Archive for the ‘SD 2014 Ballot’ Category

Pressler’s independent honesty and proposed legislation

Looking back at the last week I see Independent US Senate candidate Larry Pressler has two items which are worth mentioning in a blog. First he released a statement proposing legislation for an International Native American Holocaust Memorial Museum in Wounded Knee. Then he released a two-minute video highlighting himself as the ‘Independent Honesty’ candidate.

I find it odd that Pressler’s first order of business in DC would be to propose legislation for an International Native American Holocaust Memorial Museum. Actually I think the idea is a good one. As noted in the press release Wounded Knee is the “site of perhaps the worst cold-blooded massacre in American history”. Such a Museum would hopefully serve as a reminder from the past of a dark period in our history and also pay respect to the Native Americans that senselessly lost their lives. This museum/memorial sounds like a great idea!

But should that idea be the first order of business for someone in the US Senate? Is this really his first priority? Sadly it looks like Pressler is doing this as a publicity stunt to gain Native American votes. Too bad. Part of the idea is good and could be a boost to the state. Here is a paragraph from his release that highlights the good and bad of his museum priority:

Pressler said such a holocaust center would need initial startup funding from the federal and state government. It might occupy about 40 acres and have a large private hotel and other facilities so tourists could use it as a base for touring the Black Hills.

I agree with the large private hotel and other facilities for tourists. Such a place would likely become a world-renown tourist destination if done right. But at the same time he wants the federal and state government to fund what will eventually become a private business. If he had just stuck with promoting the idea I think it would have been a winner. Instead he wants to use taxpayer dollars for economic development. That is the exact type of corporate welfare that people looking for alternatives to Rounds are trying to avoid. To me it seems like Pressler is trying to take corporate welfare to a whole new level and make Rounds look like a mini-crony.

Hopefully some group in the future will be able to use this idea and run with it. It would be good for Native Americans and the State of South Dakota. But I also hope whatever group goes with this idea will keep government dollars out of it. If not this will become just another opportunity for government officials to line their buddies pockets with taxpayer dollars. I don’t think cronyism really fits well with the whole concept of this museum.

In other news.. Pressler released his “Independent Honesty’ video a few days ago:

The mini-bio really focuses on him working with people from all parties. He connects himself with Reagan, dictators, Bill Clinton, and George McGovern. From a liberty standpoint that doesn’t leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling. It reinforces the belief that Pressler wants to bring back the days when both parties of Congress got to spend as much taxpayer dollars as they wish on pork-barrel projects.

One final thought. If Pressler really wants to become a US Senator from South Dakota again, shouldn’t he be holding public meetings of some sort? Shouldn’t’ he be hitting the road like Weiland is? Personally I don’t think Pressler even wants to win. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was Presslers way of showing certain people he is still alive; in hopes of getting an ambassador appointment.

Weiland Town Hall in Aberdeen this afternoon

Today Democrat US Senate candidate Rick Weiland is hosting a Town Hall event in Aberdeen. The Town Hall will take place at 4pm in the Eagles Club. Here are the details of the event sent out by his campaign:


Weiland has been an interesting one to watch over the last year. On the good side, Weiland has traveled to every town in South Dakota to meet with people. Personally I wish more candidates would take such an approach in their campaigns. In his travels Weiland has met with voters in over 450 towns (I didn’t realize SD had that many towns). Also, according to an email from his campaign staff, Weiland has held over 200 public meetings. I don’t think Rounds, Howie, or Pressler will come close to that number of public meetings. For that reason Weiland definitely has my respect about his willingness to get out and interact with voters.

Now for some bad stuff. It was about 11 months ago when Weiland held a Town Hall in Aberdeen where he reinforced his position against collective rights. He has done nothing but reinforce that stance over the last year. At a joint presser with Nelson earlier this year Weiland was still talking about dirty money and would not address the fact he actually raises a higher percentage of his money out of state than Rounds does. Weiland has made restricting free speech the cornerstone of his campaign.

