Dusty Goes to Washington
By Representative Dusty Johnson
Back in November, I was first struck by the unabashed enthusiasm my colleagues expressed during the office lottery – a relatively mundane process where future members of Congress select their office space in an order depending on a number picked at random.
I have never been a big pomp-and-circumstance guy, nor am I formal. Now, I find myself in a building where strangers call me sir. There are elevators reserved for members of Congress to get to the House floor as quickly as possible. Turns out, there are also hidden staircases and tunnels to take so you can avoid the D.C. “winter” outside.
So you could imagine it was quite overwhelming and humbling for me to walk on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives with my three boys – Max, Ben and Owen – last Thursday to be sworn in as South Dakota’s lone congressman. For kids that have a hard time sitting still in church, I was particularly impressed my six year old sat for more than three hours as the Clerk went through floor proceedings. (Also thankful they didn’t land me on C-SPAN’s version of the Not Top Ten.) Seeing my kids raise their right hands, together, as I took my oath of office is a memory that will last a lifetime. I imagine it will be a lasting memory for them as well.
The past week has been a bit of a whirlwind but throughout every moment, I have kept South Dakota’s interests at the forefront. We must re-open the government. However, I am not interested in voting for legislation that has zero chance of becoming law. South Dakotans deserve better. We must remain steadfast in seeking common ground that not only re-opens the government, but improves the security of our nation.
I was proud to oppose legislation that would allow the House to increase taxes without approval from three-fifths of the representatives. We should be working on how the federal government can more effectively use taxpayer dollars, not find a way to take even more of Americans’ hard-earned money.
While Washington has its quirks, and certainly pales in comparison to South Dakota, I could not be more honored to serve you and our great state. I am eager to get to work on your behalf and look forward to your feedback in the weeks and months to come.
And please, call me Dusty.