U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) was today elected by his Senate Republican colleagues to serve as the caucus’s whip for the 116th Congress, which begins in January 2019. The majority whip is the second most senior position in Senate Republican leadership and is tasked with working hand-in-hand with all Senate Republicans to ensure critical legislation passes or nominations are confirmed. Thune ran unopposed for the position and will move up from his current position as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference (SRC), which oversees message coordination for the caucus.
“I’m grateful each and every day for the honor and privilege to represent South Dakotans in the U.S. Senate,” said Thune. “Serving the hardworking people of South Dakota has been, and will always be, my top priority. I’m grateful to my Senate colleagues for once again trusting me with a seat at the leadership table, providing me with the opportunity and platform to give issues that are important to South Dakota the national attention they deserve and continue to build on the pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda we’ve implemented over the last two years.”
With Thune’s election as Senate Republican whip, a position held by only 18 people since 1915, he’s now the highest ranking Republican senator in South Dakota history. U.S. Sen. Chan Gurney (R-S.D.) is the only other Republican senator from South Dakota to have served in his party’s leadership. Gurney served as conference secretary, a position that has since been eliminated, from 1945 to 1946.
In addition to serving in leadership as chairman of SRC, a position he’s held since 2011, Thune previously served as chief deputy whip, SRC vice chairman, and chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.
Thune currently serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee and the Finance Committee, and he serves as chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.