A Week of Firsts
After seven consecutive weeks of session in Washington, DC, I was grateful to spend a full week working back in beautiful South Dakota. My first in-state work week was full of “firsts.”
To kick off the week, I spent time at the state legislative session. A number of key agriculture and education leaders wanted to discuss my committee assignments and what issues are on the agenda over the next few months. I also enjoyed speaking with legislators from both chambers and both parties. My message was simple: I look forward to supporting our state’s legislators and Governor Noem at the federal level. We need to provide states the additional authority needed to innovate and problem solve.
I strive to be as accessible as possible for my bosses in the state – the people of South Dakota. That is why it was important to me to host a town hall during my first week of work in the district. Q&A’s and conversations are crucial to my work. I can’t do my job to the best of my ability if I don’t know how issues affect individuals and families back home. From trade to food stamps, I heard a variety of questions, concerns and thoughts from the folks in Aberdeen. It was made clear to me South Dakotans are concerned about the uncertainty of ongoing trade negotiations, and this will continue to be a priority for me.
On Thursday, I traveled to Sioux Falls to tour Southeast Technical Institute and meet with students and faculty. There are hundreds of open jobs in South Dakota, many of them skilled worker positions, which is why the education offered at our technical schools is imperative to our state’s success. Southeast Tech is one of the nation’s top institutions for innovation and automotive technologies and has a range of programs from nursing to law enforcement training. I have to admit, though that I found the robot mannequins used in the nursing labs to be a bit creepy. I left Southeast Tech feeling energized about the potential our state’s technical schools have to fill our workforce needs.
In another set of “firsts,” we held official ribbon cutting ceremonies for our Rapid City and Aberdeen regional offices. There were packed houses at both openings, and it was great to see so many folks come out and welcome us into their communities. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to swing by one of my district offices, say hi and keep us in the loop on news we should be aware of. You can find addresses for my three South Dakota offices on my website (dustyjohnson.house.gov).
To wrap up the first district work week, I spent Friday evening at the Ellsworth Air Force Base Annual Awards Banquet. South Dakota’s relationship with the Air Force is at an all-time high with Heather Wilson (former President of the School of Mines and Technology) leading the charge as Secretary of the Air Force. I will continue a close working relationship with the Air Force going forward. I, as well as my Senate colleagues, will enthusiastically advocate for Ellsworth’s continued success.