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South Dakota:
Under God, the People Rule

speeches & Columns

Thanksgiving - A Time for Family & Fellowship

November 18, 2022
The first American Thanksgiving was a celebration of unity across cultures and races. Two cultures who did not know each other gathered together to have a meal and engage in fellowship. I hope that our kids learn this as part of our nation’s true and honest history. Read more . . .

Veterans are Heroes

November 11, 2022
I am proud to be Governor of the best state in America to live, work, and retire as a veteran. That’s important – the state that sets the gold standard for Freedom should also lead the way in honoring those who defend our Freedoms. In the last four years, we found new ways to honor our veterans. In my second term, we will continue to build on those successes and honor the men and women who served us. Read more . . .

Building the Strongest Economy in America

November 4, 2022
If you look across the nation, economic growth has ground to a halt. The price of everyday items – like milk, eggs, and pretty much everything else – has skyrocketed, making it harder for families to make ends meet. 38% of Americans point to “economic problems” as “the most important problem facing the country today.” In this tumultuous sea of negative economic news, South Dakota stands tall as a lighthouse – an example that Freedom and personal responsibility lead to sustained economic growth. Read more . . .

Stronger Families – Stronger Communities

October 28, 2022
I recently met with several childcare providers in Sioux Falls to discuss challenges their industry faces. One of the biggest challenges to filling the available jobs across our state is the lack of available childcare, and I knew that our childcare providers would be best at finding solutions to increase access and affordability. Read more . . .

Economic Growth the South Dakota Way

October 21, 2022
It’s no secret that costs are rising in just about every aspect of our daily lives. We’ve talked quite a bit about the skyrocketing cost of food and gas, and our businesses are facing these challenges, too. Rising costs can create a lack of predictability about the future. Thankfully, over the past few years, South Dakota has built an economic climate that shores up that predictability by creating steady growth. Read more . . .

A Tradition for the Next Generation

October 14, 2022
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family full of sportsmen and women. While my dad fostered my love for hunting, it was my grandmother, Dorris, who made bird hunting such a big part of our family tradition. Read more . . .

Breaking Tourism Records

October 7, 2022
The record-breaking pace continues for South Dakota’s tourism industry – even with high inflation raising gas prices for visitors to our state. We recently rounded up Custer State Park’s famous buffalo herd (although I didn’t get to ride in the Buffalo Roundup this year like I normally do). The event drew another 20,000 attendees from across the country and around the globe. It was a perfect capstone to another record-breaking tourism season. Read more . . .

Saving South Dakota Families

September 30, 2022
South Dakotans don’t ask much from their government. They just want the Freedom to live their lives and for the government to guarantee a level playing field with common sense rules for everyone to play by. As I travel our beautiful state, I hear from South Dakotans who are grateful for that Freedom. But many of them are struggling under the weight of inflation caused by President Biden’s extremist policies. They ask me what can be done to give them relief. Read more . . .

Our Rural Way of Life

September 23, 2022
When I first ran for Governor, South Dakota needed new opportunities. For years, our economic growth had not kept up with the nation. Young South Dakotans were too often leaving our state to pursue college or a career. Cities like Sioux Falls were growing, but our rural communities were slowly falling behind. Read more . . .

The Best State In the Country to Do Business

September 16, 2022
2022 is on track to be another fantastic year for economic investment in South Dakota. Since I took office, I have championed our state as the best place in the country to do business. We had all the ingredients to succeed, even before the COVID pandemic hit, but now we’re breaking records for economic growth and business investment. Read more . . .

Defending Our Constitution

September 9, 2022
Our nation loves to celebrate holidays. Today, I want to talk about one day that does not get enough attention: September 17, Constitution Day. Read more . . .

Celebrating Hard Work

September 2, 2022
The beginning of September brings us to Labor Day weekend and the start of Workforce Development Month across the country. While America celebrates a national holiday, South Dakota has even more to celebrate. Our state has shown the rest of the country what hard work can do for an economy. Read more . . .

