Getting settled and accepting the realities of new responsibilities in this year’s legislative session was evident in the pace of work this week. Returning for my second term (third session), the environment and work is like the previous sessions, but new responsibilities emerge as new members of the House desire mentoring and direction. My Commerce and Energy Committee chairmanship requires more organization of my time and focus. The opportunity to be in this role is rewarding, humbling, and an honor to do so.
The week started with a very positive speech from Governor Noem with her State of the State address on Tuesday. The principles of having the opportunity for residents to build the American Dream in South Dakota, having programs to promote Stronger Families in our state, and policies to secure South Dakota, resonated strongly with the audience. The administration, with legislator support, will introduce legislation that will try to further accomplish these goals. The legislature will have a robust debate about sales tax cuts, workforce initiatives, economic development efforts, family leave programs for employees, and more as session progresses. It’s an exciting and somewhat laborious process but the challenges are present, and it will be very interesting (and sometimes intense) as the session progresses.
As a family man and small businessman for many years, I tend to see legislation and programs through that lens. Reflecting on the many business cycles throughout my career, I can’t help but think of the long-term effects and consequences of decisions (votes) that I will make this year. I believe you hired me for this job based on my character and judgement. I will consider many perspectives this session, as decisions present themselves. That being said, I look forward to your questions, constructive conversations, and comments as we navigate the issues. Thank you, I appreciate the opportunity to serve.