As we approach the end of the year, I have been reflecting on the highlights of 2017. At the top of our family’s list of blessings this year is the birth of our ninth grandchild, Cohen. For Jean and me, family is our greatest gift, and we are looking forward to spending time with them over the holidays.

We are also forever grateful to the men and women in uniform who sacrifice so much to protect our country and the freedoms we enjoy. Without their service, we wouldn’t be free to celebrate the holidays with family and friends safely and freely here at home.

I’m thankful to the people of South Dakota for putting your trust in me to represent our state in the U.S. Senate. As I wrap up my third year, I’m proud of the work we’ve done to make life better for South Dakotans.

Just this year, we’ve accomplished some pretty important items: We confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to be a Supreme Court Justice, where he will serve a lifetime appointment and will apply the law as it was written. We’ve also confirmed 12 conservative Circuit Court Judges, the most in the first year of a presidency in over half-a-century.

The Senate passed legislation I introduced to repeal outdated and offensive laws against Native American citizens so we can work toward mending relations. We recognize this is one small step forward, but it’s a move in the right direction. We have introduced a number of provisions that will roll back parts of the Dodd-Frank Act to help financial institutions better serve their customers, which passed out of the Banking Committee this month and now heads to the full Senate for action.

The Senate also passed historic tax reform legislation — the first overhaul of our tax system in more than 30 years — that will allow South Dakota families to keep more of their paychecks while growing our economy. We’ve also halted 15 major Obama-era regulations through the Congressional Review Act in our effort to provide regulatory relief to American families and businesses. This is just a snapshot of the work we’ve done in 2017.

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My Christmas wish list includes reforms to the broken budget process in Congress, which hasn’t worked in more than 43 years. It’s incredibly frustrating, and I’m continuing to put pressure on Senate leadership to make major changes to the way we manage federal spending.

This holiday season, Jean and I wish South Dakotans a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. We’re looking forward to hosting Christmas Eve dinner at our home in Fort Pierre, where we’ll be joined by some of our kids, grandkids, my dad Don and his wife Rosemary, and family members from my side of the family and Jean’s, along with family friends. We hope that you too will be able to spend this special time of year with family, friends and loved ones celebrating your traditions.

Mike Rounds represents South Dakota in the U.S. Senate.

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