U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) on Tuesday expressed his profound gratitude to the people of South Dakota for once again trusting him to represent them in Washington. Thune discussed how growing up in rural South Dakota helped shape his political philosophy, work ethic, and values. His top priority remains doing everything he can to help better the lives of families across the state and country.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, I want to begin my remarks today by expressing my profound gratitude to the people of South Dakota for once again trusting me to serve as their senator.
“I am deeply grateful to live in South Dakota and to represent the Mount Rushmore State.
“There are a lot of things that make our state special, like its incredible natural beauty, a legacy of military service, or the fact that our state is a great place to raise a family.
“But what really makes our state tick, what really makes it special, is our people.
“And it is the honor of my life to represent South Dakotans in the U.S. Senate.
“Growing up in Murdo, South Dakota – population: 456 – I learned the character of South Dakotans.
“The work ethic.
“The love of country and commitment to freedom – coupled with a belief in personal responsibility.
“And the sense of responsibility to the broader community.
“Life in rural South Dakota can be tough, but growing up we knew that we were not on our own.
“In Murdo, we knew that if a roof collapsed under the weight of snow, or a windstorm came through and wiped out a barn, or we lost a friend or family member, the whole community would rally around to help.
“The values I learned growing up in South Dakota helped shape my political philosophy and are values I strive to reflect every day here in the Senate.
“And as I continue my work here in Washington, my top priority will always be doing everything I can to make life better for South Dakota families.
“Mr. President, our country is facing some big challenges.
“A security crisis at our southern border.
“A growing energy problem.
“A serious crime problem.
“And the worst inflation crisis in decades.
“I talked to a lot of South Dakotans as I traveled around the state this fall, and over and over I heard about the toll inflation is taking on family budgets – and on the livelihood of farmers and ranchers in our state.
“Since President Biden took office, the price of groceries has increased 18 percent.
“Electricity bills have increased by 22 percent.
“Utility gas bills have increased by 46 percent.
“Rent prices are up.
“Car prices are up.
“The price of car maintenance is up.
“Farmers and ranchers are facing higher feed costs.
“Higher fertilizer costs.
“Higher fuel costs.
“Gas prices have increased by $1.37 per gallon since President Biden took office.
“And the price increase for diesel – which powers so much farm and ranch equipment– has been even worse.
“All told, inflation is currently costing the average household a staggering $753 a month.
“Americans can’t afford that.
“It’s no wonder that inflation topped the list of issues Americans were concerned about when they went to the polls.
“Or that 76 percent of voters rated the economy negatively.
“Regardless of who’s in charge over the next two years, Congress needs to spend its time focused on real solutions to our inflation crisis and the other challenges facing our country.
“I want to congratulate our new Republican senators.
“And I look forward to the ideas they will bring to the table and working with them to implement solutions to make life better for American workers and American families.
“Mr. President, it’s been a challenging few years for the American people.
“And there are some very serious issues facing our nation.
“But I have faith in the future.
“Every Congress represents a new start, a chance to chart a fresh vision for our country.
“And I believe that with the right policies, we can get America thriving again.
“I’m ready to get to work.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”