District 8 Senate Candidate Jordan Youngberg

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I had a few things to do in Madison this afternoon, and one of them was to make a social call on one of the candidates who has taken on the banner of representing the GOP in this years’ State Senate races, Jordan Youngberg.

Jordan is manager of an implement dealer in Madison, as well as being a small businessman himself, and he was gracious enough to give a few minutes of his time while I was passing through. I told him we should do one of my “5 Questions with…” features one of these days, so that will be coming sooner or later.

As a newcomer to the process, Jordan was impressed with the number of people who are gravitating towards, and offering help for his campaign. And that’s one thing that many Republicans who are running for office find – that there’s a large network of people across the state willing to lend their time & their efforts to make sure that good candidates have the tools available to run for office and win!

That’s not good. Former GOP US Senate hopeful indicted for de-fence-ive actions.

Current Meade County Commissioner, Former Legislator, & 1998 GOP US Senate hopeful Alan Aker was indicted yesterday for some actions that weren’t exactly prudent, according to a Lawrence County Grand Jury.

From KEVN:

Meade County Commissioner Alan Aker has been indicted by a Lawrence County Grand Jury on felony intentional damage to property charges.

and…

A Lawrence County Sheriff’s report recounts an incident on Elk Creek Road in February.  The report alleges that after a dispute over payment for work where Aker was hired as a contractor, that Aker came back to the property and cut off about 50 feet of railing from the project and took it with him.

Read it here.

So, when he goes to trial, is he going to have to hire counsel for his de-fence?

The ever more contentious District 3 House primary.

Not sure what’s going on up in District 3 in Aberdeen, but it seems that the Republican House race is getting downright contentious.  Republicans Dan Kaiser and Drew Dennert have effectively teamed up in running for the two house seats, leaving candidate Todd Kolden as the odd man out.  

There are advantages and disadvantages to running as a team in an election, and as State Representative John Sears (who passed away in 2013) related back to me way back when.. his District mate Republican Representative Alyce McKay had approached him wanting to run at team as well.   Alyce was quite…  well, let’s just call a spade a spade; she was flat out a very liberal Republican.  

She had approached the more conservative Sears, wanting to run as a team. And as Sears noted, he refused, and bluntly said “Alyce, I don’t want to shovel your dog s***.”  In other words, he was concerned with his own race without having to carry her extensive baggage as well.  Sears went on to win, and Alyce? Not so much.

Returning from memory lane, and getting back to District 3, the point is as above that there are disadvantages to running as a team that odd man out Kolden could be using to turn the race in his favor. But instead, he chose at one point to jump into Facebook and vent his frustrations:

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Kolden went on from there, but basically he was taking issue with Kaiser because he’s a police officer, and there’s an inference he would abuse his authority.

Now, Kolden, did take try to walk it back…

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..but as one of my Aberdeen correspondents noted “Just because they are deleted doesn’t make them go away.”

Aside from the fact is might not be a prudent move to be overly critical of the person you hope to be running alongside two months hence, it gives the impression that things aren’t going well in the campaign.

It’s not as if there’s a policy difference of Kaiser’s that Kolden is coming out against as if he were directly challenging one or both of his opponents. It’s one thing to say “My opponent believes X and I believe Y, and that’s why I’m the better choice.” It’s entirely another to be kvetching on facebook that the other guys are buddies, as if anyone cares if they’re leaving you out of their reindeer games.

Is there any hope for Kolden at this point? Well, there’s always hope. If he wanted to turn it around, my advice to Kolden would be to spend every waking moment going door to door, and then swamp every likely voter with messaging the last 2 weeks of the campaign.

And stay off of facebook. Period. Using it isn’t helping.

Thune Bill Would Create Independent Oversight Position for Veterans Choice Act

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressThune Bill Would Create Independent Oversight Position for Veterans Choice Act

“Veterans should not have to face additional burdens to care, especially in a program that is meant to streamline the veteran experience.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today introduced legislation that would create an independent ombudsman position within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) that would be tasked with establishing a methodology for resolving certain complaints levied by veterans, their family members or designated caregivers, VA employees, and third party health care providers.

Thune introduced this bill in response to concerns he received from veterans who reported ongoing scheduling issues created by the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability (Choice) Act of 2014, a law that was intended to increase veterans’ access to local health care, but has been blamed for numerous scheduling backlogs.

“There are some serious problems with the Choice Act that I think everyone can recognize,” said Thune. “What began as a straightforward attempt to address the scandal-plagued VA has become a headache for some veterans across South Dakota, even when few scheduling issues existed in the first place. Veterans should not have to face additional burdens to care, especially in a program that is meant to streamline the veteran experience. I hope this new position in the OIG’s office would help answer our veterans’ questions and resolve some of their problems. It’s what they deserve.”

Under Thune’s legislation, the newly appointed ombudsman would serve as the central collection point for complaints related to problems with:

  • Scheduling veterans to obtain care from third-party providers
  • Authorizing veteran care to be administered by a third-party provider
  • Enrolling third-party providers
  • Copays and third-party reimbursement
  • Coordinating care between the VA and third-party providers

The ombudsman, whose position would sunset after 10 years or when the Choice Act’s authorization expires, would be required to provide quarterly reports to the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs on his or her activity, including the total number of complaints received and complaints resolved and/or pending. He or she would also be required to provide recommendations for resolving the systemic problems with the Choice Act.

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Great news! D18 Senate Indy sends petitions in.

I’m hearing that there will be a independent running in District 18 Senate that the GOP can get behind!

(I might take just a smidgen of credit by telling local Republicans that he would be a good guy to talk to.). And it sounds like someone went and did just that.

I’ll stand by and let the news break when the petitions arrive. So, keep your eyes out!

