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LADNER: Are we ready to hit the reset button?
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LADNER: Are we ready to hit the reset button?

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District 30 Rep. Trish Ladner.jpg

This past week, I attended the Midwest Legislative Conference hosted in Rapid City. The conference was attended by over 600 legislators from 11 Midwest states and 4 Canadian Provinces (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Alberta, Manitoba & Ontario). It was an amazing opportunity to hear from industry professionals, meet with other legislators to discuss policy, problems, and potential solutions. There were many breakout sessions led by experts in their field covering a wide variety of topics from the changing fiscal landscape, to the post pandemic challenges going forward.

Most workshops addressed issues that we, as a society, are now forced to address. This includes our state’s fiscal policies, and on a more global scale, our relationships with people and governments across continents. It has made us face the reality that life is fragile. Political and economic systems including supply chains and “on-shore” production of all essentials can, and were disrupted.

The conference’s opening keynote speaker was Journalist, Ben Hammersley. My takeaway from his talk can be summed up in an example he cited about Kodak. At one point this iconic company had the chance to embrace the digital camera, but refused. By not resetting their vision and direction for Kodak, they ultimately failed. His question to all of us was profound, “We are post pandemic and are we willing to hit the reset button?”

Elaine Dezenski and John Austin presented a breakout session on “Ally-Shoring” A Path to Rework Supply Chains and Rebuild Economies.” In a nutshell, Ally-Shoring addresses broken supply chains that became apparent and provides an option for countries to disengage from existing supply chain agreements with China and other states that seek to undermine American interests and forge strong working relationships with Western-led trade countries like the USA, Canada, Mexico and South America. Austin noted that, “By strengthening long-standing relationships with Western Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia we could restart and lean into our relationships with those we trust.”

A local presenter, Deni Amundson, Program Manager from Build Dakota Scholarship Program presented information about an innovative model that fosters greater collaboration among education and workforce programs with a goal of helping residents become prepared to take advantage of promising careers in emerging and high-demand economic sectors across South Dakota. With this program, you can earn a full-ride scholarship at one of four South Dakota technical colleges. Recipients of the scholarships commit to working in South Dakota, in their field of study, for three years following graduation. For more information visit BuildDakotaScholarships.com

It appears that Ms. Amundson and Ms. Dezenski are on the same page. Ally-Shoring would bring good jobs, to the industrial Midwest with new opportunities and the South Dakota Scholarship program educates and creates the workforce needed to fill those jobs.

But, what can I do? I’m just one person. The simple truth is that each and every one of us can help to facilitate change. We can help “reset” our economies by standing up and making the decision to begin supporting our local growers and ranchers. By buying goods from those we trust, each of us can make a concerted effort to strengthen the United States and the free enterprise system in America.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “We have the right to rise!” Our goal as American’s should be to see our local Mom & Pop shops reopen and not just survive, but to thrive once again. We the people, united together, can help facilitate an economic recovery within our communities, and across the American Heartland!

Representative Trish Ladner, District 30

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