I hope the holiday season was as joyful for your family as it was for mine. My son-in-law Luke joined me and my daughter Brittany on our annual father/daughter Christmas morning run, I was fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) able to sharpen my snow shoveling skills, and we were able to help celebrate my dad’s 96th birthday the best way we know how: a successful pheasant hunt. Now that the gifts have been opened and the occasions have been celebrated, a new year is in front of us.
Each and every day, I am humbled and honored to be one of your elected representatives in the Senate, and I thank you for that opportunity. I take the responsibility of being your voice in Washington seriously and am always appreciative of your ideas and feedback. While a new year presents new challenges and opportunities for South Dakota and our nation, I intend to continue making your priorities my priorities. Fighting to make our economy stronger, our government more efficient and accountable, and our nation and our world safer and more secure have been my goals since the first day I took office, and that won’t change as long as I am your U.S. senator.
I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. The first year of the new Republican-led Senate was a productive one. We accomplished a lot of important things for South Dakotans and the American people. I helped author the first long-term highway bill in a decade that finally ends the need for the dozens of short-term patches that kept the industry in a perpetual state of uncertainty. As the leader of the Senate Commerce Committee, I spearheaded important reforms to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) – the first of their kind – that will be welcome news for anyone who deals with the federal agency responsible for economic oversight of our nation’s freight rail system.
There is more work that lies ahead in 2016. There are still too many Americans who are struggling to make ends meet. We must make it our mission to enact pro-growth policies that continue to help our economy grow. It’s critical that the long arm of the federal government and the costly red tape it creates be reined in, and we will continue to fight overreaching federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency. We also must work toward ensuring the American people and our allies are safe and secure by providing our men and women in uniform with the tools and training they need to accomplish their mission.
I’m excited about the new year and what’s in store for our state and country. Please continue to contact my office to share your stories, concerns, or thoughts about what we’re working on in Washington. Like me, my talented and dedicated staff’s top priority is working for you, and we all stand ready to assist. Thank you for helping to make South Dakota the greatest state in the country, and here’s to a happy and prosperous 2016.