Rep. Johnson tours Spearfish timber plant, BHSU campus

SPEARFISH, S.D. — Congressman Dusty Johnson spent time in western South Dakota before making his way back to Washington next week.

Rep. Johnson began the day in Spearfish by holding a round-table at the chamber of commerce, which was followed by a tour through the Spearfish Forest Products timber plant.

Johnson says that timber plants are one of the dividing topics discussed in Washington, with some saying that they should be shut down. Rep. Johnson believes that timber plants are an essential aspect for rural economies.

“Places like this for generations have been keeping people employed and making our forests even better,” Johnson said. “There are almost 200 people here who are paying mortgages and paying their bills because they’re doing good work that benefits the marketplace. We want to keep that kind of culture, that kind of business alive and well.”

Johnson hopes that visiting such a plant first-hand will help him bring important insight to his fellow representatives.

Rep. Johnson ended the day on a more relaxed note by visiting Black Hills State University. The congressman sat in on a class on campus and held an open discussion in the Student Union atrium. The discussion and environment was casual, with ice cream being served and the audience welcomed to ask questions.

Students, faculty and community members asked about student loan debt, federal jobs, public safety and a wide array of other topics. Faculty at BHSU say that these experiences are a unique opportunity for students.

“What’s really cool about living in South Dakota is that our representatives and our senators actually show up and you can talk to them, you can meet them and you can tell them what you’re interested in,” said Dr. Pamela Carriveau, Assistant Provost at BHSU. “So for our students they get to interact, they’ll get to be able to explain what is interesting to them and they’ll get to maybe learn a little bit about how government operates.”

Rep. Johnson says that he will be taking the public’s suggestions back to Washington in hopes of changing policy.

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