If you look across the nation, economic growth has ground to a halt. The price of everyday items – like milk, eggs, and pretty much everything else – has skyrocketed, making it harder for families to make ends meet. 38% of Americans point to “economic problems” as “the most important problem facing the country today.” In this tumultuous sea of negative economic news, South Dakota stands tall as a lighthouse – an example that Freedom and personal responsibility lead to sustained economic growth.
You’ve heard me recite the statistics before. We have the fastest-growing incomes of any state in America. Our new housing development is No. 1 in the country. Our new business applications lead the nation, as well. We are outpacing the nation’s population growth tenfold, and we are No. 2 for inbound migration. Behind each of these statistics are countless stories – stories of South Dakota families and small businesses that had the opportunity to grow, thrive, and succeed because we stayed “Open for Business.”
In my State of the State Address earlier this year, I shared one such story. Alyssa Nix is a Sioux Falls native who started working in retail and fashion when she was 16. Four years ago, she took out a loan to purchase a women’s clothing boutique, and then the pandemic came. If Alyssa’s store had been in almost any other state, she would have had to close her doors. Because she lived in South Dakota, she kept the doors open. And today, she is still fulfilling her lifelong dream of helping women feel confident about themselves, no matter their budget and whatever the occasion.
These stories repeat time and time again, from our biggest cities to our smallest towns. It’s the family who moved here to escape tyranny from New York or Michigan or Washington – and then brought the rest of their extended family with them. It’s the law enforcement officers looking to continue their careers in a state where they would be respected. It’s the single mom wanting to live where her kids could learn in the classroom. In these stories and so many more, South Dakota’s Freedom has made a tangible impact in the lives of countless people.
I am proud of what we have done here – and I’m humbled to be part of so many stories. South Dakota is setting our next generation up for success because of the growth that we have achieved, together. Because of the new businesses that have moved into the state, there are more good paying jobs for our kids when they graduate. Because of the thriving industries that we are building – like cyberresearch and biofuels – the exciting jobs of the future can be found right here in South Dakota.
And when our kids start these exciting careers here in our state, they will be able to raise our grandkids here, too. That’s how we build a lasting legacy. That’s how we build off of our current growth to achieve sustained growth. As I’ve said many times, strong families build stronger communities. Together, we are achieving stronger communities and a stronger South Dakota. All it took was a little fresh air, a lot of Freedom, and the kind of hard work that can only be found in the Heartland. I’m honored to be a part of it, and I’m so thankful for every South Dakotan who helped make it possible.