Friday, November 28, 2014

Hunhoff, Dems prep for 2015 session

Senator-elect Bernie Hunhoff of Yankton says he thinks health care for low income people has to be a priority in the 2015 South Dakota Legislative session. He says a major road funding proposal will take a lot of time and that there will be debate over a task force recommendation on new water drainage guidelines.

An interview with Hunhoff can be heard here.
Keep alive the stories of all the people who paid for our freedom. That was the challenge that the guest speaker, District 18 State Rep. Bernie Hunhoff, gave to students, faculty and other community members at Mount Marty College’s Veterans Day prayer service Monday. The newly elected District 18 state senator, local journalist and MMC alum spoke of the huge price South Dakota has had to pay for freedom throughout its history. Hunhoff told the Press and Dakotan in an interview that sometimes people take this freedom we have for granted. [Jordynne Hart,] links mine.
South Dakota's GOP governor will deliver his party's budget address on Tuesday of next week. His Wyoming counterpart wants to expand Medicaid under President Obama's signature health care reform law but that state's Republican-dominated legislature is balking on passage of medical access to the working class and the poor.

Photo: Kelly Hertz

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pierre scholar named to Native American Political Leadership Program

Black Hills State University student Michaela Stroup is fueling her passion for politics and knack for leadership into a prestigious political program in the nation’s capital. Stroup, a political science major from Pierre, was accepted to attend The George Washington University’s Semester in Washington Politics (SIWP), as a participant in the Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP) for the spring semester. Stroup, who is a member of the Lower Brule Sioux tribe, was chosen for her academic abilities, leadership potential and passion for politics. She has been part of the Gay Straight Alliance, Student Senate, and debate team. This past summer Stroup interned with the South Dakota Democratic Party and went door to door advocating for the raise in minimum wage. [BHSU Communications]
Stroup was named by BHSU's Office of Academic Affairs to the spring 2014 dean's list.

In other news from college Democrats, South Dakota State University's club is working hard:
During the 2014 Midterm elections, the College Democrats volunteered with the Brookings Democrats in helping to promote several local, state and federal candidates. They organized a group to walk at the Hobo Day parade and made several phone calls to promote candidates. The College Democrats have started a new strategy on campus to promote participation in politics, said Carter Christensen. “My personal goal is to get people talking and to get people educated about politics,” Christensen said. [SDSU Collegian]
And from Yankton's Drinking Liberally:
First, this year's Drinking Liberally Holiday Party has been scheduled for Tuesday, December 9, at 7pm (our regular time). We'll have it downstairs at Ben's where we regularly meet, so there won't be any stairs for anyone to climb. It will be low-key — no speechifying or door prizes or anything like that — just good conversation and good fun. Bring friends, and bring potluck or treats if you want to share. We'll have a great time! [Chris Sonne]
Club contacts linked here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Parsley defeats GOP legislator in District 8

Republican Chuck Jones lost his bid for the State Senate by a very small margin throughout the district but have the majority of Moody County voters on his side. Jones took 1,290 local votes compared to Scott Parsley’s 1,055. [Moody County Enterprise]
Winning Lake County put Parsley over the top by 355 votes.

Democrats Jim Peterson of Revillo, Bernie Hunhoff of Yankton, Ray Ring of Vermillion, Julie Bartling of Burke, and Peggy Gibson of Huron also won in Republican fields.

Reporter Bob Mercer told readers of the Pierre Cap Journal that Democratic legislators returned contributions from a GOP PAC built for nefarious purposes:
Ben Nesselhuf called on Republicans to likewise divest their campaigns of what he called “scam money” from the PAC. Nesselhuf said the Democrats – Senate leader Jason Frerichs of Wilmot $350, Sen. Bill Sutton of Burke $250 and Rep. Scott Parsley of Madison $200 – returned their amounts Monday. Nesselhuf said Free Conferencing abuses rural-telephone subsidies and called the matter a “pay to play scandal.”
Parsley and the author of The Dakota Progressive have cousins in common: his mom and my uncle by marriage were siblings. His brother Steve has been a life-long friend of this blogger.

Scott Parsley, Bernie Hunhoff, Pat Garrity

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hawks wins in a squeaker

Representative Paula Hawks is an advocate for clean sustainable energy in South Dakota's legislature.
Hawks came away from the election with an eight-vote advantage in District Nine over former Rep. Bob Deelstra, a Republican who was making a bid to recapture the seat he lost in 2012. Monday's recount confirmed Hawks' victory over Deelstra, 2,662 to 2,654. Hawks said she looks forward to the next legislative session, and she plans to introduce bills dealing with public safety and education. She will be one of only a dozen Democrats in the next legislative session, down from 18 in the current Legislature. "We're small but we're mighty, and we'll make our voices heard as best as we can," she said. [Jonathan Ellis, Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
Hawks' legislature entry linked here, Ballotpedia entry linked here.

South Dakota Progress gaining momentum

Tasiyagnunpa Livermont is editor of the Eagle Butte-based West River Eagle: she is acting as steering director for South Dakota Progress, a group seeking to energize the SD Democratic Party.

An interview with Livermont can be heard on WNAX Radio. She says, "the 2020 plan will focus solely on electing Democratic candidates to local offices in SD."

The organization is using the hashtag #sdprogress on twitter.

