John Thune

Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office was looking for a missing man last fall in a remote, high-elevation part of the western Black Hills.

Capt. Tony Harrison said there was no cell-phone service.

“And so we called FirstNet, and probably within 12 to 14 hours they had a mobile cell tower there, so that we were able to fully communicate back and forth with dispatch," Harrison said.

In Play with Craig Mattick: Harold Thune

Sep 22, 2020

When you think of basketball and Murdo, South Dakota , Harold Thune has to be one of the first things that comes to mind. Growing up, he was one, if not the best basketball player in the state. Harold Thune recently passed away at the age of 100, but his legacy as a player, a Navy Fighter Pilot, and then later a basketball coach, will live on in history forever.

Senator John Thune

May 1, 2020

In The Moment … May 1, 2020 Show 808 Hour 1

News: Sen Thune & Mar 28 - Apr 2

Apr 2, 2020

We talk with Senate Majority Whip John Thune, hear a veteran politics reporter's take on Governor Noem's leadership and more in this week's In the Moment news podcast.

Find us on: AppleSpotify, and Google Play

John Thune's Message To South Dakotans

Apr 2, 2020

In The Moment ... April 2, 2020 Show 787 Hour 1

U.S. Senator John Thune is the Senate Majority Whip, the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate. He recently returned to South Dakota feeling flu-like symptoms. Since then he has tested negative for COVID-19. 

He joins us now from his home in Sioux Falls. 

Watch the full interview here.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal officials say they need emergency funding to fix damaged roads-and quickly. Spring flooding washed out roads in some rural areas and forced culverts out from under ground in others. 

Officials link two recent deaths on the reservation to dangerous driving conditions and say other Great Plains Tribes have the same problem.

It’s tough to drive BIA route 3 on the Cheyenne River Reservation. There are missing chunks of pavement -  potholes in some areas and washed out gravel roads.

Thune Details The TRACED Act

May 30, 2019

In The Moment ... May 30, 2019 Show 585 Hour 1

Most of us know the almost daily irritation of hearing the phone ring and it's nothing but a spam call. Billions of robocalls go out daily in the United States, but Congress is one step closer to adding harsher punishments for scam artists who use phones to reach into victim's bank accounts.

U.S. Senator John Thune is a lead author on a bipartisan bill that recently passed the Senate with overwhelming support. He discusses the bill's potential impact on robocalls.

Jackie Hendry

U.S. Senator John Thune made a classroom visit to New Tech High School in Sioux Falls. In January, students wrote letters to South Dakota’s congressional delegation, and Thune took them up on the invitation. He also answered a variety of student questions—most centering on climate change, and one on the potential of removing the party whip position in Congress. 

Senator Thune says he believes the climate is changing and that human activities are at least partially responsible. He acknowledges it’s important to reduce carbon emissions.

In The Moment ... March 28, 2019 Show 545 Hour 2

In a joint press release Wednesday, South Dakota's Congressional delegation and Governor Kristi Noem issued statements with their resounding support following the U.S. Air Force's announcement that Ellsworth Air Force Base has been selected to receive the first B-21 training and operational squadron.

U.S. Senator John Thune explains how the B-21 enhances Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Reporting on politics and public policy is supported by The Center for Western Studies at Augustana University

Dakota Political Junkies: A New Farm Bill

Dec 13, 2018

In The Moment ... December 12, 2018 Show 478 Hour 2

U.S. Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds are rallying behind a new farm bill that passed yesterday in the Senate. Thune, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, says input from the state's farmers and ranchers helped craft the bill that passed by a vote of 87-13.

Dakota Political Junkies Jon Schaff and Roger Whittle discuss the new farm bill along with appointments to Governor-elect Kristi Noem's staff.

In The Moment ... October 31, 2017 Show 210 Hour 2

Congressional Republicans want to make one of the largest overhauls of the federal tax law in decades. The estate tax is on the chopping block. SDPB’s Lee Strubinger joins us to unpack how the debate is playing out in the state.

The Federal estate tax has been around since 1916.

In The Moment ... January 2, 2017 Show 001 Hour 2

Guests: US Sen. John Thune; Dr. Steve Herrmann, Director of Operations for Sanford Profile; SDPB's Jim Kent on the prescribed burn of Rockerville SD; Images of the Past: Personalities with Chuck Anderson

In The Moment ... January 2, 2017 Show 001 Hour 1

Guests: US Sen. John Thune; Freshman SD Lawmakers from Dist. 8 Jordan Youngberg; SDPB's Victoria Wicks "Happy Noon Year"; Lifestyle strategist Elizabeth Hagen; John Pelletier Director of Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy 

VA Prefers Move Out Of Hot Springs In EIS

Nov 10, 2016
Nicole Griffith / SDPB

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the Black Hills is continuing to push for a move to Rapid City from Hot Springs.  The agency released an Environmental Impact Statement detailing its plans.

But South Dakota’s congressional delegation, and many Hot Springs area veterans and residents are critical of the move.

The Environmental Impact Statement or EIS says the Veterans Affairs Black Hills Healthcare system hopes to construct a multi-specialty outpatient clinic and 100 bed residential rehabilitation treatment program in Rapid City.

Melissa Hamersma

Dakota Political Junkies Roger Whittle, managing editor of the Watertown Public Opinion, and Jon Hunter, publisher of the Madison Daily Leader, join guest host Cara Hetland to visit about South Dakota's Congressional elections. Senator John Thune and Representative Kristi Noem were both re-elected by wide margins.

