By Sen. John Thune
Everyone has his or her happy place – a special location you would teleport to if you closed your eyes and wished hard enough, if it were only possible. Some people dream of the warm sand and a cool breeze on a beach, others prefer the bright lights and tall buildings of a big city. For me, it’s easy. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be, especially in the summertime, than crisscrossing the state and spending time with fellow South Dakotans.
Whether we see each other at an organized event or at the fair or in the hardware store and whether the discussion is about federal policy or which school your son or daughter is heading off to this fall, I’m always interested in catching up. Listening to folks about the issues that matter to them and their family are what help recharge my batteries and refocus my attention on the most important part of my job: you.
The last few weeks at home have been busy for me, which is exactly how I like to keep things, and fortunately, we still have plenty of summer days and nights to enjoy before the season comes to an end. I’ve already visited Webster, Redfield, Buffalo, Bison, Lemmon, Aberdeen, Arlington, Hayti, Milbank, Parker, Marion, and Mitchell, just to name a few. There are a plenty of stops yet to come.
One of the most humbling experiences I’m fortunate to be a part of is when I get to present South Dakota’s military heroes with medals or awards that are long overdue. When I recently stopped in Webster, I had the privilege of presenting John B. Sinner, a World War II veteran, with the Bronze Star Medal. John has an amazing story. He served under General George Patton and was stationed in Belgium when the Battle of the Bulge broke out. He’s a true American hero, and I was honored to be a part of his day.
Other highlights from my recent travels include discussing my farm bill proposals with the folks at Precision Soil Management in Redfield, hearing from Perkins County commissioners and residents about how they’ve been dealing with the drought, hosting a town hall meeting in Lemmon, stopping by the Turner County Fair, Brown County Fair, and Sioux Empire Fair, and summer wouldn’t be complete without visiting Dakotafest. These are my happy places.
There are plenty of things in the world to be disappointed about, but I’m constantly reminded of how lucky we are in South Dakota to be surrounded by determined, optimistic, and friendly people. Whenever I’m in Washington, I take that attitude with me, and I have all of you to thank for it.
It’s already been a great summer. Thanks to everyone who I’ve been able to meet and catch up with so far, and I look forward to seeing more of you soon!