This year has been full of unexpected and unprecedented experiences. A global pandemic will do that, as we’ve all come to learn. And while the hardworking, common-sense people of South Dakota have been an example of how to respond to a national crisis like this one, by striking a balance between public safety and personal freedom and responsibility, we, too, have seen our day-to-day lives affected by this ongoing outbreak.
In March, after Congress responded to this crisis by passing a massive relief bill that provided funding for personal protective equipment for frontline medical personnel, vaccine and treatment development, direct relief payments to American citizens, and forgivable loans for small businesses, the reality really started to set in. America hadn’t seen a public health crisis like this in more than 100 years, and given today’s global and interconnected economy, we found ourselves in completely uncharted territory.
While I knew our state and local communities would face uncertain times in the days, weeks, and months ahead, I had one message for my team throughout South Dakota and in Washington, D.C. While I knew they, too, and their families were experiencing the same risks and set of unknowns as everyone else, I didn’t want the people of South Dakota to feel an ounce of difference when they reached out to my office for help.
My team didn’t skip a beat, which will come as no surprise to those who’ve had the opportunity to work with them over the years. They went right to work and have helped me every step of the way to continue providing the same level of service and professionalism the people of South Dakota have grown to expect during the best of times, let alone in the middle of a national crisis like this one. Phone calls were answered; letters and emails were opened, read, and responded to; constituent casework continued to be addressed, and South Dakotans’ feedback was delivered to my colleagues in Washington.
Our country certainly knows more about this invisible enemy today than we did in March and April, and we’re better equipped in terms of our response. While I wish we could just go back to the way things were before this virus was unleashed, we’re making significant progress on the road to recovery. Public safety must continue to be the nation’s top priority as we all continue to deal with this outbreak, which will help America return to normal as soon as possible.
South Dakotans are resilient people, as if anyone had ever doubted it. They take obstacles head-on and deal with them the best way they can. Whether it’s severe weather, a tough agriculture economy, or a global pandemic, persevering is the only option we know. It’s humbling to be part of this community, and if there’s anything I can ever do to help, whether it’s responding to the COIVD crisis or dealing with an issue you’re having with the federal government, my team and I are here to answer your call.