Session 1 Week 1

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Welcome to the Legislature…sort of

This week marked the 8th consecutive year I have walked through the doors of the capitol building in Pierre the second week in January. 8 years, that’s one full term in the House or Senate. Many of the legislators who were here when I interned for the Speaker of the House are now gone. Some, like my seatmate, have been gone for a few years and have now returned. But this week it was a whole new experience. For the first time I was there with more of a purpose other than making coffee for legislators and calling votes on legislation. I was there to serve and represent you and it is a responsibility I do not take lightly.

Tuesday we were sworn in and the Governor delivered his state of the state address. In that address he laid out his plan for road funding issues as an alternate proposal to Senator Vehle’s Highway task force bill. This will be the subject that garners the most discussion throughout this session. In the end I think we will probably see some hybrid of the two proposals. While I’m not an expert on either of the proposals at this point here is my basic thought process when it comes to Government and its taxing authority.

  1. The government should only do for the people that which they cannot do for themselves. I.e. road construction and maintenance.
  2. Make sure the money you’re already collecting is being spent responsibly.
  3. When taxing, increase as little and as fairly as possible.
  4. Collect and keep the tax dollars as local as possible.

I am a member of the House Ag and Natural resources, and Education committees and this past week the House and Senate education committees met jointly on Wednesday to hear from the Department of Education and from several educators from across the state for a presentation outlining the progression of a student’s academic career within the framework of the Department of Education’s aspirations. Thursday House Ag and Natural resources met briefly for an organizational meeting and on Friday the House Education committee met to hear from the Department of Education and several educators as they presented how they teach to fulfill the Common Core standards.

This whole week I’ve come to realize just how broad a legislator’s knowledge base has to be. We deal with every subject under the sun and have to be a little bit of an expert on all of it. This experience is going to be incredibly educational and I look forward to the challenge.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent you.

Rep. Joshua Klumb