There’s no better place to be in the summertime than South Dakota. I’m fortunate to get to spend so much of the year traveling our state, visiting our communities, and hearing from my most trusted advisers: South Dakotans. The month of August presents a unique opportunity to spend extra time traversing the state’s wide open spaces. The conversations I have with folks along the way shape a lot of my work in the Senate, and a little South Dakota straight talk goes a long way in Washington.
Summer is fair season, and South Dakota’s fairs showcase some of the best things our state has to offer. For example, for me, summer wouldn’t be complete without a Tubby Burger at the Brown County Fair. More importantly, though, fair season is also an opportunity for me to hear from farmers and ranchers, especially during farm bill years like this one. Many of my farm bill priorities come directly from these discussions with South Dakota agriculture producers. As we continue working on this year’s bill, I’m working to ensure priorities like a strong farm safety net and improvements to other key programs are included in the final bill. We need to get the farm bill done and provide certainty that critical support systems like crop insurance and commodity and livestock programs will be there when producers need them.
This summer, I’ve also had the chance to visit local businesses across South Dakota ranging from Showplace Cabinetry in Harrisburg to Dimock Cheese in Dimock and Dady Drug in Mobridge. Unfortunately, what I continue to hear from business owners is that they are still facing headwinds from inflation, high interest rates, and a shortage of workers. The Biden economy is clearly not working for hardworking South Dakotans, and it’s time to change course. Small businesses like these are important engines of our local economy, and I’ll continue working for pro-growth policies that help them thrive and grow their operations.
Expanding broadband access in South Dakota also continues to be one of my top priorities. Reliable internet access is essential for everything from education to business to farming and ranching. I was pleased to join Midco in Rapid City earlier this month as they announced the expansion of their network in the Black Hills. Sustained investment from internet providers like Midco is essential to expanding broadband access.
While I’m crisscrossing the state, I’m glad to be able to rely on South Dakota’s restaurants to keep me fueled. My August travels can often read like a “Taste of South Dakota,” with chislic from Waddy’s in Hudson, a milkshake at Mr. Bob’s Drive-In in Selby, and coffee at Black Hills Bagels in Rapid City, among other stops. There’s nothing like a good meal and South Dakota hospitality to keep you going during long days.
And, of course, spending time with my family is one of my favorite parts of the summer. Some of this summer’s highlights have been taking the grandkids to the fair, the Sioux Falls Air Show, and out for ice cream at sunset. Enjoying these simple yet meaningful moments with my family reminds me how grateful I am to live in South Dakota. I hope you’ve also been able to enjoy some of the best of our state this summer.