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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke on the Senate floor about his dozens of visits and meetings with South Dakotans during the August state work period.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, there is nothing like summertime in South Dakota.
“While I’m in Sioux Falls almost every weekend, August gives me the opportunity to spend more time at home.
“It gives me a chance to travel South Dakota’s wide-open spaces, meet with constituents, and have important conversations that shape a lot of what I work on here in the Senate.
“It’s a busy month, and, Mr. President, we covered a lot of ground this August.
“Both figuratively and literally.
“To begin with, August is fair season in South Dakota.
“This year, I went to the Turner County Fair, the Brown County Fair (where I got my usual Tubby Burger), and the Sioux Empire Fair.
“Fairs showcase a lot of the best of South Dakota, but they’re an especially big deal for our agriculture community.
“So, whether I’m serving lunch to producers at the Sioux Empire Fair’s Agriculture Appreciation Day or giving an update on the farm bill at Dakotafest, I appreciate opportunities to hear directly from farmers and ranchers.
“I do this every year, but it’s especially important in a farm bill year like this one.
“Many of my farm bill priorities come directly from these discussions.
“These conversations can often get into the weeds on policy, but the bottom line from farmers and ranchers this year was really quite simple:
“We need to get the farm bill done.
“Farmers and ranchers need certainty that the programs they depend on will be there when they need them.
“And finishing the farm bill is one of the most important things on the agenda for the end of this year.
“Mr. President, agriculture is the lifeblood of South Dakota, but there’s a lot more that keeps South Dakota moving.
“This August, I had the chance to meet with electric cooperatives that provide power in South Dakota communities.
“I joined Midco as they announced a new broadband expansion in the Black Hills that will bring faster internet to more homes.
“And I was on hand for the new I-29 exit 130 interchange ribbon-cutting in Brookings.
“Throughout the month, I also visited a lot of local businesses and talked with business owners from across the state.
“I visited Showplace Cabinetry in Harrisburg.
“Load King Manufacturing in Elk Point.
“Dimock Cheese in Dimock.
“Dady Drug in Mobridge.
“And I met with start-up leaders in Sioux Falls.
“We had some important conversations, Mr. President.
“And it was clear that business owners are facing some headwinds at the moment.
“Business leaders in Yankton discussed challenges arising from the workforce shortages in South Dakota.
“With unemployment at 1.9 percent in South Dakota, there are workforce challenges in just about every sector.
“At the Midwest Agricultural Export Summit, we talked about the importance of trade and how the Biden administration has put expanding market access on the backburner.
“And business owners across the state expressed frustration with high interest rates and higher costs.
“Of course, we learned last week that inflation has ticked back up.
“Gas prices are on the rise as well.
“And a majority of Americans say the Biden administration has made the economy worse.
“‘Bidenomics’ is making life a lot harder for South Dakota families and businesses and for families and businesses around the country.
“And if the president really wanted to help working families, he would abandon the tax and spending agenda that has been the hallmark of his administration for the last two and a half years.
“Mr. President, as I travel around South Dakota, I know I can depend on South Dakotans to keep me informed, and South Dakota restaurants to keep me fueled.
“Often August becomes a bit of a ‘Taste of South Dakota’ tour.
“Chislic from Waddy’s in Hudson.
“A milkshake from Mr. Bob’s Drive-In in Selby.
“Coffee at Black Hills Bagels in Rapid City.
“There’s nothing like South Dakota hospitality and a good meal to keep you going during long days.
“Mr. President, as much as I love summer in South Dakota, I always get particularly excited when summer turns to fall, because there are few things I enjoy more than cheering on South Dakota’s athletes.
“My grandkids’ sports seasons have begun in earnest.
“I’ve made it to football games in Brookings and Vermillion to support the Jacks and the Yotes in a couple of big wins as their seasons get underway.
“And, of course, it’s not long until pheasant season comes around next month.
“Winter, spring, summer, or fall, there’s always something to look forward to in South Dakota.
“And I am lucky to be a son of our state.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”