US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: The Future of South Dakota is Bright

Rounds Logo 2016 MikeRounds official SenateThe Future of South Dakota is Bright
By Senator Mike Rounds

This time of year, many South Dakota young people are preparing to enter a new chapter of life. High school graduates will soon leave home for the first time to attend college or technical school, and college graduates are putting their hard-earned degrees to use by entering the workforce. It makes me proud to see so many young South Dakotans pursue an education and advance their careers.

I was also impressed by the young people I recently met at Boys State and Girls State. Boys State and Girls State are weeklong leadership programs, hosted by the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary, where some of the top students in the state gather to learn more about the political process and public service. It was great to see so many ambitious, talented South Dakota high school students and hear their ideas for making our state an even better place to call home. During our visit, I shared with them my hope that they would stay in South Dakota, make a home here and continue to enrich our communities.

South Dakota is a great place to live, work and raise a family. Jean and I have lived in South Dakota our entire lives, and we cannot think of a better place to call home.  Our way of life here is second to none. We still do business with a handshake, can count on our neighbors in times of need and have strong morals and values that guide our day-to-day life.

It is also a great place to work. According to Forbes Magazine, South Dakota is the number one state for business. Unlike many major urban centers across the country, our cities and towns are home to thriving small businesses.

Additionally, our tax rate is very low. This means that hard-working South Dakotans get to take home more of their paycheck each month. That is money that can be used to buy a home, save for the future, raise a family or be reinvested back into our economy. In fact, South Dakota has the fifth highest per capita disposable income, adjusted for cost of living, in the entire country. According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, we also have the best business climate for entrepreneurs who are interested in starting their own companies.

When I am working in Washington, it is easy to get frustrated by partisan gridlock and political rancor. That’s why it is so refreshing to be home on weekends and spend our constituent work periods traveling the state, where common sense prevails and things get done.

It is also refreshing to see so many young and talented South Dakotans excited about their futures and the future of our state. As they grow into young adults and position themselves to become our next leaders, I hope they consider a life in South Dakota. Not only is it a great place to work and start a career, it offers a quality of life in which families can thrive and prosper.

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