tv Sen. John Thune R-SD CSPAN November 5, 2017 9:29pm-9:58pm EST
he was a very subtle character. george washington had a similar kind of reserve and enigmatic quality to grant. >> tonight, on c-span's q&a. all weekend, american history tv is featuring sioux falls, south dakota. the staff recently visited many sites showcasing the history. the city is named for the falls of the big sioux river which runs through the middle of the city. learn more about sioux falls a weekend here on american history tv. during our visit to sioux falls, thainke with senator john
-- john thune. his father was honored as a member of the best of a hall of fame. we asked him about constituent work, the economy and what events in the states history most interest him. >> where were you born and raised? >> a little town west of here. it was named after a scottish cattle rancher called merle mckenzie. it was very much a step in place forpeople -- staffing place people who are heading to the black hills. a lot of motels, restaurants, filling stations and all of my siblings and my parents worked in one of those types of establishments every summer. >> what was it like growing up here in south dakota? >> a great background. i love this day, it is very beautiful to me. i love the prairie, i like wide open spaces and i think that is
because of where i was raised. outdoors person, i love hunting and fishing and being outdoors, biking, running, particularly through the different seasons of the year. small townup in a and going to is moscow we have opportunities to do a lot of rings. i get to participate in all of the sports, i played tuba in the bed. i sang in the swing choir. my mom always insisted i took six years of piano. become achance to fairly well-rounded and balance person. forives you an appreciation the rural nature of our state and how the midwest fits into the broader american story. senator john thune: growing up here on the planes was a great experience. >> when did you get into
politics? what was it you wanted to share with your constituents outside of south dakota about what matters here in south dakota? senator john thune: i think it is important for people who come from more populated areas of the country to understand what makes us tick out here. -- agriculture is our number one industry. we have senators around the agriculture committee. called theommittee conversations and transportation committee which has a big impact on the landscape here in south dakota. of transportation, trains, planes, automobiles. it is internet, broadband, high-speed internet services delivered to rural areas of the country. just to help people understand that the way of life that we have out here -- how important it is to the national
narratives. i think people who live in populated centers of the country perhaps don't have appreciation for rural areas of the country and how important they are as well and to our national success or national prosperity. my job as an elected official for this part of the country is to try and share that -- combat that message and get my colleagues and appreciation of what makes south dakota great, what our challenges and needs are and how we need to work together as a country. in regards to agriculture, can you talk about the importance of it here and how it impacts the rest of the united states? . senator john thune: we have about four times as many cattle as we do people in south dakota.
beef and pork and corn and beans and wheat, all those things are critical to the states economy. state's economy. we feed the world. i don't think people think about where their food comes from. it is up to us to remind them and deliver that message on a daily basis. i think if you look at our state and the crowds and the commodities and the things we raise and grow here, we feed not only the united states but the world. we really fit into that economy in a big way. importantat it is when we are having debates about farm bill's and policy, that people from other parts of the country understand the significance of that and what it means to the health and vitality of the nation as a whole. bill, what arem
some of the major issues you are focused on? senator john thune: this is a tough time on the farm. the farm economy has been really rough for several years in a row. drought ingnificant south dakota that will knock down some of our yield this year. we are working on the next farm bill, trying to identify those areas where we can ship the farm bill that reflects the economic times we are in. there are 13 titles to the farm bill. i have ideas for every title but we have rolled out by different bill so far. one dealing with the commodity title, one doing with disaster, one with health. we have tried to look at all of the issues that impact our culture. i think that people want to have a good strong insurance program, that has become the bedrock orders down -- cornerstone safety net. this is where people to insure
themselves against the risk in farming and ranching. there is the conservation title of the farm bill -- it is something we want to give farmers who want to put more of their land into conservation programs -- that they are able to do that, it is good for soil health, the opportunity to -- we can restructure some of those programs and make them more efficient and effective. the safety net programs in the farm bill as well. the disaster program is something i worked on in 2008. i also many of the disaster programs that existed in our farm programs today. we are hoping to get them extended into the 2014 farm bill. those impact western south dakota. the livestock forage program which i guided -- i delivered over $200 million to ranchers in
south dakota and help them -- helped them stay in business. we are trying to ensure that economyection of our stays strong. part of our economy that is not only the united states but the world as well. what you see as the biggest challenge for south dakota going forward in that area? now, i john thune: right think the future of agriculture is great because we are adding 80 to 100 million people to the world population every year. the demand for food will only increase over time. other countries are stepping in and hoping to fill some of that. i think united states is uniquely positioned because of our technology, where incredibly inductive relative to places around the world. to continue to grow the opportunity that we have to make
a difference and feed the world, literally. as i look at the future, i think it is bright. i think a lot of it consists of opening up other markets. importantof trade is to south dakota and agriculture generally. withwe talk about trade asia and the transpacific partnership and nafta and the bilateral trade agreements, those are vitally important to the future of agriculture. i think that is an important thing. we are very into the bio fusion industry at here. you can raise corn, beat it livestock, there are many uses for it but one of them is also fuel. we want to look for ways to open up more markets and increase the demand for our i were called for farmers that help makes and ranchers in this part of the country and our economy more prosperous and makes the entire economy of the country more process this -- prosperous.
