Sen. John Thune
The United States is long overdue for a major tax reform bill. After eight years of economic weakness, we need a tax code that works for workers and job creators, not against them. Our current tax code is strangling business growth, job creation, and higher wages. Our nation has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, putting American businesses at a competitive disadvantage in the global economy. Meanwhile, small businesses and family farms face high tax rates and other burdensome tax policies that make it difficult for them to expand and create new jobs.
By now, most folks across the state probably know that South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSM&T) President Dr. Heather Wilson was recently confirmed by the Senate to serve as the next secretary of the U.S. Air Force. I proudly supported her nomination, as did Republicans and Democrats from all corners of the country. The strong bipartisan support for her nomination is emblematic of her long list of qualifications for the job.
If you live in South Dakota, you know how quickly the weather can change. One minute it’s warm and sunny, and in the blink of an eye, you’re in the middle of a torrential downpour. From harsh winters to hot summers, we get a little of everything. And as folks in some parts of South Dakota recently discovered, it doesn’t matter what the calendar says, winter will end when it’s good and ready.
The University of South Dakota’s (USD’s) Derek Miles has been known for a lot of things over the years, including being a father, husband, athlete, coach, and Olympian, just to name a few. Now, nearly a decade after competing in the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, he will be forever and finally known as an Olympic medalist. While nothing can replace standing on the podium in Beijing, I think Derek would agree that getting to share this special moment with friends, family, and the USD community will be a memory not soon forgotten.
Let’s be honest, no one enjoys paying taxes. While that might be the understatement of the century, it’s worth pointing out now that tax season is upon us once again. April is typically enjoyed for other, more enjoyable seasons, like the return of spring or Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, a lot of Americans spend a significant amount of time figuring out whether a return is headed their way or if they’ve struck out with the IRS and will need to write a check to Uncle Sam.
South Dakotans are well aware of the uniqueness that each season of the year brings to the state. From spring’s planting season to fall’s hunting season and everything else in between, there’s always something to do or see. South Dakotans who travel to our nation’s capital in the spring or summer, or any of time year for that matter, will discover similarly unique experiences.
The old expression about "wearing something on your sleeve" took on a bit of a literal connotation during a recent meeting I had with former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. Shortly after he was nominated to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, I had the opportunity to visit with him in my office in Washington, D.C. When he strolled in wearing cowboy boots and a necktie covered in pheasants, I knew we were going to get along.
I can't think of a more personal aspect of someone's life than that of his or her doctor-patient relationship and the decisions they make together. Whether it's a routine exam or a serious surgery or treatment, each decision — however large or small — can have a lasting effect on an individual and his or her family. The most important and fundamental part of this, of course, is first having access to affordable health care so these relationships can be built and the care can be delivered.
When Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly passed away last year, the country lost more than veteran of the Supreme Court. It lost a man who was universally respected by his colleagues in the courtroom, both behind and in front of the bench, and a man who will undoubtedly go down as one of the most brilliant legal minds in American history. Justice Scalia's reverence for the law and Constitution was as evident in his written work as it was in his methodical and oftentimes witty oratory. He loved the court and his country, and his shoes will be big ones to fill.
The Republican-led Congress heard the American people loud and clear on Obamacare. The law is broken beyond repair, and Americans are looking for a better, more patient-centered approach. According to a recent poll, 80 percent of Americans want to see the law substantially changed or repealed and replaced entirely. In South Dakota alone, I've heard from hundreds of people who have been negatively affected by Obamacare, and it is heart wrenching to read some of their stories.