US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Election Wrap up and Look Ahead

Election Wrap up and Look Ahead
By U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) 

As Americans, we recently participated in one of our country’s most sacred traditions: voting for our state, local and federal elected officials. Closely coinciding with Veterans Day, we also recognize that it is because of our men and women in uniform that we are able to participate in our election process. Like so many elections past, the 2018 election was filled with seemingly endless advertisements, unexpected twists, some upsets and many long hours on the campaign trail for the candidates and their teams.

In South Dakota, voter turnout was nearly 10 percentage points higher this year than our last midterm election. We made history by electing our first female governor, Kristi Noem. South Dakotans also overwhelmingly voted in Dusty Johnson to be our next Congressman. Congratulations to them and to all the candidates who won their races this year. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with both Kristi and Dusty over the years, and I look forward to continue working with them to advance South Dakota priorities and improve the quality of life for hardworking families.

It takes courage to run for elected office. To all candidates who put their names on the ballot, no matter what the outcome, we thank you. To those who volunteered for campaigns, worked on campaigns or supported candidates throughout the process, we thank you. And to all who voted to make their voice heard, weespecially thank you. Our election process is only as good as the men and women who participate in it.

Campaigns often highlight divisions between candidates and parties, for obvious reasons. With the election now behind us, it is time to put our differences aside and work together on the most pressing issues before our country. All sides of the political spectrum can agree that we want to work toward policies that make us safer, stronger and more prosperous for the future.

In the immediate future, Congress must still complete its work on the farm bill, which provides our farmers and ranchers with much-needed stability and certainty. We must also work to finalize trade deals and open new markets to sell our products. While we made significant process this year on getting our appropriation work done on time, a number of appropriations bills are operating under a Continuing Resolution until December 7, thus requiring Congressional action to prevent a partial shutdown of government services. Additionally, South Dakota families continue to be concerned about rising health care costs, largely due to failing Obamacare policies. Recent discussions about birthright citizenship and the caravan of Central Americans headed to the U.S. have highlighted the need for comprehensive immigration reform that is merit-based, prioritizes border security and reduces chain migration. And we are constantly working to make certain our military remains the strongest, most powerful force in the world. To be the most successful at addressing these issues, it will require all sides to work in good faith and with respect for opposing viewpoints. We are Americans first, and we must always remember that what unites us is far more powerful than the issues that divide us.

I look forward to welcoming our newly-elected officials in the coming months and continuing to work to make South Dakota and America even stronger and better than it is today.