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South Dakota:
Under God, the People Rule

Revitalizing Rural South Dakota

Small towns are the heartbeat of South Dakota. I’m proud to be from a rural hometown. It’s where I learned the values of hard work and self-reliance, where Bryon and I chose to raise our kids, where we started an insurance business and hunting lodge, and where my family has farmed and ranched for a century.

When I first became Governor, small town America was struggling. We had a hard time attracting new families and skilled workers to our state, and folks were still choosing big cities and urban areas over rural states like South Dakota.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything changed. I respected my people’s rights to make their own decisions about how to take care of themselves, their families, and their businesses, and as a result, our small towns thrived.

At the same time, big cities across the country locked down – and stayed that way for almost two years. As millions of Americans tried to work remotely, order groceries, and stay inside every day, many of them realized they didn’t want to live like that anymore.

For the first time, when Americans "Google” the places they want to live or go on vacation, they’re not searching for big cities, beaches, or urban areas. They’re looking for rural destinations, wide open spaces, and small-town America. In other words, they’re looking for everything South Dakota has to offer.

Thousands of families have relocated to South Dakota since the pandemic started, and not just to Sioux Falls and Rapid City. They’re moving to Lemmon, Belle Fourche, and many of our smaller towns. Even my hometown welcomed new families in the last couple of years – they haven’t seen growth like that in decades!

This did not happen because of what government did. It happened because of what government did NOT do – and because the nation is now paying attention to the way of life that South Dakota holds dear. We don’t compromise our values. We respect each other and look out for each other. We promote freedom and personal responsibility.

My administration will continue to prioritize rural America and make decisions that allow our small towns to thrive, from historic investments in broadband, water, and sewer infrastructure to policies that make it easier to start a business, educate your kids, and provide for your families.