Thune continues to connect with rural South Dakota

LEMMON — To be a U.S. Senator for South Dakota, John Thune says he can only do it one way: get out and pound the pavement and meet with people.

This month, he's in the farthest-flung reaches of South Dakota—in a non-election year—meeting with locals in non-descript community halls and drinking coffee from styrofoam cups, hearing the concerns of his constituents on the Plains.

"I always thought the best way to make a connection was to go out and meet them face to face and look them in the eye and talk about what matters to them," he said. "People don't forget stuff like that."

Arguably one of the most popular politicians in South Dakota, Thune, a Republican, is certainly the most visible. The Daily Republic rode along with Thune, 54, during a West River trip to Lemmon, Buffalo and Deadwood this week. They are the type of small-town trips that Thune has made a priority in his time as senator, with 44 stops since the start of 2015 through Thursday.

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