Former Congressman Thune to speak at USD April 14

Former Congressman Thune to speak at USD April 14 Former Congressman John Thune has been named W.O. Farber Distinguished Visiting Professor and will speak at The University of South Dakota on April 14.

The speech will be at 4 p.m. in Farber Hall of Old Main on campus. Thune will lecture on the state of politics in America in a speech that is free and open to the public.

The lecture is sponsored by the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership at USD. The director of the Farber Center, Dr. Bill

Richardson, said the campus will benefit from Thune's experience in state and national politics.

"The Thune-Johnson senate race was one of the most closely watched and narrowly decided contests in the 2002 election cycle," Richardson said. "As the W.O. Farber Center's Distinguished Visiting Professor for 2003, Professor Thune will bring a wealth of practical political wisdom to the classroom. The overview of the political situation in South Dakota that he will present in his Farber Forum speech on April 14 will be, among other things, a foretaste of what the students are likely to get in his class."

Thune grew up in Murdo, where his father was a high school teacher and coach and his mother was the school librarian. Upon graduation from high school, Thune attended Biola University in La Mirada, CA, where he received his bachelor of science degree in business administration.

After receiving his M.B.A. from The University of South Dakota in 1984, Thune went to work as a legislative assistant for his mentor and long-time friend, U.S. Senator Jim Abdnor. In 1987, Thune began his service as a Reagan appointee at the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In 1989, Thune returned to South Dakota to serve as executive director of the S.D. Republican Party. In 1991, Governor George S. Mickelson appointed Thune as State Railroad Director. Thune held this post until 1993, when he accepted the position as executive director of the South Dakota Municipal League.

Thune recently completed six years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives. In those six years, Thune was recognized as a leader among his peers, having served as a member of the House Republican leadership team. From that post, Thune fought for policies that would strengthen the nation's economy and security, while recognizing the important contributions that rural America makes in those efforts.

In 1996, Thune sought and won his first term as South Dakota's lone Representative to the U.S. House. In 1998, Thune sought a second term and was re-elected by the largest margin in South Dakota history. Again in 2000, Thune was re-elected by a wide margin to his third and final term. He honored his pledge to serve only three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, concluding his service in 2002.

During his tenure in the U.S. House, Thune served on the Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Small Business Committees. On the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee he was a member of the Aviation as well as the Highways and Transit Subcommittees.

During his tenure on the Aviation Subcommittee, Thune worked with his committee leadership to craft the Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR 21) as well as on efforts to provide financial assistance and improved security for our airlines in response to the tragedies of 9-11.

On the Agriculture Committee, Thune was a member of the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, and Conservation, Credit, Rural Development and Research Subcommittees. From that post, Thune won victories for farmers and ranchers through bioenergy, conservation, and value-added program improvements.

On the Small Business Committee, he chaired the Subcommittee on Rural Enterprises, Agriculture and Technology, and was a member of the Tax, Finance and Exports Subcommittee.

Following his service in the U.S. House in 2003, Thune formed The Thune Group, a South Dakota-based company that provides advice and consulting services for South Dakota organizations with health care, agricultural and transportation interests. He also affiliated with Arent Fox, a law firm in Washington, DC.

Thune also serves as chairman of South Dakotans for a Responsible Government, an issue advocacy group.

Thune's wife, Kimberley, is a native of Doland. They have two daughters, Brittany and Larissa. Both girls attend public school in Sioux Falls.

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