Just yesterday Weiland attacked the group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) in a presser after it was announced the AFP was coming to South Dakota. Weiland apparently fears AFP will buy a Senate seat and asked the other candidates to sign a letter asking the AFP to stay out of this race. There are two obvious problems with Weiland’s stance:

  1. Rounds already has enough money to buy this election. AFP helping Rounds would likely have little or no impact upon the race at this time.
  2. AFP is not likely going to help Rounds. AFP that uses local residents to promote the free market and sticks to economic issues. Rounds does not have a stellar record of fiscal conservatism. If anything I could see AFP campaigning against Rounds if situations were different. But since there are no good fiscal conservative alternatives to Rounds I expect AFP will stay out of the US Senate Race.

I really don’t care about the AFP entering into South Dakota. But I do find it odd that a US Senate candidate would come out and attack a group made up of constituents he would theoretically be serving if elected to office. Yes, he likely disagrees with the free market principles promoted by the group. But is disagreeing with a viewpoint enough reason for a politician to completely ignore part of a constituency?  This odd stance is reinforced by his new campaign theme song:

Notice how he says in the song he will not listen to the 1%. I understand he is campaigning against big money. But I really have problems with a candidate saying they won’t listen to all constituents. There is a big difference between ‘I won’t be bought’ and ‘I won’t listen’. Unfortunately Weiland doesn’t see that difference. I guess I do have one question about ignoring rich people. If Weiland isn’t going to listen to the uber-rich, will he then ignore current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid if he wins this election?

Maybe at the Town Hall in Aberdeen Weiland will address such a question. I doubt it though. Politicians that use class warfare to win elections rarely think their own rhetoric should apply to their class….

Susan campaign headquarters Grand Opening in Sioux Falls next week

Susan announcement from the Susan Wismer for SD Facebook Page

Susan announcement from the Susan Wismer for SD Facebook Page

I just noticed the following Facebook event created by the Susan Wismer for South Dakota Facebook page:

You’re invited! Come celebrate the opening of our brand new Susan for South Dakota Campaign Headquarters in Sioux Falls! Visit with fellow supporters, find out ways to get involved with our grassroots effort, and hear from both Susan Wismer and Susy Blake about their mission to take South Dakota back from the corruption and special interests of the current administration!

(RSVP and details here:

It is nice to see the Democrats are going to have a campaign headquarters for the Governors Race. The last time I seen Wismer speak was at a meet/greet fundraiser in Aberdeen. She was much more fired up at that event than I had seen her in the past.  Maybe the Democrats are going to kick up their campaign efforts from the mild whisper it has been thus far. That would be great. Daugaard needs some good competition. And so far only Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers is doing anything worthy of blog attention.

For Sioux Falls area Democrats this may be a good chance to get together and help your candidate get votes this fall. I wonder if she will open a Rapid City office as well. Opening a west river office on reservation land may be an interesting move. Susan should talk with Rick about doing something like that together.

Before they move too fast though… I would create a logo that includes the name Wismer on it. It can cause brand confusion if the Lt Gov candidate is the only one that gets her last name on the logo used (The Displaced Plainsman also has some thoughts on this).  Yes, the Susan for SD is clever because both candidates are a Susan. But she still needs people to at least know what her last name is. Here is the logo used by the campaign that doesn’t have Susan Blake’s name on it:


No mention of Wismer at all…

Gordon Howie releases his first US Senate commercial

Today Independent US Senate candidate Gordon Howie released a commercial for his US Senate bid in South Dakota. I was hoping for something.. well.. different for his first commercial. Here is the commercial released today:

I was hoping Howie wouldn’t go down the path he chose with this commercial. As an Independent candidate I was hoping Howie would look at the many issues that exist within the federal government he is willing to tackle. With his tea party roots I really thought he could find a way to speak about getting government out of peoples lives. No. Instead he went the opposite direction.

Howie is asking for religion and politics to become more intertwined. He actually says “Politicians need to put God back in politics”. He then goes on to say pastors should endorse candidates from the pulpit. Gordon is headed down the path I feared he would in this race.

Before going on I’ll clear up my stance on religion and politics. To me the two do not inter-mingle well at all. It is OK and appropriate for people to live their lives by religion, and even serve as a politician using their religious convictions. But living life through religious convictions is much different from legislating through religion. I fear that is where Howie would go if elected into office.