>> can you tell as one of the things you are most concerned about and what you are working on in regards to south dakota and sioux falls? senator john thune: i have been able to be involved in many structure issues. the farm to market transportation systems -- one third of all of the rows of crops we played in south dakota and of being exported. you have to get into the pacific northwest. that means trucks, rails, ships, or to the gulf coast. wherever the market of the moment is, you have to have an efficient firm to market transportation system. i have worked aggressively to make sure we have a very efficient and reliable rail network, we authorize a service transportation board a few years ago, that was in response to a crisis that we had here in south dakota and across the entire midwest when it came to rail service issues. i think we have made significant
improvements that will be very helpful in the future. highways are very important, travel industry in south dakota as you can tell, we see a lot of traffic on interstate 90, a lot of people had to the black hills of mount rushmore and points beyond, investing in our highways and roads, we have increased the funding -- formula funding for the state there. aviation, the area of making sure we have affordable rates when it comes to people the airline industry here in south dakota, making this a place that people can get to in anotherable way is important feature of what we do in transportation. the other thing is technology. as i mentioned, high-speed broadband,rvice, making it available to any part of this country and the rural
areas of south dakota where you might have somebody who wants to start a business out of their living room. tolong as they have access high-speed services, they are able to do that. there are places in our state and our country that don't have that. the connectivity of the future, we have 16 billion handheld devices in the world today. by 2020 they say there will be 50-200,000,000,000 of those. we passed a bill through the senate in august that will be taken up by the house that increases up the amount of spectrum amount -- available for commercial use. that benefits not only south dakota but all areas across this country. we are possibly looking for ways impacte work we do can what is happening here in our economy in south dakota. those are a couple of examples, transportation, technology in particular, this is in addition
to the work we do with the eye committee. mittee.om >> where the south dakota said, how would you describe it to how would you, describe it to others? senator john thune: a lot of people describe us as flyover country, i think it is the heart and soul. i think the middle of the country has always been a place where hard work really matters, where you value some of those foundational principles that would help build this country and make it strong and great. we have a lot of people who grow up at here who have to survive some pretty tough winters and grow up doing are things so they develop a work ethic that i think is anywhere i go -- those here in the country and the united states and around the world, we will visit militaries
around the world and we have had chances to work with and interact with troops that have been to -- deploy different south dakota. -- deployed there from south dakota. i think the center of the country is near and dear to the pulse of the country. here are as good as they come. we have a work ethic that is second to none. we try and create environments here that are welcoming, warm, people are friendly, i think that i am always looking for opportunities for south dakota to make it a place where people want to come and do business. we have a lot to sell and sometimes the story doesn't get old. -- told. >> what you find is your biggest challenge? senator john thune: when you a rural state, you're
outnumbered in the congress. representatives, -- in the house of representatives, california has 54 members in texas has 31 and the new york has 29. we have one. i can have my discussions in a phone book. way toays have to find a build alliance. butsenate is not like that at least you have equal representation, you have states that are positioned like yours and you can develop and build some alliances that give you the ability to influence in a more significant way what happened in the senate. i think it is always challenging coming from a rural, sparsely populated state to communicate to those of your colleagues that represent bigger states with big cities why it is important that program transportation
that provides the system to the interstates and federal highways across south dakota. nationalt of a transportation system and if you're going to be competitive on the global marketplace you have to have an efficient way to get your goods and services to their destinations. when it comes to agriculture, trying to convince other people from other parts of the country why it is important that we have farm programs and provide systems to agriculture that ensures that agriculture is prosperous and that we continue to have family farms. i think that is the greatest challenge. talking're inevitably to people and tried to communicate with them about your priorities and trying to get them to buy into the things that you need to hook up with for your state. in many cases, they don't have an appreciation for and
understanding. understanding. >> what would you like the people of the state to remember ?ou by russia senator john thune: i want people to think of me as one of y who a small town gu is trying to make a difference for his state and country. in terms of what you want to look up list -- accomplish legislatively, what can you have done to improve the standard of living and the quality of life and the opportunities for the people you represent. be a generational thing, we want to think about the next generation. grow up here in south dakota, that they have really good educations, that they can go anywhere that their
dreams take them. createy, to opportunities for south dakota. it has always been said that our biggest exporters are kids. we raise them here and bigger up with that -- they grow up with a great work ethic. then they go and live someplace else and work someplace else and raise their families there. it is about providing those opportunities for the next generation. if they want the chance to live in south dakota that they have the best infrastructure as well. roads, that is both, -- highways, air service, that they had the best opportunities to technology and health care. you can live in areas where you may not have access to sanford --
if you have a community that has some sort of health service or telemedicine or a way of addressing health care needs, your technology, you can really make some of the bridges that are harder for states like ours -- it is amake those more reasonable and accessible thing for people in this country. when i look at the stake, it is with an eye of how we can -- and i toured how we can make people more successful. toward how we can make people more successful. >> is there a story about south dakota's history that makes you think and why? senator john thune: when you live out here, you appreciate the history of your hometown.
