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Thune sworn in for fourth Senate term with Farm Bill on the mind

South Dakota Senator John Thune addresses media shortly before being sworn in to his fourth term
South Dakota Senator John Thune addresses media shortly before being sworn in to his fourth term

Sen. John Thune said he was both humbled to be returning to Washington D.C., and that his principles remain the same heading into his next term.

Thune was sworn in to his fourth term Tuesday, making him the longest-serving U.S. Senator in state history.

The Senate minority whip laid out his priorities looking forward while speaking to the media prior to the ceremony.

“As we begin drafting the 2023 Farm Bill, it’s critical to get feedback from South Dakota farmers and ranchers because it ultimately informs my priorities throughout this process," Thune said. "Working families also continue to be top of mind, especially as family budgets are strained by higher prices month after month. I will continue working to protect families, small businesses, and farms from unnecessary tax hikes and burdensome regulations.”

Thune said slim margins in the House and Senate will play a factor in the coming Farm Bill.

“To pass a Farm Bill you gotta find bipartisan support, and that means you gotta be listening to other parts of the country," Thune said. "Like the West Coast where they’re interested in specialty crops, or the South where they’re interested in rice and cotton and peanuts and programs like that. But I think the baseline for this Farm Bill could be fairly static. Fairly flat.”

Also on the docket is the longstanding issue of country-of-origin labeling on meat.

“That is long overdue, we got it into a couple of previous Farm Bills and then they’ve been challenged at the World Trade Organization and knocked out," Thune said. "But we think there is a way this could be drafted that is compliant with World Trade Organization requirements, and that would get a provision in place once and for all that allows people in this country to know where their meat is coming from.”

Thune also said issues like education, investment in broadband, and stiffer border security are among his priorities this term.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture
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