With August recess wrapping up and members of Congress soon returning to Washington, I wanted to provide you with some of the highlights from my time spent in South Dakota over the summer work period.
I hosted nine “Inside Scoop” town halls in South Dakota – they ranged from three people to 100 people – but each one was as engaging and fruitful as the next. Topics ranged from infrastructure and our national debt, to border security and Afghanistan. I am grateful for the feedback and am eager to get back to Washington to work on the most pressing issues South Dakotans are facing.
Throughout the month of August, I had the honor to host eleven Vietnam Veteran Pinning Ceremonies across the state. In total, 124 veterans from the Vietnam era were recognized for their service. From Seabees to airplane mechanics, radio operators and nurses, South Dakotans dutifully answered the call to serve, despite the lack of recognition they received upon returning home.
During these ceremonies, veterans recalled sobering stories of protesters throwing tomatoes and being called names upon their arrival. Others shared more heartwarming stories such as a rifle platoon leader who met an Army nurse in Vietnam and the two eventually married – they have now been married 51 years. It was truly remarkable to listen to South Dakota veterans share stories from a time that is often still difficult to discuss aloud. After many decades, I was honored to look these veterans in the eye and thank them for their service on behalf of a grateful nation.
Finally, nothing says summer in South Dakota quite like a fair. Over the last few weeks, I visited with folks at Dakotafest, Central States Fair, Turner County Fair, Brown County Fair, Sioux Empire Fair, and the South Dakota State Fair. I also had the opportunity to volunteer at the ticket booth, greeting folks as they walked in. It was great to share a few laughs, meet new South Dakotans, and enjoy the beautiful summer weather while eating delicious fair food.
August shaped up to be a rather busy month, but I am feeling rejuvenated from time spent away from the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C. I look forward to heading back to Congress and working on the important issues facing our nation.