Public Safety Impacts All of Us

August 26, 2022
When I was younger my dad always said, “Kristi, we don’t complain about things. We fix them.” As Governor, I focus on fixing problems for our state every day, especially when it comes to public safety. I consistently look for new ways to make our communities safer. Read more . . .

Raising the Bar

August 19, 2022
I’ve never been the type to settle for “good enough.” No matter what I’m doing, I try to strive for excellence. That’s all the more true when it comes to policies that impact our kids. Everything that I do as Governor is to make our state safer, stronger, and healthier for our kids and our grandkids, and I want to set the bar. We should set an example for the entire nation and send the message that South Dakota pursues excellence for our kids. Read more . . .

Fast Bikes, Fresh Air, & Freedom

August 12, 2022
For more than 80 years, late summer has brought thousands of motorcycles to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Bikers come from across the country – and around the world – to participate in the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. They bring with them their money, supporting our local businesses and helping our state revenues. And they enjoy the beauty and freedom that South Dakota has to offer. Read more . . .

Starting the Conversation

August 5, 2022
Hope has power – it drives us to achieve incredible things that we never thought possible or endure difficulties that previous seemed insurmountable. Unfortunately, for the same reasons, hopelessness can hold tremendous power over a person’s life, too. Too often, that loss of hope leads to suicide, a suicide that is entirely preventable. Suicide is a growing public health issue in our country and in South Dakota, and it affects each of our lives in some way. Read more . . .

Cautiously Optimistic: South Dakota’s Finances and the Future

July 22, 2022
Earlier this week, the State of South Dakota closed the financial books for fiscal year 2022 with a record-breaking $115.5 million surplus. This historic surplus was a combination of revenues unexpectedly being $72.3 million above what was adopted by the legislature this past session and the general fund budget for state government operations having expenses $43.2 million less than budgeted. Read more . . .

Lt. Gov. Rhoden: In Honor of All Fathers

July 17, 2022
Family is important. President Ronald Reagan once said, “if the family goes, so goes our civilization.” Read more . . .

Visiting Mothers and Their Newborn Children in Our State Prisons: Hope for the Future

July 15, 2022
In my four years as Governor, I have focused on finding ways that our programs can positively impact the next generation. This goes beyond reading about what state government does—I go out and see these programs for myself so I can understand exactly what we can do to improve them. Read more . . .

Building Stronger Families Together

July 8, 2022
Strong families are the foundation of our communities and the backbone of our state. We need to continue to work together to support families across the state to ensure a brighter future for all of South Dakota. Since taking office, I have prioritized standing up for families across South Dakota, recognizing that stronger families will build stronger communities. Read more . . .

Land of the Free Because of the Brave

July 1, 2022
The patriotism South Dakotans display on the Fourth of July has deep roots in our state’s history. In fact, we waved the Stars and Stripes before we even became a state! The Dakota Territory in the 1880s stood out for its love for civic virtue, and historians recount how few holidays rated higher than Independence Day to the settlers. Those same historians note that this ingrained love for America explains why so many South Dakotans served in the World Wars, and why we as a state revere our veterans. Read more . . .

Helping Moms and Babies

June 24, 2022
Today, the Supreme Court announced something that countless Americans have prayed for over the past 50 years: they reversed the Roe v. Wade decision and allowed states to make their own choices over abortion policy. In South Dakota, we have a law on the books that makes abortion illegal immediately, except to preserve the life of the mother. Read more . . .

Old Glory, Eternal Glory

June 10, 2022
On June 14th each year, we celebrate the American Flag as an enduring symbol of freedom, equality, justice, and hope. Our flag is more than a symbol of our country’s core values — it also represents the toil and sacrifice of so many who have worked to lift America to the top of the world stage. Read more . . .

What Happened to America?

June 3, 2022
Before the pandemic struck, America was experiencing a resurgence in global economic and political strength that hadn’t been seen since World War II. We had the lowest unemployment rate in more than 50 years – including record-high employment rates for Black and Hispanic Americans. We became the global leader in energy production. We were the third-largest exporter of cars and the second-largest producer of auto parts. It’s simple – we were putting America first. Read more . . .