Melissa Hamersma

SDPB political reporter Lee Strubinger spent Tuesday night at South Dakota Republican Party headquarters in Sioux Falls. He shares comments from U.S. Senator John Thune and U.S. Representative Kristi Noem as he discusses his night covering the GOP.

Melissa Hamersma

Republican U.S. Senator John Thune is keeping his seat in Congress. Thune won a third term in office over Democratic challenger Jay Williams.

Thune says he will do his best to be deserving of the support he received from South Dakota voters. You can hear his full acceptance speech below.

Seth Tupper (Rapid City Journal) and Dana Ferguson (Argus Leader Media) join Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to discuss the top political headlines in the state. This week we discuss recent polling data, the logic behind the ban on ballot selfies, and the resonance of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson as he campaigns in South Dakota.

Lee Strubinger / SDPB

Federal lawmakers hope to create institutional change at the Indian Health Service with a bill meant to protect whistleblowers, increase oversite and implement leadership changes. The bill was discussed at length in Rapid City late last week.

Several hours of testimony and hearings on what it’s like to receive care from IHS hospitals was meant to give lawmakers an idea of the culture at several Great Plains area hospitals.

Wiki Commons

Tribal members from Nebraska and South Dakota packed the Rapid City council chambers Thursday to discuss the IHS Accountability Act of 2016.

It’s a reform bill meant to tackle mismanagement by network of hospitals both on and off reservations.

South Dakota U.S. Senator John Thune introduced the bill last month, and a panel is seeking input on the measure.

The federal government is required to provide healthcare to tribal members. But many Native Americans even forgo the care they are guaranteed, due to poor conditions at Indian Health Services hospitals.

 Indian Health Service facilities in Pine Ridge and Rosebud were closed earlier.  The move comes alongside allegations the IHS facilities are failing to meet basic standards of service and care. Now, the U-S Senate Committee for Indian Affairs is planning a hearing in South Dakota in June.  

Dakota Midday: Jay Williams's Congressional Campaign

May 16, 2016

Jay Williams is campaigning against Senator John Thune in this year’s Congressional election. He joins Dakota Midday to discuss his campaign platform, inspiration gleaned from the South Dakota visit of Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and his goals in the David & Goliath race against Senator Thune. 

Thune: South Dakota Could Swing US Presidential Nomination

Apr 14, 2016

U-S Senator John Thune says South Dakota could play a role in the presidential nomination process.
The state’s small population means primary delegates rarely make up a swing vote.  But Thune says it could be a tight primary race this year for either party.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota’s senior US Senator says he supports the Republican nominee for president – regardless of which man wins the race. Senator John Thune notes the election process is far from over. He explained his position on the 2016 election to a group of teenagers.

At New Technology high school in Sioux Falls, government students pepper Thune with questions about foreign policy, terrorism, regulation, and politics. That includes this one about the campaign for president of the United States: is there any candidate that you necessarily support or endorse in this current election?

Thune Decries Carbon Reduction Plan As Arctic Sea Route Opens

Aug 5, 2015

U.S. Senator John Thune joined the rest of the South Dakota congressional delegation and several industry groups in condemning a White House plan to reduce carbon emissions.

The Obama Administration is proposing a cap on carbon emissions from coal fired power plants in an effort to reduce global warming.   

The debate comes as arctic ice has melted back early enough so a sea route is open over the polar ice cap.

The U.S. Senate was one vote short on Tuesday of passing a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would cut through South Dakota. Republican Senator John Thune voted for the bill and retiring Democratic Senator Tim Johnson voted against it.

Jonathan Ellis, reporter and columnist for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, and Jon Hunter, publisher of the Madison Daily Leader, joined the Dakota Political Junkies and discussed the vote. They also talked about the possibility of John Thune running for president in 2016 and the new state legislative leaders.

Photo by Mervin Hanson

The state’s agricultural industry has been frustrated by the shortage of rail cars available to haul out grain, ethanol, and other ag products, and to haul in materials needed for their operations. Last week the federal Surface Transportation Board ordered railroads to post weekly updates on availability of cars and other data. The Board’s action comes after hearings where South Dakota’s leaders in government and agriculture testified.

To learn more about the Surface Transportation Board order, go to this site:

Dakota Political Junkies

Aug 6, 2014

Madison Daily Leader publisher Jon Hunter and Sioux Falls Argus-Leader columnist Jonathan Ellis joined this week's conversation about the latest in South Dakota political news. They discussed independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers' suit to replace is running mate on the fall ballot and the withdrawal of former U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth’s attorney from her election law violation case. Other topics included new polling numbers and South Dakota’s pulchritudinous congressional delegation.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

US Senator John Thune says supporting the country’s vast transportation system is a legitimate and valid use of taxpayer dollars. The Highway Trust Fund neared fallout this summer. Congress approved a stopgap last week that provides funding for states through May of next year. Thune says Congress needs to find a reliable funding source soon. 

Congress has propped up the Highway Trust Fund for another nine months, so states can get their reimbursements for federal bridge and road projects throughout construction season.

U.S. Senator John Thune says he supports Governor Dennis Daugaard’s request for federal disaster assistance. Thune says the request for federal funds stems from a strong thunderstorm that blew through southeast South Dakota about a month ago. He says the money is for clean-up and reconstruction efforts.

Although hundreds of volunteers have stepped-up to provide food, shelter, and assistance to those in need – Thune says that may not be enough.