Rep. Kristi Noem
I love what Bridger Gordon, a student from Whitewood, wrote about agriculture: "Agriculture encompasses — and enhances — the environment, harnessing soil, water, sunlight to produce food, habitat, employment." That observation helped Bridger win a national essay contest this year, which came with a $1,000 prize and a trip to Washington, DC, to celebrate National Ag Day on March 21.
When we talk about health care, we're talking about something that is very personal to people. It's why I've so often looked for ways to put you, the patient, in control of your own health care. Since Obamacare came into play, however, rising costs, shrinking options and increased bureaucratic involvement has resulted in control being taken away from patients and their doctors.
There is no role more directly within the federal government's jurisdiction than ensuring our nation's security. Our Constitution was written to assure that "We the People ... in Order to ... insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence ... and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution ..."
My dad woke up at the crack of dawn almost every day in pursuit of his American Dream to build a farm large enough that his kids could grow up and farm together, if we wanted to. It's the same reason most parents get up and go to work every morning; they're trying to give their kids something they didn't have.
March 4, 1797, marked one of the most important days in American history: the inauguration of our second president and the first transition of power.
Expectations are high for the 115th Congress, which was sworn in the first week of January, but I'm optimistic that we've matched those expectations with an aggressive, common sense agenda. More importantly, there has been no hesitation in getting to work on that agenda. Less than 100 hours from the time I took the Oath of Office for the fourth time, the House of Representatives passed the REINS Act, a bill I cosponsored to stop the overreach of federal regulators.
The swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 3 marked the official start of the 115th Congress, but our work to prepare for these next two years has been ongoing for months. Last summer, House Republicans introduced a once-in-a-generation blueprint for the reforms we feel are necessary to move this country forward. In late December after most of Congress had gone home for the holidays, I — along with just 23 other members of the House Ways and Means Committee — came back to Washington, D.C. to hammer out two critical sections of this blueprint: tax reform and health care reform.
One of my favorite times of the year farming was the day we started to put the seed in the ground, because on that day, the seed had every opportunity to produce a high-yielding harvest. The next few months would require hard work to help that seed mature — and we'd need to pray that factors outside our control would cooperate as well — but that was all yet to come; planting was a day of hope and opportunity.
Being South Dakota's lone voice in the U.S. House of Representatives has been the honor of a lifetime. With the current administration in place, progress on big issues — like tax reform and the repeal and replacement of Obamacare — has been slow, but I'm confident change will come soon. Still, many things have been accomplished. In fact, during the 114th Congress, we were able to come together on the more than 240 bills that were signed into law.
It's no wonder why more than half of Americans oppose Obamacare. Week after week, I talk with South Dakotans who are seeing their health insurance premiums increase by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars per year. Despite the cost hikes, many are also finding that the 2017 options have larger deductibles, which often translates into higher out-of-pocket expenses too. Like I said, it's no wonder.