Preserving "A Fair Chance For a Free People" - Karl E. Mundt


While during his senate term, Karl Mundt acclimated to high seniority in Congress. His prestige can be noted by his assignment to several committees and subcommittees. One of his most powerful positions was on the Senate Appropriations Committee. On this committee he served to appropriate funds for the activities of the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation. His assignments on Appropriations subcommittees were (according to Senator George Aiken of Vermont as quoted in "A Fair Chance for a Free People"): 1

  1. Agriculture - which appropriates funds for the operations of the Department, carrying out farm programs, funds for REA, for FHA, for Soil Conservation Service, and other related activities of the Department.
  2. Defense Department - which appropriates funds for keeping our defenses strong and modern.
  3. Interior Department - which appropriates funds for the Bureau of Reclamation irrigation and power projects, Indian affairs, mining, water resource development such as the establishment of saline waterplants, fish and wildlife service, etc.
  4. Public Works - which appropriates funds for all civil functions projects such as the development program taking place on the Missouri River.
  5. State, Justice, Commerce and the Judiciary - which appropriates funds for carrying out the activities of these Departments of government and implementing their programs.
  6. Foreign Aid and our so-called "Cold War" activities. He also served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Commission as a representative of the United States Senate, on the Government Operations Committee, and on the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee.

In a statement about the meaning and significance of seniority for Senate Members, Karl Mundt’s friend, Vermont Senator George Aiken, said of him:

"Through his position on these most important subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee, Karl Mundt is able to impress your thinking and the South Dakota viewpoint on the funding of programs affecting our domestic economy and on programs implementing foreign policy. Karl Mundt’s membership on this committee has also given him the opportunity to induce his colleagues on numerous occasions to locate new projects in South Dakota which have meant much to the economy of South Dakota. I am certain that in the years to come and with ever increasing seniority he will, through his seat on the Appropriations Committee, locate additional new projects or pilot plant operations of the Federal Government in South Dakota which otherwise might be located in some other State if he wee not a member of the committee with the seniority on it which he has attained." 1

This prediction came true when Senate Karl Mundt succeeded in securing both the projects and funding for the EROS Data Center and Interstates I-29 and I-90 to be constructed in his home state of South Dakota.

Senate Appropriations Committee
This is a brief description of some of Senator Mundt’s accomplishments while serving on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Learn more about Senator Mundt’s role in the foundation of the EROS Data Center.

SD Interstates
Learn more about Senator Mundt’s involvement in South Dakota’s transportation system.

  1. Heidepriem, Scott N. A Fair Chance For A Free People: a Biography of Karl E. Mundt, United States Senator. Madison, SD. Leader Printing Company. 1988. Pgs. A24-26.
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