Congressman Dusty Johnson’s Weekly Column: Work is Opportunity

Work is Opportunity
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
August 12, 2021

Like many South Dakotans, I grew up in a working-class family where the value of hard work was instilled in me at a young age. The ability to earn an income and support your family is one of the greatest opportunities America has to offer.

The COVID-19 pandemic hindered this opportunity as businesses and schools closed across the country and many families found themselves hard-pressed financially.

The federal government took unprecedented steps to ensure that those who were most affected by the pandemic could receive assistance. Bipartisan supported programs like the Paycheck Protection Program were temporarily enacted to keep employees on payroll and help those most in need.

Now, in the midst of reopening our nation’s economy, many of the temporary changes are still in place a year and a half later and hindering our recovery efforts.

The following policies are keeping people from returning to work:

  • Work requirements to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits remain repealed.
  • The additional $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits continues in 25 states.
  • The automatically reenrolled advanced payments on the expanded Child Tax Credit have started, laying the foundation for universal basic income, a long-sought goal of socialism supporters.  

There is simply no incentive to work when social safety net programs make it more lucrative to stay at home. This is evident in the fact that the labor participation rate remains near peak-pandemic levels.

However, there was good news this month. After half of the nation’s Republican governors ended the extra federal unemployment benefit, the July jobs report did show a lower unemployment rate than past months.

According to a study by the Foundation for Government Accountability, unemployment claims have declined by 30% in states like South Dakota where additional unemployment benefits have ended. Meanwhile, in states that have kept federal unemployment benefits, new unemployment claims continue to rise. The data doesn’t lie – taking away the incentive curbs unemployment and gets people back to work. That’s why I’ll continue to push my Get Americans Back to Work plan which would end the additional federal supplemental unemployment payment across the board.

The American dream is built on the notion that anyone can succeed if they work hard. Work should not be viewed as a punishment, but rather a way forward.

Work yields opportunity, work enriches communities, and work leads to a more prosperous nation.

Our government should encourage work, rather than disincentivize it.


South Dakota Kristi Noem Country and Dusty Johnson “Tribute” pins now available $10 each

If you’re a button collector or a supporter of Governor Noem and/or Congressman Johnson, here’s an opportunity to show your support for them in style.

I’ve finally received my shipment of the two pins that I’ve created so far through my political business (at Dakota Campaign Store) for pins supporting the candidates in a tribute to some of the best buttons from South Dakota’s past elections.

The first pin is for Governor Kristi Noem, based on one of the best South Dakota Political buttons of the last 50 years. And with our Governor rumored to be a candidate for President in the next presidential race, it might be appropriate.

This 1980 South Dakota – Reagan Country Pin is a tough find, and is valued by collectors nationwide.

So what better pin to give tribute to in an update for 2022 with South Dakota’s current and next Governor:

This 3 inch pin just turned out great (And it’s already getting a thumbs up from collectors)!

One of my personal favorite South Dakota pins is this 1952 pin that I’m trying to chase down and out back into my collection, which should also look familiar to South Dakota’s Teenage Republicans, since “Punchy” the elephant is also the mascot/logo for the TARS:


What better pin to use for a tribute to a young Republican who served as a mentor for the South Dakota TARS for years, South Dakota’s Congressman Dusty Johnson:

The orange on this 3 inch pin does get it noticed!

If you’re a collector, or just want to show your support, the pins are available for $10 each plus $5 shipping. Just drop me a note at [email protected], and I can send you an invoice/link. What else? Yes there is sales tax in SD, and I am happy to combine shipping. Like many South Dakota pins, these are a somewhat limited run, so there’s not going to be a ton of them out there. )

So, whether you want to wear it on your lapel, or put it away in your collection, drop me a note!

Finally! Dusty Johnson and Kristi Noem pins should be available starting next week.

After an entire month of what seemed to be endless production issues (a shortage of the pin backs), two candidate pins I’ve created giving tribute to some of the best South Dakota political pins of the past should be arriving sometime next week:

I’ll have more specifics on cost when I’ve got the real product in hand, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Congressman Dusty Johnson’s Weekly Column: Time for Recess!

Time for Recess!
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
August 6, 2021

Just like any school-aged kid, I love recess. But recess in Congress looks a little different than recess in elementary school.

Every August, Congress “recesses” for the month and members head back to their respective districts for an intensive district work period. For me, that means returning to the great state of South Dakota. While the colloquial term for this August work period is recess, it’s not a break – it’s a time to hear from fellow South Dakotans so I can bring their stories back to Congress. As our state’s sole representative in the House, I strive every day to work as hard as I know so many of you do.

You may remember the summer of 2019 when I hosted more than twenty “Inside Scoop” town halls at local ice cream shops around the state. Over the coming weeks, I will be hosting nine “Inside Scoop” town halls across the state where I will answer questions, address concerns, and listen to the issues you care about, all while enjoying a tasty ice cream treat. I also take the opportunity to share the biggest issues I’m working on in D.C.

Additionally, I will be hosting over a dozen Vietnam Veteran Commemorative Pinning ceremonies throughout the month to recognize our Vietnam veterans who were not properly welcomed home. I take great honor in being able to look these heroes in the eye and thank them for their service—an act that’s long overdue.

In between the Inside Scoops and Vietnam veteran ceremonies, I’m looking forward to attending Dakota Fest, Central States Fair, and the Sioux Empire Fair, as well as touring various businesses and speaking with community groups.