Rounds Statement on Meeting with Judge Garland

Rounds Logo 2016MikeRounds official Senate Rounds Statement on Meeting with Judge Garland

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) made the following statement after his meeting with Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court:

“As a former governor, I respect the president’s responsibility to make a nomination. Today I met with Judge Garland as a courtesy.  During our meeting, I thanked him for allowing the president to place his name in nomination. However, I believe that Justice Scalia’s replacement should be nominated by the next President of the United States.”

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Are Democrats going to start a movement to dump Jay Williams? Or are they going to embrace the crazy?

I think my mouth is still agape after listening to the interview the Argus Leader did with Democrat’s “If no one else will do it” Senate candidate Jay Williams yesterday. Because I don’t think I can ever recall hearing a candidate promoting the views that he did.

And some of it was so crazy, that you have to question whether Democrats are going to start a movement to dump him?

williamsThere’s so much that was said that was just utterly off the wall, I’m not sure where to start.  But, I’ll give it an attempt.

Williams didn’t exactly deny that he was the “If no one else would do it” candidate, but he preferred to call himself the “if you can’t find a better known” candidate.   I’m not sure that’s any better.

From there, we quickly moved into the Jay Williams tax plan where Williams went on about how South Dakota has “no income tax” and said “We’re undertaxed in South Dakota,,, an Income tax would be a good way to go.

Williams also brought up his views on the Dem’s presidential candidates, and reiterated previously stated thoughts about Bernie Sanders, noting “I DO think he’s a moderate. He’s not a European Liberal, He’s ab American Liberal…. He’s a progressive guy is what we say.”

(Bernie Sanders a Moderate? Brrr…. I’d hate to see a real liberal then. – pp)

Williams also made note regarding himself that he’s “always been a Liberal.”   To which I would not have grounds to argue with him. From there he moved deeper into the weird and politically unfathomable. Especially where it comes to fossil fuels. Because Williams directly advocated for stopping any expansion of infrastructure for the transport of fossil fuels – and directly stated that “the transport of fossil fuels is a problem.”

Worse yet, when asked if his platform would be to rid ourselves of fossil fuels, he replied “of fossil fuels? YOU BET!”

jaywilliams_propotHe went on to advocate a program of “government subsidies so everyone could put photo-voltaic cells on their roofs.”   Yes. He wants to create a brand new Obama-roof program. WOW.  Of course, he also advocated “eliminating coal” from the production of electricity in this country entirely citing “wind, solar and ocean tides.”   Because South Daktota’s energy needs will be served well by ocean tides?  Again, wow.

Lest he leave it out, Williams also weighed in on cap & tax for carbon credits, citing “Cap & trade..is a pretty good idea.”

When asked about legalizing marijuana for recreational use, Williams directly stated that “Drugs are not criminal…..it’s a mental health problem.”  And that “recreational marijuana is a thing that’s going to happen, so South Dakota should do it sooner than later.”

By this time, we were fully in the twilight zone, so it came as no surprise when Williams advocated increasing gas taxes by $1 a gallon, when prompted by the interviewers. Williams directly stated “I think that’s a pretty good number…. I’d propose a tax to not let it get below a certain number.

A candidate who is for legalizing pot, a state income tax, eliminating oil and coal from the national energy infrastructure, and wanting to raise prices in gasoline by at least $1 per gallon or more –  you’re left asking whether Democrats going to start a movement to dump Jay Williams? Or are they going to embrace the crazy?

Because there’s no way the public at large is going to accept a candidate espousing such utter lunacy as making everyone get an electric car or tractor, making us all get Obama-roofs, and shutting down petroleum production in this country.

If Democrats are serious about competing in the US Senate contest this year, they’d be best served by finding someone – anyone – who isn’t so ridiculously out on the fringe of far-left liberal thinking. Because what they’ve got right now will just leave voters with dropped jaws every time he opens his mouth.

Seriously, go listen to the interview here, and you can judge for yourself.

Dems promoting 2018 races like Republicans are. Are they admitting 2016 is a foregone conclusion too?

This was an interesting e-mail coming out yesterday from the South Dakota Democrats.

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In the announcement for their “McGovern Day” dinner, they have the invitation coming from ex-Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, which would seem to give the impression that she’s building a strong connection with the State party organization as it promotes one of it’s big yearly fundraisers (in a struggle to keep from going underwater).

The event will feature Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, who before running himself, used to be on the staff of Rep. James Traficant. Traficant, if you recall, was expelled from the House and sent to prison for seven years after being convicted of a list of crimes including taking bribes, filing false tax returns, racketeering and forcing his aides to perform chores.  (No word if Ryan is going to talk about doing chores on Traficant’s Ohio farm or D.C. houseboat at the dinner.)

I’m more interested in the co-branding of the event with Herseth-Sandlin, though.

It seems to parallel some of the efforts that various Republicans in the 2018 race for Governor, such as Marty Jackley and Mark Mickelson are making, in which they’re headlining GOP Dinners across the state.

They’re headlining these events, because for all practical purposes, Republicans are calling the 2106 major statewide races DONE  Paula Hawks is simply one of the worst candidates that Democrats have ever put up for Congress. And Jay “If no one else will do it” Williams is even worse.

By bringing in Stephanie to encourage people to attend, it’s like they’re trying to scrape the bad meal they’ve been served up for 2016 off of their tongue, and to start talking about 2018, when one of their former stars might be thinking about running for office.  Because make no mistake – no one (except for their spouses) are coming to the event for Hawks and Williams.

Democrats are going to attend with the hopes of glimpsing the promise of the red meat they might be served 2 years hence. They’re certainly not coming for a meal where they are served microwaved leftovers complete with a side of beets, because that’s all that was left in the cupboard.