Recent Op-Eds

For many South Dakotans, including myself, summer road trips are a quintessential memory. Whether it was when I was a boy or now as a dad, loading up the car for an adventure has always been an enjoyable experience.

Unfortunately, high gasoline prices are forcing many South Dakotans to forego long driving trips this summer. This is not only a disappointment for families, but also for the South Dakota tourism industry, which provides livelihoods for many in the state.

I have used this space several times in recent weeks to discuss what I feel Congress should do to address the painful energy costs which are putting serious strain on the American economy. Bipartisan cooperation will be necessary to bring down gas prices, which can be accomplished by expanding domestic production and promoting technologies to reduce our dependence on oil, and I am working constantly with my colleagues in both parties to reach compromises that will deliver results to the American people.

In the meantime, families in South Dakota and across the nation are looking closer to home for summer entertainment and relaxation. Fortunately for us, events and attractions across South Dakota offer many opportunities for family fun without as much pain in the pocketbook.

This June marked the 60th anniversary of the first dynamite blast at the Crazy Horse Memorial, a landmark that honors the visionary leadership of Crazy Horse and the legacy of the Lakota people. This commemoration makes a stop at the Crazy Horse Memorial even more special if you plan on visiting the Black Hills this summer. The Central States Fair in Rapid City, which runs from August 15th-24th, is another great event to keep in mind if you're traveling through that part of the state.

Similarly, northeastern South Dakota's Brown County Fair is a great event that provides lots of family entertainment. Dakotafest in Mitchell is a perennially popular agriculture show and family event, drawing many farmers and ranchers who want to learn about technological advances as well as to hear the political debates. Of course, it's hard to deny that there is something special about the South Dakota State Fair in Huron, in all of its pig-on-a-stick glory. The State Fair honors and showcases the past year's hard work by 4-H participants from every county in South Dakota and has a fun atmosphere that has created fond memories for generations of South Dakotans.

South Dakota's many lakes, rivers, and campgrounds offer great opportunities for outdoor recreation and for parents to teach children about nature. Additionally, because of the increased rainfall our state has experienced this year, there will boating and fishing options that were not possible during the recent years of drought. Be sure to follow all rules regarding permits for camping and fishing, and be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and bug spray.

High gas prices have a tremendous negative impact on all sectors of the economy, and Congress must put the interests of the American people ahead of political agendas. Thankfully, the many wonders of our great state provide a multitude of options for South Dakotans as they look to spend time with family and friends.