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White House hosts Democratic state lawmakers to highlight federal support for South Dakota projects
Wednesday's "Communities in Action" summit also included leaders from Nebraska, North Dakota
South Dakota Democratic lawmakers are touting hundreds of millions in federal funding for projects back home after a trip to Capitol Hill this week.
The White House Wednesday hosted a handful of legislators and economic development boosters from the Mount Rushmore State as well as North Dakota and Nebraska for a “Communities in Action” summit where leaders discussed the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
Those pieces of legislation, backed by President Joe Biden’s administration and adopted by Congress, have sent billions to the trio of Republican-controlled states for infrastructure like roads, bridges and broadband expansion.
“While some leaders in (South Dakota) criticize the acceptance of federal funds, I am convinced that, especially in these times, it's crucial for us to set aside personal sentiments (and) shift our focus towards prioritizing the well-being of South Dakotans who stand to gain substantial benefits,” Rep. Kadyn Wittman wrote on social media following the summit.
The Sioux Falls lawmaker was joined by fellow South Dakota Democrats Sen. Minority Leader Reynold Nesiba, Assistant Sen. Minority Leader Shawn Bordeaux, Sens. Red Dawn Foster and Liz Larson, and Reps. Linda Duba, Eric Emery and Kameron Nelson.
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The group, which heard from U.S. Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack, Intergovernmental Affairs Director Tom Perez, and Neera Tanden, director of the president’s Domestic Policy Council, is the latest contingent of leaders and legislators from each region of the U.S. to be hosted by the White House in recent months as part of the Communities in Action series, meant to showcase how the trillion-plus dollars called for in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act are being put to work in all 50 states.
For South Dakota, Congress and the Biden administration have marked a total $2.2 billion so far, including $1.2 billion in highway funding and $135 million for bridges. Another $207 million for broadband expansion has been awarded, an investment that’s even been championed by Biden adversaries like Gov. Kristi Noem as well as South Dakota’s all-Republican congressional delegation.
“It's an honor to be here with other leaders from North Dakota, Nebraska, and South Dakota,” said Nesiba, the top-ranked Democrat in the South Dakota Legislature.