After serving as U.S. Senate majority whip during the last Congress, U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., will remain the second-ranking Republican in the chamber behind Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
Thune, however, will be in the minority now because Democrats took control of the Senate by sweeping two seats in the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff election.
Thursday, Thune and U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., announced their new committee assignments in Washington, D.C., with both senators focused for anticipated battles with majority Democrats and President Joe Biden.
“As the Biden administration pursues new policies that will impact our state, I will continue to fight for a better future and stronger economy for South Dakota families,” Thune said.
Thune, who first took his seat in the Senate in January 2005, called it a “privilege and honor” to serve South Dakotans on three key committees:
Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee;
Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; and
“These assignments give South Dakotans a seat at the table as we work to solve the most pressing issues for our state. These positions give me an opportunity to craft policy on a wide range of issues including agriculture, infrastructure and broadband investment, health care, tax, and trade—issues that impact all South Dakotans in one way or another,” Thune said.
As for Rounds, the Fort Pierre resident and former South Dakota governor said his committee assignments give him “opportunities to help shape our work on behalf of South Dakotans.”
“My new role on the Committee on Foreign Relations will go hand-in-hand with my work on Armed Services and also give me the added opportunity to promote access to international markets for South Dakota farmers and ranchers,” Rounds said. “In addition to standing up for our producers overseas, my work on Foreign Relations will help unlock new opportunities for South Dakota across the globe.”
Aside from these two committees, Rounds will also work on:
“South Dakota is home to one of the largest populations of veterans per capita in the country,” Rounds said. “In a typical year, over half of all the requests for assistance my office receives are veteran-related. Our veterans made a commitment to serve our country. Now it’s our turn to make sure they receive the benefits they’ve been promised.”
“I am pleased to be joining the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. I look forward to working with tribal leaders,” Rounds added. “I believe we can improve the communications between tribes in South Dakota and provide equal access for Native Americans if we work together.”