my grandfather came from norway in 1906. when they came to ellis island, werenly english they knew the words apple pie and coffee. they learned that on the boat over. they came were the out here to work on the railroads, that is when they were building the railroads across the country. they learned the language and saved enough money to start a merchandising company which became a hardware store and there was still hardware stores that bore family names. been involved not for some time but it is a great example that a couple of others can come to a state like south dakota and work in a great --ustry by transportation like transportation. the railroad industry was in their heyday.
that was the american dream. that is a personal story for me. i think of the history of the state. there is a lot of fascinating stories that go back 150 years when people were first starting to settle in south dakota. a vote about calvin coolidge and how he spent the summer of 1927 in the black hills. he said he would not run again for president in 1928. there is a lot of history associated with the state and a lot of great people have called it home over the years. we want to make sure that future generations have that opportunity as well. >> why was president coolidge there? senator john thune: they said he had health issues so he had to get to higher elevation. he wanted to come somewhere in the midwest.
his death thought it would be a good idea for him to connect people out in the rural areas of the country. out sent the secret service , they went to wisconsin and looked at the black hills. he said we have to go to custer state park. the governor of south dakota at the time did not even finished the road yet. they had to hurry to get the road finished. coolidge was there all summer. where heto rapid city held his office hours and spent the morning there and then he would drive the hour back. he did a lot of trout fishing. he spent a lot of time at rodeos and visited our indian reservations. it is a really interesting and fascinating story but it all came down to -- he went somewhere every summer. senator john thune: did he enjoy it? -- >> did he enjoy it? senator john thune: if you look
at the stories that were written at the time, it sounds like he made the most of the experience. they talked about how he started wearing cowboy boots and cowboy hats. you can attribute not rushmore getting completed to his commitment to it. coolidge committed federal money to this end of course that is what launched the mount rushmore that we know today. i think he had a lot to do with that shrine of democracy getting done. >> why did you choose to read that book question mark senator john thune: -- read that book? senator john thune: i was curious like you were. it was an interesting read.
there are lots of stories that are about our state's history that often don't get told or need to get told and i am glad somebody took the time to research that and tell that one. senator john thune: where do you see south dakota -- >> where do you see south dakota going in the future? since we are here in sioux falls, talk about sioux falls as well? senator john thune: it is a hub. about techi talked and financial services and agriculture but we have a tremendous health care footprint here. it is a huge driver of jobs in our command -- economy. we have two major health-care systems that are very regional. we have become a hub in terms of shopping. when i was a kid, i came down here for basket tournaments. i think at that time, sioux falls was 75,000 people.
and therelly growing is a great workforce. or corporate income tax, a great place to do business and a quality of life that is second to none. that sometimes in the winter, there is 40 below wind chills. you have to get through that but if you want to raise a family and you want to have access to a lot of things, you don't want to do with the headaches and traffic and things that come with a big city and have all the opportunities to do the things that you do in a big city, this is a wonderful place. we are proud of it. i am proud of my entire state. we have a number of cities in the state that are doing well and growing. it is always a challenge for smaller communities, the rural communities given the changes
place in taken agriculture. cities like sioux falls are doing great and they are a magnet for people of all ages. we are seeing a lot more young people moving back to south dakota. that is really encouraging to me. senator.you very much, >> our cities tour staff recently traveled to sioux falls south dakota to learn about its rich history. learn about sioux falls and other stops on our tour. you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. monday night on the communicators, a look at the congressional hearings this past week with attorneys from facebook, google and twitter over russian sponsored political ads and the effect they had on the 2016 election. we are joined by dave mccabe and
ashley gold. >> we have an idea of what happened, we know of a number of ads that were purchased. we know of big accounts that purchase ads on twitter and we know about some action on google. what we don't know is if there was any collusion with the time campaign. -- sump campaign. mpaign.p ca >> what about the breath of these companies? you had john kennedy not particularly active on tech issues in charge of data privacy. thatis clearly something was worrying him and i think a lot of americans worry about this when you look at polling data. while russia was the focus of these hearings and the urgent
matter, there was a broader set of concerns. >> watch the communicators monday night on c-span two. american history tv is on c-span3 every weekend featuring museum tours, archival films and programs on the presidency. here is a clip from a recent program. >> the building is decoratively carved because that is one of the carvings. letter into the -- in a that it is not in passion anymore. he wanted it and had a way of saying that he required it. -- got it and the stonemasons gave him what he wanted. there were two of them that remained. most of the stonemasons went back home. tw