Howie mentions in the video that he believes there is a an attack on religious values and God during the last few years. I would say that is somewhat exaggerated. But there is some truth to what he says. Yet it is not the fault of any anti-religion group. Rather it is the fault of politicians that have legislated religious beliefs over the years.

A good example of this is the reversal of DOMA’s ban on gay marriages. Many conservatives hailed this as an attack upon religion. Well, looking at their point of view I can agree it may appear that way. But I prefer looking at the bigger picture. DOMA only existed because the social conservatives allowed the government to get involved with and regulate marriages. If conservatives were truly worried about religious freedom they would have kept government out of marriage altogether. That is not what happened.

The DOMA reversal shows why politicians should avoid creating or voting for legislation that reinforces their religious beliefs. It may make them feel good and make them popular at the moment with their constituency. Yet in the future when popular opinion has changed on a subject it will allow that legislation to be changed in a way that would be undesirable to those same constituents. At that point those constituents cannot rightly claim their religious beliefs are being attacked. By passing the original religiously intrusive legislation, that group had asked for government to be involved with an issue that is better left to religious leaders.

If enough Gordon Howies are elected in DC I feel liberty would go down as religious legislation goes up. Too bad Howie isn’t focusing more on the Taxed Enough Already part of his Tea Party roots. Instead Howie is pushing for breaking down any barriers between government and religion. That is a situation I just don’t see being good for liberty.

PS. Since I’ve done a couple of posts that are negative towards Howie’s positions I’ve had a some people ask if I’ve turning into an anti-Howie blog. Nope. I think its great he is in the race to give another option to voters. But supporting him being in the race is NOT the same thing as supporting him as a candidate. I plan to do posts on any Independent or third-party candidates whenever I can.  To me the biggest injustice that happens to independent and third-party candidates is the lack of attention they get from most mainstream media outlets.

Protest to demand answers from Rounds in Sioux Falls

10406945_827703623908927_2131580559972542086_nEarlier I noted a protest against Amnesty in Sioux Falls and Rapid City planned for the 19th. Now I notice another protest being planned for tomorrow, Thursday July 17th, by Investigate Mike Rounds & Dennis Daugaard NOW Facebook page. Here is what the events organizer, Emmett Reistroffer, has to say about the event on Facebook:

Who wants to raise some hell at rush hour outside the Rounds campaign office tomorrow? They’re having Rounds in for a speech to his supporters. Lets waive picket signs outside to demand answers about his crony-capitalism. The EB-5 program is a perfect example of why the government shouldn’t expand its reach into the free market. The South Dakota EB-5 scandal is a picture perfect example of the corruption in our own state government. WE MUST FIGHT THE ESTABLISHMENT! LETS START MAKING NOISE!!! Please like the page Investigate Mike Rounds & Dennis Daugaard NOW and let me know if you’re interested in protesting. I’m making homemade signs for as many people need them, or bring your own!

This protest is to take place during the SDGOP Grassroots Express State Tour stop in Sioux Falls. The special guest will be Republican Senate candidate Mike Rounds. The event will have hamburgers and hot dogs available. It is unclear yet if the hamburgers and hot dogs will be offered to the protestors.

This is a great chance for those looking to get involved with political activism. Anyone that is interested should join the group and try to get answers from the person that quite likely will be the next US Senator from South Dakota. Since Rounds stands by EB-5 it will be interesting to see how he handles a group of people protesting against crony-capitalism.

Here is the event details for those that wish to join the protest or the SDGOP even with Mike Rounds:

Thursday, July 17 – 5:00pm-7:00pm

Sioux Falls SDGOP Volunteer Center

406th S 2nd
(12th and 2nd – South of Post Office)

Music Playlist for Independent SD Gubernatorial Candidate Mike Myers

A good friend of mine mentioned I haven’t done a music list on the blog for a while. Since Independent South Dakota gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers has been using a few songs to push his candidacy I thought I would maybe create a small playlist for him. Here are five songs for Myers to use during this campaign.

Back in the early days of being a law professor, Myers would apparently do warm-up push-ups in class to the Rocky Theme Song, Gonna Fly Now. He found that song become dated and his students couldn’t relate to the song anymore. So he switched to a more modern song from Pink Floyd: Another Brick in the Wall (actually this song came out only two years after Rocky). I am quite sure the irony of an educator utilizing this song has not escaped him. This video includes all three parts of Another Brick in the Wall along with The Happiest Days of our Lives.

