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Principles for Putting South Dakota First

By Sen. John Thune

December 30, 2022

It’s humbling to begin another term representing South Dakota in the U.S. Senate. Though many of the issues have changed since I first took the oath of office, the principles that guide my work have remained the same: work hard, fight for what matters, and listen to my top advisors – you, the people of South Dakota.

I’ve put these principles to work to deliver for South Dakotans over the last year. When agriculture producers were facing challenges getting container ships to bring their products to market, I worked on a bipartisan fix to help resolve these issues and make our supply chains more efficient. As Ellsworth Air Force Base prepares to host the B-21 Raider mission, I’m proud to have secured funding for investments in the facilities and other infrastructure that it needs for the new mission and the additional military families who will make the Black Hills home. And when Democrats tried to sneak through a multi-billion dollar tax increase on small- and medium-sized businesses as part of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, I forced a vote – which passed – to remove this new tax hike from the bill. I also had bipartisan legislation signed into law that will provide South Dakota school districts participating in the Impact Aid Program with additional flexibility and financial certainty as they deal with temporary enrollment fluctuations on the back end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and as 2023 gets underway, there’s much more still to do. With Republicans now in control of the House of Representatives, I’m hopeful that President Biden and Senate Democrats will focus on bipartisan priorities and seek consensus with Republicans on key issues. It would be a mistake for President Biden to sideline congressional Republicans and resort to governing by executive order. The American people deserve better.

As always, I’ll be advocating for the issues that matter to South Dakotans and ensuring our priorities receive the national attention and solutions they deserve. Among these priorities is South Dakota agriculture, the lifeblood of our state. One of the most important things Congress will do in 2023 is consider the next farm bill, which sets policy for farm programs. In preparation for the farm bill, I’ve already held roundtables with farmers and ranchers across the state to get their input on the effectiveness of farm policy. As a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, their feedback is invaluable, and it will ultimately inform my priorities as we draft the 2023 farm bill.

Working families also continue to be top of mind, especially as families’ budgets are strained by higher prices month after month. We need to get our economy back on track, which we can do by restoring the pro-growth economic environment we had before the pandemic. I’ll continue working to protect families, small businesses, and farms from unnecessary tax hikes and burdensome regulations, like those Democrats have proposed these past two years, and I’ll continue to advocate for new market access opportunities. It is also time for the United States to unleash domestic energy production and pursue an all-of-the above energy strategy. Producing energy in America lowers prices, creates jobs, and secures our energy and national security.

South Dakotans also deserve a government that is accountable. I recently launched an initiative to ensure federal broadband investments are being effectively deployed to achieve their stated goal of expanding broadband access to unserved areas. Without proper oversight of broadband funding, taxpayer dollars may be wasted and Americans may still be left disconnected. I will also continue to fight for much-needed oversight and accountability of the unprecedented $80 billion that Democrats recently gave to the IRS in their partisan spending bill. The IRS should have to answer to the American people and their elected representatives, not Washington bureaucrats.

It is an honor to represent South Dakota in the U.S. Senate. As I get to work on these priorities and others this year, the values I learned growing up in Murdo and that are reflected around our state will continue to guide me. Thank you for the opportunity to serve – now let’s get to work.