South Dakota is a beacon of Freedom – an example of the good that comes from trusting people to exercise personal responsibility. And now, we’re setting an example by drawing the blueprint for a state-led response to the Chinese Communist Party. We first drew that blueprint in our COVID-19 response. We expanded it by banning TikTok for government devices. And we will add to it by blocking Communist China from buying South Dakota ag land, participating in state contracts, or infiltrating our telecommunications.
The Chinese Communist Party is trying to infiltrate every aspect of our way of life, and we have a president with no interest in stopping them. That was made clear when President Biden did nothing to stop a Chinese spy balloon that spent days hovering over the American homeland until it crossed the entire country. . It is up to governors to step up and take the lead. This is South Dakota’s blueprint: More Freedom, Less China.
When China unleashed the COVID-19 virus on the world, countries and states locked down thinking they had no other choice. South Dakota made another choice. I respected the Constitution. I respected the liberty that our nation was built on. I respected Freedom. I was the only governor who never ordered a single business or church to close – I don’t believe governors have the authority to decide what businesses are essential. And South Dakota came out of the pandemic with the strongest economy in America, the fastest growing incomes, and the fastest growth in new housing developments.
We rejected the Communist model.
COVID-19 wasn’t the only thing China exported in 2020. That’s when TikTok became the most downloaded app worldwide, and every single phone that downloads the app is essentially a new spy device for the CCP. I signed an Executive Order banning TikTok for state government. We took action to protect the personal information of our citizens. The nation was quick to follow our lead. Nearly 30 states have taken action against TikTok, and Congress has banned it for U.S. government devices.
TikTok isn’t the only Chinese company posing a threat to our national security. I signed an Executive Order banning state government from doing business with certain telecommunications companies associated 6 evil foreign governments, including China.
The next part of the blueprint may be the most important yet. If Communist China controls America’s food supply, they control us. They own over 350,000 acres of American ag land. Last year, they purchased land in North Dakota with clear ulterior motives. We cannot let that happen in South Dakota, especially with Ellsworth Air Force Base becoming the one and only home of the new B-21 bomber. China will want intel on that bomber, so we have to be proactive to protect it.
This legislative session, I’m working with legislators to block nations that hate us from purchasing South Dakota ag land . By creating a Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States – South Dakota, we will rely on ag experts, national and state security experts, and legal counsel to review any purchases, leases, and transfers of ag land in the state. Purchases made by foreign entities will be brought to my desk, and I’ll ensure purchases from our enemies don’t go forward. The country is looking to South Dakota, and if we fail here, it will have a negative effect across the nation.
States must stand up for the security of their people. I will use my authority to advance the blueprint of a state-led response to the Chinese Communist threat. I will continue to put South Dakota first and America first – and I hope other states will keep following that lead.