Recently the Myers campaign has been using the Tom Petty & Heartbreakers hit I Won’t Back Down. This is a great song to show Myers and Hubbel are not afraid to take on establishment politicians. The only thing I will change for this playlist is to use a cover of the song done by Johnny Cash. I think Cash brought this song to a whole new level, something Myers is hoping to do as an Independent candidate.

In keeping with the theme of fighting against the establishment I would look at a classic hard rock song from Triumph. The song is positive and will help Myers Fight the Good Fight.

This next song comes from an independent artist, and liberty activist, named Jordan Page. Myers has an almost libertarian approach by taking good from the left side and the right side of politics. This song is about those who are stuck in the middle between the two sides. That is how I see Myers and anyone who votes for him: they are stuck somewhere in the middle and are looking for a candidate they can relate to.

This final one might seem an odd choice. I’m not sure if Myers likes reggae at all. But this classic song from Bob Marley and the Wailers basically sums up about every Facebook post I’ve seem come from Myers campaign manager Tara Volesky.

SD Libertarian State Convention to be held in Sioux Falls on August 9th

sdlpThere is great news for people looking for alternatives on the ballot this fall. The South Dakota Libertarian Party will be holding its state convention in Sioux Falls on Saturday, August 9, in Sioux Falls. RSVP via the Facebook Event or e-mail Bob Newland at to register to attend. I would urge anyone with libertarian tendencies to attend the convention and become a part of the process. The party will be voting on nominations for the following constitutional offices:

  • Secretary of State – This office already has three people on the ballot: Shantel Krebs (R), Lori Stacey (C), and Angelia Schultz (D). Normally I would say Libertarians should focus on other races. But Emmett Reistroffer of Sioux Falls has shown interest in this race. His experience with elections may make his a great candidate for this race.
  • State Auditor – Currently Steve Barnett is unopposed in this position. I found it odd the Democrats would fail to run someone for this office. Yes, Schultz had originally looked at this office and instead switched to the SOS race (which I feel was a good move). But the Dems should really have found someone to fill this position on the ballot. I guess its up to the Libertarian Party this time. A good case could be made this position should be outside of the ruling party.
  • Commissioner of School & Public Lands – Currently Deputy Commissioner Brunner is unopposed in this race. I actually like Brunner in this race, but I hate the fact he is unopposed. It just feels wrong to have a free pass. Hopefully the Libertarians can find someone to run against him.
  • Attorney General – Reistroffer is looking for an attorney to run against Jackley. I’ll do a full post on this later in the week.  But to sum up the post I plan: Jackley needs opposition in this race, and that opposition cannot be someone doing so for political opportunism or as a publicity stunt.

Hopefully the Libertarian Party will be able to fill all of the above positions. It will obviously be an uphill battle for any of the candidates. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t’ be tried. Who knows, by having candidates in more constitutional offices than the Democrats it may actually show the Libertarian Party has more of a chance in South Dakota than the Dems.

I plan to attend the Convention and hope to see a good crowd there!

Here is the information about the State Convention posted on the Facebook Event:

You’re invited to the South Dakota Libertarian Party State Convention! Join us for this exciting opportunity to nominate candidates and discuss liberty in the Rushmore state. Our convention will be at the downtown main library in Sioux Falls on August 9th at 10am (200 N. Dakota Ave)

RSVP on this page or e-mail Bob Newland at to register to attend.

Anyone who is a registered Libertarian voter in South Dakota or who is a member of the U.S. Libertarian national party is an eligible voting member of the SDLP. You may register to vote at the convention.

*Speakers and an official schedule will be released soon.*

We will be voting on nominations for the constitutional offices in this yea’s election on November 8th.
The offices are:

- Secretary of State
– State Auditor
– Attorney General
– Commissioner of School & Public Lands

We may also vote to elect a party chair, vice-chair as well as executive board members, and to add amendments, resolutions, and/or revisions to our party by-laws.