Their Sacrifice is a Call for Us to Serve

May 27, 2022
If you ever visit South Dakota’s State Capitol, I hope you take the time to visit the veterans’ memorial down by Capitol Lake. While this memorial is dedicated to all veterans who have served, there is a portion specifically dedicated to the more than 300 South Dakotans killed in the Korean and Vietnam wars. To one side there is an inscription: May we ever protect the freedoms for which they fought. Read more . . .

South Dakota is a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary

May 20, 2022
Over the past two years, America has seen some of the most concerning attacks on freedom in our history. Governments seized previously unimagined power over our day-to-day lives. Churches were forced to close, forsaking freedom of religion. Big tech and government alike attempted to police speech, something that is supposed to be free for all. Read more . . .

South Dakota Strong

May 13, 2022
Nature has a way of humbling us, of stepping into our lives with previously unthought power and reminding us what truly matters. That's how I felt these past two days while surveying storm damage across much of South Dakota. Read more . . .

South Dakota Loves the Outdoors

May 6, 2022
When you think about South Dakota, you can’t help but picture the great outdoors. The beautiful Black Hills, with their mix of mountain ranges and rolling prairies. The mighty Missouri River — winding across the state and feeding thousands of miles of riverbed and streams. The picturesque Prairie Lakes and the wide-open fields that I call home. From the Badlands to farmlands, we’ve got plenty of reasons to go outside. Read more . . .

Go Big, Go South Dakota Tourism

April 29, 2022
There has never been a better time to talk about tourism in South Dakota. May 1-7 is National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) across the country. In South Dakota, we celebrate the Great Faces, Great Places that make our state the greatest vacation destination in America. Read more . . .

Opportunity, Not Difficulty

April 22, 2022
An optimistic mindset can change more than just how we see the world – it can change everything about our lives. Winston Churchill summed up how when he said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Two years ago, when the pandemic made its way to America, states across this country shut their doors out of fear. All but one. South Dakota built opportunity out of that difficulty, and the result is a booming economy — the strongest in the nation. Read more . . .

The Week to Celebrate Life

April 14, 2022
Everywhere we turn, we see symbols of renewal and rebirth. Spring snows blanket Custer State Park while buffalo calves are being born on the prairie. Elsewhere, the snow has turned to rain showers — a blessing to all, especially our farmers preparing the fields for spring planting. Read more . . .

The Lessons of History

April 8, 2022
I love learning about history. When I see the granite faces on Mount Rushmore, I always want to learn more about the men enshrined there. When I walk through downtown Rapid City and see the bronze statues of our presidents, I want to learn more about each of their successes and failures. I love the stories — and we can learn powerful lessons from those stories. Read more . . .

Serving Veterans, Supporting Soldiers

April 1, 2022
April marks Month of the Military Child, an annual celebration where communities across the country lift up the sons and daughters of our military heroes. During this time, we remember that the men and women in uniform are not the only ones who sacrifice for our country – their families sacrifice time together. Sometimes they even sacrifice the life of their loved ones. Read more . . .

Taking Care of People

March 25, 2022
South Dakota is in the middle of a healthcare boom. While the strain of the pandemic has challenged this industry across the country, our state has remained resilient. A new study from WalletHub ranked South Dakota the No. 1 best state for doctors to work in. Last year, that same firm ranked our state in the Top 10 for work environment for nurses. Read more . . .

The Hope of Springtime

March 18, 2022
Sunday, March 20 marks the first day of Spring — at 10:33 a.m. CT/9:33 a.m. MT precisely, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. Spring is a crucial season for both of our state’s two largest industries: agriculture and tourism. Read more . . .

South Dakota: The State for Business

March 11, 2022
During my first State of the State address, I announced I wanted South Dakota to lead the nation, raising the bar in everything we do. We immediately got to work on that, earning big wins like Constitutional Carry and the Second Century Initiative to grow pheasant and wildlife habitat. Now, South Dakota will raise the bar in economic development. Read more . . .

