Click here or on the picture above to watch Thune’s speech.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the upcoming congressional state work period, what he likes best about traveling around the state, including some of his favorite stops, and why South Dakota is the best place in the country to take a road trip.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, I love August.
“I head back home to South Dakota almost every weekend to meet with South Dakotans.
“But August is wonderful for two reasons.
“First, August gives me time to visit the furthest corners of the state – places it might be hard to visit on just a weekend.
“Places like Bison, and Milbank, and Clear Lake, and Huron, and Mobridge.
“I get to talk to folks who make their living in production agriculture in some of the most rural parts of South Dakota.
“There’s nothing more valuable than getting to talk to these South Dakotans firsthand – to hear what challenges they’re facing and what I can do here in Washington to help out.
“Not to mention how wonderful it is to spend time in these beautiful parts of the state.
“If you haven’t taken in the rugged beauty of the Badlands or the rivers and prairies of central South Dakota, you’re missing out.
“The other thing I love about heading back to South Dakota for August is that it’s fair season.
“The Sioux Empire Fair. The Turner County Fair. The Brown County Fair. Yankton Riverboat Days. And pow wows in tribal communities around the state.
“The list goes on!
“You’d be hard-pressed to find better events, better people – or better food.
“I often joke that in August I’m basically just eating my way across South Dakota.
“Ice cream at the fair in Parker.
“Pork sandwiches with the pork producers.
“Milkshakes at Dakotafest.
“Cheese curds at the state fair.
“I could go on.
“I vividly remember the year I had a Tubby Burger, plus a big fries, plus a malt at the Brown County Fair.
“Then I got up early the next morning to run the 5K at Riverboat Days in Yankton.
“It was not my best run time.
“But it was worth it for that burger.
“There’s really nothing better than a South Dakota road trip.
“Our state has so much to offer.
“An incredible range of scenery, from rolling prairies to the heights of Black Elk Peak.
“Hundreds of miles of wide-open country.
“There’s nothing better than a summer afternoon driving down a South Dakota highway.
“You feel like you can see forever.
“We have an incredible number of outdoor opportunities – from fishing and hunting, to hiking, biking, rock climbing, water sports … You name it; we have it.
“South Dakota is an affordable place for families too – you’re not going to break the bank on meals or lodging.
“And of course, we have unforgettable road trip stops, like the Corn Palace in Mitchell or Wall Drug.
“Make sure to grab a homemade doughnut or a free ice water at Wall Drug, and take a picture for Instagram with the giant jackalope outside.
“And as for South Dakotans – well, they’re the nicest people you’re ever going to meet.
“A South Dakota road trip is worth it for the people alone.
“In addition to the wonderful memories I’ve made traveling across the state as an adult, I cherish my memories of trips to the Black Hills as a child with my parents and siblings.
“We used to go out there for Labor Day, stay in this little non-air-conditioned cabin, and just glory in the outdoors.
“We’d hike and visit the caves, or go to Mount Rushmore, or head to the lake.
“I loved – and still love – visiting Sylvan Lake.
“I loved being there with my parents and siblings, and I loved taking my daughters there on trips like the ones I took growing up.
“Nobody who visits South Dakota should miss the Black Hills.
“I’m not sure there’s a more beautiful place on earth.
“The interplay of light and shadow on the trees and rocks late on a summer afternoon.
“The endless South Dakota sky reflected in the clear blue of Sylvan Lake.
“People in Washington D.C. don’t know what the Milky Way looks like on a clear night in the Black Hills – as if the sky had been carpeted with millions of diamonds.
“Mr. President, I’m lucky to be a son of South Dakota.
“And I’m looking forward to getting out of D.C. this week and heading back to my home state for some of the best weeks of the year.
“And Brown County, if you’re listening to this, please save me a Tubby Burger.”