*If you’re interested in running for office, please contact a party leader (Samuel Saunders or Bob Newland) listed at

Watch Mike Myers and Lora Hubbel on the 100 Eyes replay

10353044_503801876419211_460615466691115086_nToday Independent SD Gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers and his running-mate Lora Hubbel were on the Argus Leader’s 100 Eyes web-show. The entire show is worth watching and can be viewed here. It was probably the most interesting hour of 100 Eyes I have seen.

I thought about doing a long post about the show.. But doing so would include too many spoilers for anyone that wishes to view the program.

Instead I will focus on one question I had for the two.  I wanted to know where Mike Myers and Lora Hubbel stand on campaign finance reporting (I accidentally typed restrictions on the chat window, luckily after a little while Lalley was able to get the conversation to the right direction). Many people, including myself, believe there should be total transparency in government. This transparency should also be present during the election process. No candidate or voter should be afraid to have full transparency in the system.  Note, that is different from campaign donation restrictions. I am most definitely against restricting free speech by restricting campaign donations.

Hubbel didn’t give a great answer to this in my opinion. She believes it should be allowed to give campaign donations anonymously. She points out a business owner may lose money in such a case because voters who are potential customers might avoid utilizing the service of someone who votes differently. I agree with Hubbel. That could happen. But I would go  further to say that it SHOULD happen. Transparency is critical for an open government. If transparency doesn’t exist at the election level, there truly cannot be transparency once someone has gotten to office. It is important to see what individuals and organizations have financed a campaign. It would then be easier for voters to determine if a candidate had been ‘bought off’.

Myers was much better on this topic. He says there shouldn’t be secret contributions. I agree for the very reasons I stated above. Heck, Myers is so transparent he (accidentally?) stated how much money he has in his checking account during the show.  Hopefully I will have time to further discuss this topic with Myers and Hubbel later during the campaign.

I would recommend everyone watch the show. Myers is NOT a typical candidate. I think if enough people get to hear his story and some of his ideas that he has a real shot of being competitive this fall. Unfortunately they ran out of time in this show to hear many of Myers ideas. I’m guessing 100 Eyes will have them on again in the future. Maybe Hubbel will get to speak a little bit more then as well.


Senator Al Novstrup replies to criticism over Amusement Rides bill

Senator Al Novstrup

Senator Al Novstrup

A couple weeks ago I attended a Brown County Democrats fundraiser in Aberdeen, SD. The event had two very clear themes. One was a theme of ‘competition of ideas’ as their push to get more Democrats in Pierre. The other could be best summarized as ‘down with the Novstrups’. That night I noted Welke, Elliot, Remily, and Wismer all took shots at the Novstrups. But it was Burt Elliot’s criticism of Al Novstrup that got the Senators attention. Here is part of what I posted on my blog:

Elliot took a few shots at Al Novstrup. The most notable shot he took at Al was for HB 1168; a bill Al pushed through the legislature to increase regulation on Novstrup’s traveling competitors in the amusement ride industry. I agree with Elliott on this bill. It was pure crony protectionism from Novstrup to push this bill through. The bill in question put extra regulatory burden upon certain amusement ride vendors; yet at the same time it actually protected unscrupulous amusement ride vendors by creating a regulatory protective shield. This was a bad law and Elliot was right to call Al out on it.

To make sure there is no misunderstanding, the part about the regulatory protective shield came from my opinion. However the part about Novstrup legislating extra regulations on his competition came straight from Elliot (in which I concurred). There were other shots at Al by Elliot, but this was the only issue-based shot fired. In full disclosure I should also note I will likely support Al in his bid for a District 3 House Seat. I may disagree with him on this one issue, but overall I feel he is a solid conservative legislator.

I have been in communication with Senator Novstrup about the Amusement Ride bill. He feels Elliot and myself have been looking at this bill wrong. Below is what Senator Novstroup has to say about the bill. I would urge everyone to read his side of the story. It is always a great thing when elected officials are willing to shed light on their actions!


Burt Elliot recently attacked my sponsorship and passing of HB 1168  in the 2014 legislative session.

