Senator John ThuneDuring my years of service in both the Senate and the House of Representatives I have had the great honor of seeing four Presidential Inaugurations up close. There are few events which have the ability to remind us how blessed we are as a nation more than witnessing the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next. This year’s Inauguration was particularly memorable due to the large crowds that gathered both in Washington and across the nation as President Obama took the oath of office.
I had the opportunity to visit with many South Dakotans who traveled to Washington for this year’s ceremony. I was impressed that so many made the trip and braved the enormous crowds that descended on the city as well as the cold weather in our nation’s capital.
As our new President outlined in his Inaugural Address, America is facing some very serious challenges that will require thoughtful consideration and real bipartisan consensus. I believe that Congress has an important task in shaping the economic agenda in the months ahead, and it is my hope that President Obama is open to the input of my fellow Republican colleagues. Any action taken by the federal government to jump start the economy must focus on real job creation and economic development rather than business as usual pork barrel and special interest spending that only adds to our national debt.
There will always be divides about serious issues in American politics; it is one of the defining characteristics of our nation. Just as the crowds on Inauguration Day came together to join in a great American tradition, it is my hope that we move forward into a new era of cooperation—for our nation’s wellbeing.