With summer drawing to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on what makes me thankful to be a South Dakotan: its people. It doesn’t matter what town you’re traveling through, it becomes clear that the people of this state are what give it its backbone. They are hardworking, passionate, God-fearing Americans who are willing to go the extra mile for a friend, neighbor, or family member.
August was a busy month. I spent most of it crisscrossing South Dakota, meeting with South Dakotans and taking in the sights and sounds of everything that our great state has to offer in the summertime. For me, there’s nothing more valuable than hearing directly from families and small business owners – to hear what challenges they’re facing and what I can do in Washington to help out.
One way I intend to help is by crafting a pro-South Dakota farm bill. I hosted multiple roundtable events across the state where I was able to receive invaluable feedback from farmers and ranchers ahead of the 2023 farm bill. I visited small towns in every corner of the state and hosted events where I was able to hear what’s on folks’ minds. South Dakotans’ concerns are my concerns, so you can be sure I’ll take everything I heard with me back to Washington.
As I traveled the state, I shared some of the bipartisan wins I have helped deliver for South Dakotans this year. From getting my Ocean Shipping Reform Act signed into law to restoring the summertime sale of E15 fuel to securing critical funding for Ellsworth Air Force Base, these successes were no easy feat in a Democrat-controlled Washington. While much was accomplished, there is much more work yet to do this Congress.
Whether I was in a bigger city or a smaller town, I heard about everything from record-high inflation to border security to gas prices. I heard about economic issues, particularly the workforce shortages that are plaguing businesses throughout the state. Farmers and ranchers told me about the agriculture industry’s seemingly annual struggle with tough weather and market conditions. Part of my job is to try to prevent bad policies from going into place that will make these crises worse, and you can be sure I’ll fight hard to do just that.
The other thing I love about August in South Dakota is that it’s fair season. The Sioux Empire Fair, the Turner County Fair, Dakotafest, the Brown County Fair, and Yankton Riverboat Days – to name a few – are quintessential stops that ensure you’re having a true South Dakota summer. I often joke that in August I’m basically eating my way across the state. From milkshakes at Dakotafest to Tubby burgers at the Brown County Fair, I look forward to these fair-food staples every year.
South Dakota is the best place in the country to live, work, and raise a family. It’s my home. It’s my kids’ and grandkids’ home. And it’s a beacon of freedom, opportunity, and personal responsibility that continues to draw people from across the United States to come explore during all seasons of the year.
Summer is ending, but fall is right around the corner. That means South Dakota high school and college sports, pheasant hunting, and so much more. As always, spending quality time with South Dakotans has been very informative, especially as I prepare to head back to Washington where a little commonsense and South Dakota straight-talk go a long way.