SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With the current mood in Washington D.C. politicians from opposing political parties may struggle to find something to agree on. But two members of Congress, a Republican from South Dakota and a Democrat from Minnesota are exploring ways to cooperate.
U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson and U.S. Representative Dean Phillips don’t always see eye to eye. After all, they come from different places on the political spectrum.
Johnson is a conservative and Phillips is a pragmatic progressive.
However, both are members of what’s called the Problem Solvers Caucus.
Phillips is Vice-Chair of the bipartisan caucus and Johnson is the group’s whip.
“For me to be able to grab a member from the suburbs, show him what production agriculture looks like and all the kinds of high tech applications,” said Johnson. “I may be able to show Dean, SAB Biotheraputics, showing him Prairie Aqua Tech some of these solutions that are in birthed in rural America but that will transform the country, we need more people in DC who understand that.”
Tom Hanson: Is it frustrating for you guys to see people who won’t talk just because they are from opposite parties?
“Absolutely,” said Phillips. “I think that’s why in no small part why we are doing this, to demonstrate to the country what’s possible but also model the behavior.”
Mayor Paul Ten Haken spent some time showing Phillips around Sioux Falls and says these two members of congress are setting an example.
“DC is not necessarily what you see on Twitter,” said Tenhaken. “So it’s nice to see this level of collegiality and collaboration does happen and honestly that’s what we want more of in our country. That’s what people are longing for, so to see it happen today on the local level is really fun.”
Johnson and Phillips know they won’t always agree, but they will always talk.
“Turning on cable news, going in Twitter, you think this country is falling apart, the fact is, it’s not, Dusty and I are just two examples,” said Phillips.
Doing what they can to look for ways to build bridges rather than tear them down.
“Dusty and I are just two examples of a principled conservative, I’d like to think of (me) as a pragmatic progressive that put the country far above politics and I think that’s where most of the country is at and I hope we can demonstrate that,” said Phillips
“And clearly the politics of Dean and my politics are different,” said Johnson. I’m a conservative he’s left of center but the American people do not pay us just to fight and in fact, just fighting doesn’t make anything better, it doesn’t make inflation better, it doesn’t make the border better it doesn’t help grow the weather for American families at some point American expects that we re going to be able to find some common ground.”
The Problem Solvers Caucus has the support of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s congressional exchange.
The center was founded by four former Senate Majority leaders from both parties, including former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle.