Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune today condemned Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN) for his derogatory remarks against the state of South Dakota.

In a FORTUNE article, published online yesterday (, Senator Mark Dayton launched an unprovoked attack against the people of South Dakota when he said, "[t]he Mayo Clinic is worth a hell of a lot more than the whole state of South Dakota."

"Senator Dayton's comments are unconscionable, offensive and wholly unbecoming of a United States Senator, and will not go unchallenged," said Thune. "These misguided comments are unfortunate considering that instead of siding with special interests, Senator Dayton could be working in a constructive manner to grow our region's economy and create thousands of jobs."

The dispute stems from Senator Thune's successful effort to improve a Federal railroad loan program in the transportation reauthorization bill, which was signed into law last August. Interestingly, Senator Dayton voted twice for the very provision that Senator Thune advocated, yet today, Senator Dayton is vocally opposing this program. Senator Dayton also cosponsored S. 919, legislation that was nearly identical to Senator Thune's rail provision. Just yesterday, Senator Dayton removed his name from S. 919 after this office pointed out that Dayton himself voted for Thune's provision and sponsored similar legislation.

"I have worked on rail issues my entire professional career, both in the public and private sector, and make no apologies for my efforts to work with South Dakota companies to create high-paying jobs in South Dakota and to improve our economy," said Thune.

"Our neighboring Senator needs a reality check. Unlike Senator Dayton, we may not all be millionaires in South Dakota, but we understand the value of hard work and appreciate real-world experience. Senator Dayton would also be well served to know that the people of South Dakota understand that job creation and growing the economy have a direct impact on the lives of working families.

"I call on Senator Dayton to stop these destructive attacks against South Dakota and make an attempt to improve the lives of middle-class families in our two states," said Thune.