making sure students get a quality education is very important to me. What they learn in school now can set them up for success for years to come. Teachers, administrators and all other school staff members play an integral role in student success. Their dedication to our young people can m… Continue Reading


Protecting the Integrity of U.S. Elections

Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of our republic. With the 2018 midterm election less than three months away, making certain the integrity of our voting system remains intact is a top priority. When Americans cast their votes in an election, they are exercising their right to make their voice heard. Many of our young men and women in uniform fight every day to protect our ability to choose our own leaders safely and freely. Assuring American citizens that their voice will be heard when … Continue Reading


South Dakota Ag Community: Stability is Crucial as we do our Part to Feed and Fuel the World

In South Dakota and across the Midwest, harvest time is nearly upon us. Farmers are preparing to market their crop, and for many of them prices remain low. Low commodity prices and trade instability are having an impact on the ag industry in our state. Livestock producers are feeling the impact of tariffs as they work to market their products. To hear more about the issues farmers and ranchers are facing right now, I recently held an ag roundtable in Sioux Falls. We invited more than 20 ag leade… Continue Reading


EPA Must Live up to its Promise to Provide Certainty to Farmers

I recently had the opportunity to question Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler about a number of issues important to our farming community. Particularly, I am concerned about recent action the EPA has taken related to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the impact those actions could have on our corn and ethanol producers. Passed in 2005 and expanded in 2007, the RFS is one of the most significant actions the federal government has taken on behalf of rura… Continue Reading


A New Direction at the VA

We are fortunate to live in the United States, where our men and women in uniform sacrifice so much to defend our liberty. We owe our servicemembers and veterans a debt of gratitude that we can never fully repay. However, one thing we can do is uphold the promises our nation has made to them over the last several generations, and we can do that by making improvements and changes within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The Senate recently confirmed Robert Wilkie to be the VA Secretary… Continue Reading


Economy is Improving, but Trade Instability Must be Addressed

Across the country, Americans are experiencing the benefits that come from a healthy, growing economy. In just the month of June, 213,000 new jobs were created and more than 600,000 people re-entered the work force. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law, nearly 1.3 million jobs have been created. This growth is due in large part to policies enacted by the current Congress and the Trump Administration. In addition to strong job numbers, retail sales have increased for the fifth con… Continue Reading


Another Historic Opportunity to Shape the Direction of our Country

In June, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the United States Supreme Court after 30 years. While we thank him for his years of service and dedication to our legal system, his announcement provides an important vacancy on our nation's highest court. Confirming a president's nominees to lifetime appointments to the federal bench is one of the most important jobs of the U.S. Senate. The decisions they make have lasting effects on the direction of our country for a generation or … Continue Reading


Army Corps Sees Firsthand our Concerns about Missouri River Management

With summer in full swing, many South Dakotans have been taking advantage of the warm weather with some R&R along the Missouri. Jean and I have enjoyed spending time on the river with the kids and grandkids. However, I continue to be concerned about the Army Corps of Engineers' management of the river. With recent near-record rainfall in parts of the state and reports of significant flooding along the Missouri River System both north and south of us, many of us throughout the state continue … Continue Reading

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