As most of you read this, I’ll be back in Pierre for my second legislative session. I spent last week’s space here giving a...

WIIK_JOHN_2015As most of you read this, I’ll be back in Pierre for my second legislative session. I spent last week’s space here giving a bit of a preview with some of the legislation that will make the news, and a few things that probably won’t.

This week, I’d like to attempt to describe what it’s like, and why I wish more people would be interested in what happens in Pierre for the next 9 weeks or so.

First of all, I’ve never had a job that I couldn’t wear a baseball cap and jeans to. The dress code is very different than I’m used to, but I welcomed the challenge. It’s a complete paradigm shift for me, and I have enjoyed meeting that challenge. It’s amazing the difference you create in your own mind and especially in the minds of those around you when you show up in a suit and tie.

The other aspect I wish you could experience is the camaraderie of the Legislators in both parties. Yes, we all have our differences and our own agendas, but we are all working to do what we see as the best thing to create a stronger future for South Dakota, and we are willing to sit down and work together to flush out the best ideas to accomplish that. There is a mutual respect and commonality of duty that I’ve never experienced in my lifetime, and it is based on a common respect for the traditions and institutions that built our state.

The work is also truly fascinating, and that’s the inside baseball stuff where people’s eye glaze over who aren’t as interested in this as I am. Sitting there and listening to the debate, asking the tough questions and getting to the truth is an incredible responsibility, and I take that responsibility very seriously. Committee hearings are all posted online, and you can listen to every minute of the testimony. Most find it boring, but I’m fascinated by the strategy, the choice of words and the tone of the testimony. I listen to everyone and take notes so that I can determine the truth and make the correct decisions when the time to vote comes.

If you can’t make it to Pierre during this legislative session, please tune in online at listen to the testimony, see the same information I see, and drop me a line anytime with your suggestions at Thank you for this tremendous honor to serve you in the South Dakota Legislature.


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