Recent Op-Eds

Growing up in a small town has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on who you ask. But if you ask me, my siblings, or my dad who still lives in the house we all grew up in, there’s nothing but upside. Growing up in small-town South Dakota helped shape who I am, and it laid the foundation for the opportunities I’ve had in my life. Sure, Murdo didn’t have shopping malls, amusement parks, or movie theaters, but that was part of what made it such a great place to grow up. It would be an understatement to say we lived small, but we always dreamed big. And if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Thanks to my mom and dad, my siblings and I learned to love reading, music, sports, and the great outdoors – we still do today. Attending a small school in a small town meant I had no trouble being in band and choir or making the basketball, track, or football teams. I was often able to participate in more than one club or sport at a time, which was a luxury the “big city kids” didn’t always have. Today, my three-point shot is still better than my singing voice, but I guess some things never change.

The Midwest values I grew up with in South Dakota helped take me to Washington, D.C., because I did more than just believe in what my parents taught us, I lived by the principles they instilled in us – like hard work, loyalty and dedication to family, and giving back to the community in which you live. Being your senator is more than a job title for me. That’s why I take great pride in not only being the senator from South Dakota, but more importantly, the senator for South Dakota and the people who call it home.

We’ve accomplished a lot of big things for South Dakota in the Senate over the last two years. As chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, I led the way on critical rail reforms that will help address major backlogs like the one that squeezed South Dakota’s economy in 2013 and 2014. I played an integral role in getting the first long-term highway bill in nearly a decade to the president’s desk, which will help agriculture producers, shippers, and consumers. And as chairman, I wrote a comprehensive transportation security bill that will help protect air travelers in South Dakota and around the country. I could list more, but the only thing more important than what we’ve been able to accomplish in a relatively short period of time is the significant work that lies ahead of us.

As many South Dakotans can attest to, work never ends on the farm or on the ranch. It never ends in Washington either. The nation’s economy is weak, and it’s not growing fast or strong enough. The Obama administration’s takeover of the nation’s health care system is failing, and the tax code is complicated and outdated. There’s always more work to do, and I’m up for the challenge. As your senator, I will always fight hard in Washington because I’m inspired by how you continue to fight here in South Dakota for the values in which we all believe and share. You’re what makes South Dakota the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family. There’s no way around it.