U.S. Senator John Thune of South Dakota is the second highest Republican in the Senate.
About the Senator from his official Senate web site: “John Thune grew up in Murdo, South Dakota. His interest in politics was sparked at a young age after making five of six free throws during a freshman high school basketball game. He was later greeted by a spectator who said, “I noticed you missed one.” That spectator happened to be a well-known sports enthusiast and then-South Dakota U.S. Rep. Jim Abdnor. The introduction was the start of a friendship that ignited John’s career in public service.
John received his undergraduate degree at Biola University and his master’s degree in business administration from the University of South Dakota. Upon completion of his master’s degree in 1984, he married Kimberley Weems, a native of Doland, South Dakota.
John’s attraction to public service took him to Washington, D.C., to work for that sports enthusiast and then-U.S. Sen. Jim Abdnor. He then served at the Small Business Administration under an appointment from President Ronald Reagan.
In 1989, John and his family returned to South Dakota, where he served as the executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party. In 1991, then-Gov. George S. Mickelson appointed him to be state railroad director, a position he held until 1993, when he became executive director of the South Dakota Municipal League.
In 1996, with a shoestring budget and the support of family and friends, John won his first term as South Dakota’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives. John was re-elected to a second term by the largest margin in South Dakota history. He returned again to Washington in 2001 to serve his third term in the House.”