I was the Senate prime sponsor of HB 1168. As the prime sponsor in the Senate, I helped write the bill and also was the main advocate for the bill in the Senate. Representative Hickey gets credit for being the driving force behind the bill.  The bill asks the amusement industry to

  1. Purchase liability insurance.
  2. Do daily inspections and keep records of those inspections.
  3. Perform annual inspections by certified inspectors when cost effective

Forty-three states have already passed this type of legislation. It was only a matter of time until South Dakota passed an amusement industry safety bill.  My goals were to

  1. Improve safety
  2. Provide reasonable regulation on these multi-generational family run businesses so they continue to prosper and provide jobs.

Good legislation requires input from all.  I took input from carnivals owners that have routes in South Dakota and amusement industry organizations such as IAAPA and OABA. The amusement industry endorsed HB 1168. The only opposition was from seven legislators who believed no amusement industry regulation was the right solution.

Here is what the news media had to say about HB 1168:

Burt Elliot is wrong in many ways:

  1. No one was harmed by HB 1168. Burt, can you share the name with us of one person or company that was harmed by HB 1168? In contrast, Burt Elliot supports Obama Care.
  2. The bill represented a reasonable attempt to increase safety for our children as they enjoy amusement attractions.
  3. The House passed this bill 64-6 and the Senate passed it 34-1
  4. The Democrats pass the bill 20 to none. 100% of the Democratic Senators and Democratic Representatives thought HB 1168 was a worthy of a Yes vote.  The Republicans supported the bill 78-7.


It is an election year and Burt Elliot is looking for an issue.  It appears that Burt Elliot picked an example of quality bi-partisan legislation accomplished by doing the necessary work and compromise.

Independent Senate candidate Pressler gains Centrist group support

Larry Pressler. Photo from downloads section of Pressler Campaign website.

Larry Pressler. Photo from downloads section of Pressler Campaign website.

Today I noticed the Aberdeen news shared an AP story about Independent Senate candidate Larry Pressler receiving support from a centrist political action committee. I don’t think this will surprise anyone that has followed the US Senate race in South Dakota. Personally I’ve seen Pressler as a non-starter since he announced because he is a status-quo politician that has served too many years in DC already. But I thought it would at least be worth looking at what this PAC has to say about him. Maybe they can garner enough monetary support for him to be more competitive than the Democrat US Senate Candidate Rick Weiland.

The PAC supporting Pressler is called The Centrist Project, a 501(c)(4) organization. On the Centrist Project website it states the following goal: “We’ll elected five Centrist Senators by 2020. That’s all we need to change everything.” Going around their website more it seems the overall theme is to elect Senators that will get more legislation passed. This building on the recent populist theme of ending gridlock. Personally I think gridlock is a good thing, it at least prevents DC politicians from doing more harm on the economy. For that reason I will have lump this with the Progressive group No Labels, which also has the same goal. Both groups are bad for liberty and the long-term viability of the United State.

Looking at the PAC’s page about Pressler there are three bullet points touted as to why Pressler is being supported:

  • Bipartisan record. Honestly almost anyone from before the current gridlock golden age could be considered to have a bipartisan record. Pressler served in DC for over 20 years. Up until recently both parties have worked together pretty well to run up our deficit and debt while simultaneously destroying personal liberties and the countries economic viability. Not sure Pressler should be too proud of that bipartisan record.
  • Could win with just 34% of the vote. I think this is an interesting statement from the PAC. It sheds some light on Pressler attaching himself to Obama earlier this week. Is Pressler going to try getting the 34% by trying to sweep the Independent vote while taking a large chunk of the Democrat votes away from Weiland? It would appear so. This is definitely an interesting approach. If he gets financial backing it just might be possible for him to have a fighting chance in this race. But such a plan would likely require a certain segment of Republicans to vote for Pressler (which some older ones may) and that Gordon Howie take a large chunk of conservative voters away from Rounds. I just don’t see that happening. But its an interesting approach.
  • Rare opportunity to pick up an open Senate seat. I think the PAC is being a little over-optimistic here. Right now Rounds has a de facto incumbent status in this race. I think it would be a stretch to call this an ‘open Senate seat’ at this point.

I don’t think this strategy will work. But I did find it interesting enough to do a blog post. Even though I don’t like Pressler as a candidate, I do think with enough monetary support he can maybe make this an interesting race… but that is a huge maybe.


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