Bajun Mavalwalla, an Army veteran who moved to South Dakota to guide Corinna Robinson's US House campaign, says actions are gaining strength:
Part of the inspiration for the outside group is the “Colorado Plan,” a successful effort by Colorado Democrats to rebuild the party there. That plan also focused on recruiting and training candidates for local races — though it had the advantage of millions of dollars in funding from four of the state’s wealthiest people. Mavalwalla said his plan doesn’t necessarily need any buy-in from the formal party. But he’d like to have it. “The best way to do this is to work alongside and cooperate with the state party,” he said. [David Montgomery, Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
Madville Times has a story on the effort linked here.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kevin Killer face of tribal representation in SD Legislature

South Dakota’s Native vote generated a lot of media attention in the run-up to Election 2014. State legislator Kevin Killer, of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, ticked off the successes: On November 4, Jim Bradford, of Pine Ridge, was re-elected to the state Senate, where he will be joined by Troy Heinert, from the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, who had been in the House. Shawn Bordeaux, of Rosebud, will take over Heinert’s House seat. Meanwhile Rex Conroy, of Pine Ridge, earned the sheriff’s badge for newly renamed Oglala Lakota County, and Oglalas were re-elected county commissioners. “All politics is local,” said Killer, who held onto his House seat. “These results show voters what’s possible when they assert their rights as citizens.” [Stephanie Woodard, Indian Country Today Media]
Now that Kevin Killer has won another term in the South Dakota Legislature, the Pine Ridge representative hopes expand Medicaid and to repeal a statute passed in 2011 that limits the amount of time victims of horrific crimes committed at the hands of clergy can sue their attackers. Brandon Ecoffey of Native Sun News reported from indianz:
To many South Dakota constituents, the bill seemed to directly target Native Americans, who were victims of abuse during their time in church- and state-run boarding schools. Killer — who voted against the bill — told Native Sun News: “I am definitely in favor of repealing the bill. Here is a bill that doesn’t really explore the history of the abuse that was going on. If you are going to think about any type of bill that pertains to any type of tragedy you would think that there would be a conversation with the aggrieved party — and that conversation never happened at all with this.”

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Barth announces for SD Democratic chair

Jeff Barth visits with media in Rapid City

During the South Dakota Democratic Convention in Yankton Jeff Barth and the Minnehaha County people took a straggler into their ranks while pressing the caucus on strict adherence to the rules with vigorous confidence.
Minnehaha County Democratic Party chair Jeff Barth is running for chair of the state Democratic Party, he said Thursday. Barth said he didn't have a particular agenda to take the party in a different direction, but wants to "energize young people, Native Americans, teachers (and) the other entities that are normally part of our party. Our theme is that we can't win as individuals or factions, we can only win as a team," Barth said. Barth is notably outspoken. In just recent months, he filed a lawsuit against Mike Rounds and others about EB-5 and has excoriated the county auditor for vote-counting delays. [David Montgomery, Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
In Rapid City during his run for US House Barth stuck his hand out after greeting the couple before me and after introducing myself he said, "you're a little bigger than I am." My 6'2" 173 pound frame and his 6'1" likely-more-than-that laughed simultaneously. "Last month I supported your opponent in the primary: good to know I can still evolve," I blurted. He responded with a kind thank you. I didn't hesitate: "where you at on the so-called War on Drugs?" It fell right out of my mouth. "It's crazy," he replied. He described a future where, as long as law enforcement can easily test drivers stopped for some other infraction, cannabis law should look just like alcohol law.

Barth greeted the warm, enthusiastic gaggle, gave a thumbnail sketch of his campaign, and described the proposed Ryan budget that enjoys the support of incumbent Kristi Noem as "the final solution." That banks are too big to fail suggests that banks are too big, he said. Corporations look like people to some; yet, British Petroleum killed 13 people in the Gulf of Mexico and nobody has gone to jail.

In response to a question from a self-described federal employee Barth said that public service should be celebrated rather than denigrated; and, "I have no problem that public employees have collective bargaining rights." The biggest applause from the gathering came after he repeated his support for marriage equality: he revisited the topic several times in follow-up questions. Barth cited Minnehaha County's responsibility to prosecute a capital offense in the death of a prison guard at the State Penitentiary as a necessary function of government.

Johnson calls for end to Fannie, Freddie conservatorship

Senator Tim Johnson addresses the South Dakota Democratic Convention
Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Melvin Watt said during a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday that overhauling the housing-finance system should be left to Congress. Mr. Watt’s comments came after Sen. Tim Johnson (D., S.D.) in his opening remarks called on him to “engage with the Treasury Department in talks to end the conservatorship” of Fannie and Freddie if Congress doesn’t proceed. Mr. Johnson, who chairs the banking committee, sponsored legislation that would overhaul the housing-finance system. That bipartisan bill passed the committee in May but garnered only limited support and didn’t proceed to the Senate floor. Sen. Johnson’s comments come as the likelihood of Congress tackling housing-finance reform dwindles, despite calls from the Obama administration and others for Congress to act. [Wall Street Journal]
Denise Ross has a look at Senator Johnson's legacy posted at the Mitchell Daily Republic: subscription required.

Donate to Senator Johnson's South Dakota First PAC.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sutton future of SDDP

The Planning Committee of the South Dakota Legislature meets Monday in Pierre: member Senator Billie Sutton of Burke is looking ahead to the January session. Sutton says the committee will work through different proposals and ideas to compromise on education funding.

 Read full story here.

Cowboy Caucus: Jason Frerichs and Billie Sutton rehearse for their skit at the state Democratic convention in Yankton earlier this year.