5 Questions with…. District 9 State Representative Wayne Steinhauer

He’s the newest legislator in Pierre, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to speak with State Representative Wayne Steinhauer, who was recently appointed to the seat that was once held by State Representative Steve Hickey.  According to a release from the Governor’s office:

Steinhauer is the outgoing chairman of the Minnehaha County Planning Commission, on which he has served for 14 years. He retired last year as chief operations officer of Amesbury, after a 30 year career in business. He also owns and operates the Best Western Hotel in Murdo.

“I am extremely honored to be appointed to the South Dakota House of Representatives,” said Steinhauer. “I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to represent District 9 and to work in Pierre with other South Dakota leaders for the benefit of all.”

Steinhauer has been active in many community organizations, including Rotary International, Downtown Sioux Falls, Sioux Empire United Way and Sioux Falls Tomorrow. He is also a member of the Murdo Chamber of Commerce.

Steinhauer and his wife of 40 years, Cindy, have two children and nine grandchildren. They are members of St. George Church in Hartford.

And with that, we have 5 Questions with State Representative Wayne Steinhauer:

1.       Can you give us a brief rundown of what in your background you believe has prepared you best for serving in the state legislature?  

 I have a varied background in business and civic activities that will help me understand the complexities of the issues facing the state.   After 14 years on the Minnehaha County Planning Commission I have grown in my appreciation for the give and take that can occur between an individual’s needs and those of the community plus the role government can play.  Previously I spent a dozen years on the Sioux Falls Planning Commission which facilitated my involvement in tax increment financing, Main Street Sioux Falls (now Down Town Sioux Falls), RISE, the river greenway, bicycle plans, ordinance changes and the like.   My prior work with the Sioux Empire United Way helps my awareness of the social issues we face and the great organizations we have.   I have been a senior executive in an international manufacturing firm but I also own a small Best Western Motel in Murdo SD.   So I have a unique view of the issues facing both large and small business.   Additionally, owning a motel in Murdo increases my awareness of the issues faced by a small community dependent on our two biggest state industries; Agriculture and Tourism.

2.       Your appointment to the office comes at about the same time that the Education Blue Ribbon task force made its report to the Governor. Are you finding people trying to lobby you one way or the other on how to improve teacher salaries in the state, or perhaps, not to raise taxes? 

Not so much yet, but I am reaching out to leaders in this area to learn all that I can.  Within days of my appointment I met with the superintendents of both Tri-Valley and West Central School districts to learn more about the issues they are facing and initial thoughts on the task force report.

3.       A lot of times, people have an opinion of Republican Legislators, that they can check off a list of where they stand on certain issues, and anticipate how they’ll vote. Are there any issues where you might stand apart from a majority, or that people might be surprised to learn?  

That is an interesting question.   Even after checking with my wife, Cindy, I would have to say that I am very aligned with the stereotypical concept of a Republican.   That said, I would like to think that I am very open to listening to both sides of an issue and looking for creative solutions that might not always be mainstream.

4.       Are there any specific issues or areas that you anticipate focusing your energies on during the upcoming legislative session?  What committees are you hoping to serve on?  

Clearly there are several significant issues that will take considerable focus; teacher pay, and Medicaid expansion for example.   Speaker Wink has informed me that I will be on the Transportation and Commerce & Energy standing committees.  I also am very interested in Local Government issues and believe my background may be of benefit in this area.

5.       In about a month, you’ll be starting out your 2016 political campaign about the same time you’ll travel to Pierre for your first session. How are you preparing your first race as a Republican candidate for the state house?

Most important to me at this time is preparing to do a good job during the upcoming session.  I think I must first prove that I am a capable legislator and then later focus on a campaign.   That said, I believe that by reaching out to those in my district to get their opinions on issues will serve me well in a future campaign.

Democrats out begging for Lobbyist dollars to get elected. After they were trying to ban Lobbyist donations.