Sitting down with local business owners, chambers of commerce, agriculture producers, educators and healthcare workers really does inform my work in Washington. Just yesterday, I met with healthcare professionals from the Mobridge Regional Hospital, and we discussed my legislation to combat the mental health crisis in America. Hearing about their patients will arm me with the stories to encourage other representatives to sign onto this much-needed proposal and get it across the finish line.

It’s a jam-packed month, but there’s nothing better than being back in South Dakota full-time. I look forward to meeting you this August—I hope you’ll join me!


Congressman Dusty Johnson says we CAN get along, and work for solutions in Washington

The Argus Leader has a USA today article on the efforts that a pair of Congressmen are making to find bi-partisan solutions in Congress for solving our nation’s troubles.  And one of those two Congressmen is South Dakota’s Congressman Dusty Johnson:

As members of that caucus, Johnson and Phillips were key players in the development and passage of a roughly $900 billion bipartisan COVID relief package in December that included another round of direct payments to millions of Americans and added billions to the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses nationwide struggling in the face of the pandemic’s suffocating grip.

“At the end of the day, what our country needs more than anything else is more unlikely friendships,” Phillips said. “And they happen here every day in the strangest moments between the most unlikely people.”

Read that here.

There’s too much of the article that’s quotable, and far too much you should read, so I would encourage you to go do so.

I do note that as part of the article, Dusty notes that part of the problem is that there’s an atmosphere of division in Congress that needs to be bridged, and maybe a bit less bombast needed in our politics:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the freshman Georgia Republican who was stripped of her committee assignments in February for incendiary, conspiratorial and menacing social media posts before she was elected, said she can’t work with Democrats because of their policies which she says border on “communism.”


Johnson said it’s a shame that most of the attention follows members who are outlandish or uncompromising while those who quietly work to reach common ground are often overlooked.

“All of the incentives in the system reward bad behavior, right?” he said. “You can raise a lot more money if you sound like a crazy person. You get a lot more Twitter followers if you sound like a crazy person. And you can get a lot more people at your rallies – and a lot more cable news hits – if you say things that are over the top.”

Read it all here.

Can people bridge the gap and fix Congress? We can hope.

Congressman Dusty Johnson already has note off to raise money from Taffy challenge

Within hours of her submitting the paperwork to the FEC, it looks like Dusty is already pulling Taffy.

Well, pulling the Taffy card as a reason to send out a fundraising e-mail to his supporters in anticipation of an attack strategy that will be coming against him:

“Not all officeholders and candidates focus on getting things done.  A recent TV story about my opponent noted she has a reputation for being on the attack, as opposed to delivering results.  She’s “drawn the ire” of Governor Kristi Noem and has been a “vocal opponent” of our state’s policies.”

Looks like Dusty isn’t going to be shy about pointing out his opponent’s record.

(And if you want to contribute, you can visit )

Congressman Dusty Johnson’s Weekly Column: Mental Health Matters

Mental Health Matters
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
July 30, 2021

In a country where every year there are more than forty thousand suicides and sixty thousand drug overdose deaths, mental health matters.

Our nation has overlooked mental health for too long. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for South Dakotans, which is heartbreaking, unacceptable, and why we must do more.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated the underinvestment in mental healthcare in our country. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, during the height of the pandemic, anxiety and depression symptoms were three to four times higher than the year prior.

Every time our nation faces a tragedy, debate starts over about the need to invest in mental health in order to prevent future tragedy – but action has yet to come at a federal level.

That’s why this week, I introduced the Supporting Underserved Populations by Placing Our Resources in Trusts (SUPPORT) for Mental Health Act along with Representative Kim Schrier, M.D. Our bipartisan bill will allow states to utilize already appropriated unused COVID-19 relief funds to create trusts to support state-based mental and behavioral health services.

Recently, I visited the Link, a new community triage center in Sioux Falls. The Link offers free support services for people living with mental health and substance abuse challenges. I saw firsthand how crucial of an asset this center is to Sioux Falls and surrounding communities.

The trust established by the state through the SUPPORT for Mental Health Act would be able to provide financial support to the Link and similar facilities across South Dakota.

Additionally, these trusts could be used to help fund services such as suicide prevention, crisis counseling, inpatient and outpatient programs.

With an estimated $1 trillion in COVID-19 relief still left unspent, this straightforward, common-sense approach will begin a serious investment in mental health resources for people across South Dakota and the United States.


Congressman Dusty Johnson’s Weekly Column: Ready, Set, Code!

Ready, Set, Code!
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
July 23, 2021

Some of my favorite memories growing up was when school closed for a snow day. But watching the snow pile up outside while waiting for news from the Pierre school district was agonizing as a young kid.

Thanks to Samyok Nepal, a student from Brookings High School, he and his fellow classmates do not have to wait with the same anticipation.

That’s because Samyok designed Bobcat Notify, an app to alert students of snow days.

Samyok won last year’s Congressional App Challenge for South Dakota. I was truly impressed by the innovative ideas and caliber of app designs we received from students like Samyok during our first annual competition.

This week, my office launched our second annual App Challenge, which is open to all middle and high school students. You don’t have to be an expert coder to join the competition – we are looking for students of all skill levels, regardless of coding experience.

The App Challenge is a fun opportunity for young people to learn coding and pique their interest in pursuing a STEM-related career.

STEM is a rapidly growing field that pays well. But more importantly, our collective success in STEM is imperative to our prosperity as a nation in the future. For the United States to keep its competitive edge over China, we must focus on bridging the skills gap and encouraging more young people to get involved in STEM.

As someone who comes from a background in telecommunications, I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of innovators and I look forward to seeing the array of talent and creativity from students across South Dakota.

Students interested in participating must submit their app through the Congressional App Challenge website by November 1st.

Ready, set, code!