South Dakota Democratic Party chairman Ben Nesselhuf released the following statement after Senator John Thune abandoned South Dakota’s most important industry by voting against the Farm Bill:
“Senator John Thune must have bigger ambitions outside of South Dakota, because he sent a pretty clear signal today that he cares more about popularity among anti-agriculture conservatives in Washington than serving our state’s family farmers and ranchers. Senator John Thune may have personal reasons to pander to Washington conservatives who have no idea how farming works in South Dakota, but he should not sell out our family farmers and ranchers in the process.”
Passing the US Senate with a 66 to 27 vote, the farm bill contains measures important to farmers and ranchers in South Dakota including a strong crop insurance safety net, livestock disaster assistance, rural development funding, energy programs, and rural housing fixes. This farm bill both improves support for our farmers and ranchers and reduces the deficit by $24 billion over 10 years.
Conservative activist groups in Washington, DC, such as the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF), opposed the farm bill. They have been active in federal races across the country. These groups play a huge role in Republican primaries for President, Senate, and the House of Representatives. Senator John Thune joined these anti-agriculture conservatives in opposition to the farm bill today.
Thune’s opposition follows a path he actually warned about in a recent interview with Argus Leader reporters when he said, “… Anymore, if you do things that might lead to an outcome or result, you get primaried, because you have dissatisfied the further left or further right wings of your party.”
In this case, Thune seems more interested in protecting his right flank for future federal elections than producing a result that serves South Dakotas farmers and ranchers.