Two Years Later…

March 4, 2022
They say hindsight is 20-20. Looking back at the year 2020 in hindsight, we now can say that South Dakota consistently made the right decisions during the pandemic. After all, our path has led us to the strongest economy in America, and we took care of people along the way. But with the two-year anniversary of COVID in South Dakota coming up, I want to dive deeper into how I made those pandemic-related decisions at the time I made them – without the benefit of hindsight. Read more . . .

Mandate Freedom

February 11, 2022
When the federal government oversteps its bounds, it is up to states to protect individual liberties. In South Dakota, we take action to defend the personal choice to get the COVID-19 vaccine—or not. And with good reason. Read more . . .

Why Putting America First Matters to South Dakota

January 28, 2022
In his first hours in office just over one year ago, President Joe Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and delivered a severe blow to South Dakota families and American energy independence. A few months later, President Biden opened the door for the construction of a Russian pipeline, delivering a costly gift to a dangerous adversary. Read more . . .

In South Dakota, we protect life

January 21, 2022
It is no mistake that when Thomas Jefferson declared all men are endowed with the "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," LIFE came first. The Constitution clearly delegates defending the lives and safety of the people to the government as its chief role. That includes defending the rights and the lives of unborn children. Read more . . .

Fairness in Girls' Sports Matters

January 14, 2022
This week, the 2022 legislative session kicked off, and I presented my State of the State address to the people of South Dakota. I described how South Dakota is stronger than it has ever been in its 133-year history. This did not happen because of what government did. It happened because of what government did NOT do. To preserve what we have and grow even stronger, we need to remember why government exists in the first place – to protect the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Read more . . .

That won't happen here

December 17, 2021
For generations, South Dakotans have held true to the values that make our state a special place to call home. I spend every day working to keep South Dakota a special place to live and strengthen it for the future. By doing so, South Dakota sets an example for the nation. Read more . . .

Budgeting for the future

December 12, 2021
This week, I outlined my budget recommendations for how we will run our state in the next fiscal year. The past year has brought historic challenges. South Dakota has taken those challenges in stride and has come out stronger. Read more . . .

Caught in a Self-Inflicted Energy Crisis

December 3, 2021
The United States faces a federal-government-created energy crisis, and South Dakota is caught in the middle of it. Gas prices continue to rise, driving up the cost of shipping and making it more expensive to visit loved ones over the holidays. As we enter the winter season, Americans are outraged by the rising cost to heat their homes. Read more . . .

Help Wanted? Try These Resources

November 26, 2021
It’s the holiday season 2021 and—just about everywhere you look—businesses are hiring. “Help Wanted” signs dot store windows in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and all points in-between. For the past two months, the South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation has posted between 20,000 and 31,000 active jobs on their (DLR) website. That’s good news for our state as unemployment numbers remain well below the national average. Read more . . .

Under God, the People Gather and Give Thanks

November 19, 2021
Thanksgiving is a time of unity. It is a time of gathering friends, family, and sometimes newcomers into your home. Somewhere along the way, America began to forget what the true meaning of Thanksgiving is. Read more . . .

A little goes a long way during this Season of Giving

November 12, 2021
The season of giving is here and there are numerous organizations that South Dakotans support in their communities. Food pantries, shelters for women and children, clothing drives, and toy drives are all causes that fill our hearts while helping those less fortunate, especially during the holiday season. Read more . . .

South Dakota's Treats this Halloween Season

October 29, 2021
It’s Halloween weekend and there is a seasonal chill in the air. There’s also a chill affecting American confidence in our economy. With an unfocused White House in charge, gas prices climbing, and supply chain issues clogging our ports, many Americans feel like the country has become a House of Horrors with a new crisis lurking around every corner. Read more . . .

It's National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October 15, 2021
I've spent a lot of time lately talking about South Dakota being ranked one of the hardest working states in the nation. And we continue to be the number one state for economic recovery — Moody's Analytics has our economy operating at 105% on its "Back to Normal Index". Despite all these positive economic indicators, businesses here are still struggling with a common challenge: workforce shortages. Read more . . .

