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Staying Connected

August 24, 2012

One of the best pieces of advice my parents gave me as a young man getting ready to leave for college was to never forget where I came from. More than 30 years later my parents’ advice still rings true. As a United States Senator I can think of no better way to stay connected to the state I represent than to spend time at home talking with South Dakotans about the issues and policies important to them. I always look forward to the August Congressional work period because it gives me the opportunity to travel across the state and stay connected with constituents.

This August work period has been no different; I have enjoyed meeting with a variety of groups and people, and celebrating the success of communities across the state. Earlier this month, I traveled down to Vermillion where I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System water treatment plant. This new plant is a victory for the 300,000 people in eastern South Dakota who will receive water. I also traveled to Porcupine where I took part in the grand opening celebration of the Rockyford Community School. This school will enroll around 500 preschool through eighth grade students on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation.

I always enjoy connecting with the agriculture producers in the state, and again this year was pleased to gather with farmers and ranchers at Dakotafest in Mitchell. Due to the high temperatures and sparse rainfall, this has been a particularly difficult year for many farmers and ranchers. As Congress works to pass a new farm bill, it is important to get feedback from the producers impacted by these policies.

Fair season is also upon us, and that meant visits to Parker for the Turner County Fair and Aberdeen for the Brown County Fair. I enjoyed taking in the exhibits, food, and music with many of my fellow fair-goers. Of course, no fair season would be complete without a trip to Huron. I look forward to again attending the South Dakota State Fair.

As I wrap up another August work period, I was glad to connect with people all over the state. It is always good to hear directly from the people I am fortunate enough to represent and those who will continue to keep me close to South Dakota.