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Putting South Dakota’s Priorities First

By Sen. John Thune

March 5, 2021

Serving the state of South Dakota is my greatest honor, and throughout my time in Congress, I’ve sought out ways to give our state a strong voice in Washington. One of the most important ways I’ve been able to accomplish that goal is by serving on committees that I believe yield the most effective results for South Dakotans.

Although we are only a couple of months into the 117th Congress, I have already hit the ground running in the three committees on which I serve: the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee; the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; and the Finance Committee. I am confident that serving on these committees will continue to give me the best opportunity to make sure South Dakotans, and the issues that are important to them, are prioritized in Washington. 

Agriculture is South Dakota’s top industry, and I’m proud to serve as a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Before coming to the Senate, I served on the House Agriculture Committee, so I have long understood how critical it is for our state to have a seat at the table when it comes to negotiating and crafting policies that directly affect our state’s economy and our hardworking farmers and ranchers.

It seems like just yesterday that we were working on the 2018 farm bill, but while we only have a few of years before it expires, I have already begun talking with South Dakota’s producers and working on new proposals to help ensure they have the safety net and resources they need to be successful. South Dakota’s farm and ranch community knows adversity all too well, so I’m committed to providing them as much certainty as possible in the years to come.  

I’ve held several different roles on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee over the years, including serving as full committee chairman and chairman of the subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, which has jurisdiction over legislation and other matters relating to the technology and communications industries, which are both critically important to South Dakota.

This Congress, I’ll serve as ranking member – the highest ranking Republican – of the same subcommittee, but with a new name: the Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband. Serving as the top Republican on this subcommittee will give me the opportunity to continue my years-long effort to ensure all South Dakotans have access to broadband services, even in the most rural areas of our state. This role will also allow me to build off of my previous work of making 5G a reality for all Americans as well as empowering online consumers and protecting their digital footprint.

And finally, I’ll continue serving on the Senate Finance Committee and as ranking member of the Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight. Senate Democrats will be working hard to fulfill campaign promises by trying to enact the Green New Deal and Medicare for All or repeal or rollback things like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. As a member of this powerful tax-writing committee, which also has significant government oversight responsibilities, I will do everything in my power to act as a voice of reason to fight this misguided, far-left agenda.

Committees play a key role in shaping and considering most bills before they ever come to the Senate floor for a final vote. Having a voice on these three powerful committees gives me the opportunity to elevate important issues and give South Dakotans a say on the most important policy debates in Washington. Regardless of the issue at hand, you can bet that I will be fighting for South Dakotans every step of the way.