Pheasant hunting is a tradition worth preserving

October 1, 2021
From the Black Hills to the eastern plains, the familiar sound of shotgun blasts can usually be heard popping in the distance. It's hunting season and we are starting to get into my favorite time of year: pheasant season. Read more . . .

A responsibility to be smart with taxpayer dollars

September 17, 2021
Do you find yourself wondering where your tax dollars go? In South Dakota, the simple answer is to education, health care, public safety, and other state government operations. But if you really want to talk dollars and cents, I can break it down for you using the change you find in your couch cushions. Read more . . .

9/11 anniversary and the lesson every generation must learn

September 10, 2021
I heard about it on the radio. The fall morning of Sept. 11, 2001, was a regular day driving in my truck to the family farm. Until it wasn't. The first reports were coming through my pickup truck's speakers: an airplane has flown into the World Trade Center in New York City. Read more . . .

Conservative Principles Restrain Government, Not Expand Its Powers

August 27, 2021
We are now seeing a battle in the Republican Party between the populist wing and traditional limited government conservatism. So-called conservatives want to regulate businesses to prevent them from requiring a Covid vaccine as a condition of employment, but my beliefs do not allow me to waive the constitution because I disagree with a private business. Read more . . .

South Dakota is a Rising Star as a Recovery Leader

August 20, 2021
It may not surprise many here at home, but South Dakota is leading the nation in recovery! Moody’s Analytics and CNN track how far along the nation’s economy is at getting “Back to Normal,” and they say that the US is only 92 percent recovered. But South Dakota is the top ranked state in this metric at 113 percent, meaning we’ve more than recovered and are growing substantially! Second-place Idaho is far behind us at just 103 percent. Read more . . .

They Come to Sturgis (and South Dakota) for Freedom

August 13, 2021
The Sturgis Rally is one of the biggest gatherings for motorcycle enthusiasts in the world. While the rally has always promoted an independent spirit, these past two years have taken on a new meaning of freedom. Read more . . .

Back-to-School for students, teachers, and parents

August 6, 2021
It's back-to-school season; a busy time filled with excitement for students and teachers, as well as parents eager to snap those "first day of school" photos. The outpouring of positivity for students at every grade level has always been a great way to kickstart the school year. Read more . . .

Great Places

July 23, 2021
In the past when Americans were planning their vacations, their top destinations were always beaches and big cities. For the first time in decades, that’s changing. Now, the American people want to visit the great outdoors. They want to see beautiful parks and small towns that remind them how life used to be. Well, South Dakota has that in spades. Read more . . .

Learning from Our Mistakes

July 16, 2021
One of the main reasons why we study history is to learn from both our triumphs and our mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are painful to admit, but we study them nonetheless so that we can ensure that they are never repeated. Read more . . .

Where's the Beef?

July 9, 2021
America’s meat supply is a matter of national security. If we don’t control our own food supply, then we don’t control our own destiny. South Dakota feeds the world, and we do it better than anybody else. We have more head of cattle per-person than any other state. But anticompetitive practices in the meatpacking industry are threatening that way of life. We need more competition, more transparency, and more options for our cattle producers to market their livestock. Read more . . .

Independence

July 2, 2021
On July 4, 1776, our Founding Fathers signed a transformational document full of beautiful principles that would come to define our great nation. "We hold these truths to be self-evident," Thomas Jefferson famously wrote before outlining those principles. Read more . . .

Biden's Backdoor Death Tax

June 25, 2021
Over the past year, our farmers and ranchers went to work every day to feed this country during a time of great challenge and uncertainty for millions of Americans. How does President Biden plan to thank them? By raising their taxes. Read more . . .

Happy Father’s Day to Our Founding Fathers

June 18, 2021
Father's Day is a time to celebrate all the great fathers in our lives. My kids have an awesome one in Bryon. My son-in-law Kyle will be a father any day now! And I want to wish every father in the state of South Dakota a very happy Father’s Day. The holiday can also be a tough reminder of loved-ones lost. Father's Day was tough for me for many years after Dad died. But this Father's Day, I want to take some time for a little bit of a different remembrance. I want us to remember our Founding Fathers who gave us one of the greatest gifts ever: the United States of America. Read more . . .

South Dakota Strong

June 11, 2021
South Dakota has the strongest economy in America. In fact, a recent study by Moody’s Analytics says that South Dakota is one of only 2 states to be in a stronger economic position than we were before the pandemic. That’s no small deal. At a time when other states are still struggling to recover from the devastating shutdowns imposed on them by shortsighted politicians, South Dakota is thriving. Read more . . .

Arbitrary and Unlawful

June 4, 2021
There is no better place than Mount Rushmore to celebrate America’s birthday. Independence Day is the celebration of our nation and our founding principles of freedom, equality, and opportunity. Read more . . .

Remembering the Brave

May 28, 2021
As Americans, we are so blessed to live in the greatest country ever, but we are sometimes blind to the extent of those blessings. We may not realize just how different life is in other places. Read more . . .

Triumphs and Mistakes: Learning from Our History

May 21, 2021
The United States of America has a truly unique and wonderful history. Our nation was the first to be founded on an ideal: that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Read more . . .

Stronger Families Together

May 14, 2021
In South Dakota, we help our neighbors. It’s just part of who we are. My parents instilled that in me at a very young age. We’d check on families in our community who were struggling. Read more . . .

Strengthening South Dakota’s Workforce

May 7, 2021
South Dakota’s jobs market is booming. Our unemployment rate is the lowest in America. Businesses are moving to our state in large numbers. But we’re always looking for ways to continue to grow the state’s workforce. Read more . . .

The Power of Travel

April 30, 2021
In South Dakota, we have so much to be proud of. Our beautiful landscapes, thriving business climate, and welcoming residents all combine to make this state truly the land of “Great Faces, Great Places.” But this week, we have a very special reason to celebrate something that combines all the state’s greatest qualities: our travel and tourism industry. Read more . . .

Joe Biden’s First 100 Days – Disunity and Partisanship

April 23, 2021
When Joe Biden was sworn in as President of the United States on January 20, 2021, he declared that “my whole soul is in this: bringing America together . . . and uniting our nation.” He pledged to be a President for all Americans.
Now almost 100 days into his Presidency, Joe Biden has failed in that pledge. Read more . . .

A Safer South Dakota

April 16, 2021
One of my main responsibilities as Governor is to keep South Dakota safe. It’s something that I take very seriously. After all, I love this state. I love the people who live here. In a small state like ours, we’re all really neighbors. We get to know one another. And we work together to take care of each other. Read more . . .

Infringed.

April 9, 2021
The Constitution doesn’t always use plain language, but when it comes to our right to defend ourselves, the Second Amendment is quite straightforward: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Read more . . .

Taxation Without Infrastructure

April 2, 2021
When I was in Congress, I had the tremendous honor of being on the conference committee that ironed out the final details of President Trump’s tax cuts. We cut rates for every South Dakotan. We doubled the standard deduction. We returned $2,400 to the pockets of the average South Dakota family, and the economy grew for years as a result. Read more . . .

Fairness in Women's Sports

March 26, 2021
Everyone knows that I am willing to fight for what I believe in. Some have even accused me of fighting too much! And one fight that I’ve taken on for years is fairness in women’s sports. And it’s a very simple fight: only girls should play girls’ sports. Read more . . .

An Endowment for Our Future

March 19, 2021
I recently had the privilege of hearing from two impressive young South Dakota college students. Hattie Seten is the Students’ Association President at South Dakota State University, and she was recently selected to be a Rhodes Scholar. Read more . . .

Wrapping up a Great Legislative Session

March 12, 2021
This week, the 2021 legislative session came to a close. In South Dakota, we keep things short; the session lasts a maximum of 40 legislative days. Every bill gets a hearing, its opportunity to be weighed and vetted by the 105 legislators that you elect to serve you in Pierre. Read more . . .
SD State Seal KEEPING TAXES LOW • LIMITING GOVERNMENT REGULATION
• FIGHTING GOVERNMENT INTRUSION • KEEPING GOVERNMENT OPEN AND HONEST