As you can see from the above postcard, which I received from a lobbyist, on December 5th, State Democrats will be shilling for dollars and cozying up to state lobbyists to raise money for their elections.

Would that include some of the same Democrats who were helping to circulate the Taxpayer Funded Campaign Act which as part of the measure limits lobbyist gifts and donations to elected officials?

Damn, that’s ironic.

Have you helped the Augie CR’s yet? Inching towards 50% of their goal

Have you clicked on the link at the top left of the page to make a donation to the Augustana College Republicans to attend CPAC in March? They’re at 47% of their $5000 goal.  In case you’re wondering why:

One of the greatest opportunities for young conservatives to hit the ground running is the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in Washington, D.C. in March, 2016. The conference hosts thousands of conservative leaders, and is even hosting a few of the Presidential Candidates who are fighting for Republican Nominee. CPAC is a bootcamp for young conservatives: it engages them in the political process, creates networks, and provides hands-on learning about how college students can relay their political experience and skills onto their campuses; thus sharing conservative values, engaging more students into one of most important parts of being an American citizen.

That’s where you come in. Augustana University Republicans want to take as many students as possible. Our goal is to take 18 students to Washington, D.C for four nights during the conference. We will use the funds to pay for flight tickets, transportation to and from the airport, and lodging.

As the conference is in Washington, D.C in March, we are trying to reach our goal of $5,000 by the end of January 2016 in order to book flights for 18 students. As any conservative knows, hard work and dedication will reap results. We know that with hard work and dedication, we can make this trip affordable for 18 college students.

Read that here.

It’s a far more educational experience than they could ever receive in a classroom with some liberal professor. It’s real, and you can help them achieve it.

Click on the image, or go here, and send them a few dollars to help them along their way. They are the party’s future, and you can help shape it.

Welcome Redstone Law Firm!

You might notice this morning that we have a new advertiser on the right hand side of the page – Redstone Law firm, LLP.   And actually, they’re not a new law firm. It’s the group of attorneys that make up Murphy, Goldammer & Prendergast, LLP who have changed their name.

So, why Redstone? It’s actually steeped in South Dakota history. It’s a reference to the quartzite that’s used all over South Dakota. As noted in one article:

…One afternoon when we were free, one of the local people who was very interested in historical stuff took us on a tour around the area and pointed out one of these monuments. I had lived in South Dakota and North Dakota all my life and had never seen or heard of them. It was a combination of my sense of history and fascination with quartzite.

When we went to Sioux Falls, we were surrounded by it — streets, curbs, buildings and houses were made out of quartzite, and I thought it was the most beautiful stone I had ever seen. It’s now crushed and used as aggregate in highways. If you drive Interstate 29 near Watertown and Brookings, S.D., and the concrete is wearing off, you see a pinkish hue to the concrete. That’s quartzite.

Q. What’s the story behind the monuments?

A. Sen. Richard Pettigrew was a senatorial representative when we were Dakota Territory. When South Dakota came into the union, he was one of the first U.S. senators from that state. He was a surveyor, a developer and a real go-getter.

Pettigrew wanted to develop Sioux Falls. There were about four or five railroads coming into the city. He probably had interests in all of them. He also wanted to develop the quartzite industry — the quarry industry. There were whole communities in Sioux Falls that were made up of stone cutters. Many of the buildings in Sioux Falls were made of quartzite and many of the buildings on the St. Augustina College campus were made of quartzite.

Read that here.

And in Sioux Falls, the “Red Stone” or pink quartzite is also the material the old County Courthouse is constructed from, hence another reference to the term:

So, as I ask you to do for all of our advertisers, please take a moment to visit their website, and to patronize the Redstone Law Firm!

redstoneAnd don’t forget to do the same for Senator Thune, Americans for Prosperity, Congresswoman Kristi Noem, and the Rushmore PAC.

Dakota Access Pipeline approved 2-1.

From the Associated Press:

State regulators have granted a construction permit for a pipeline that will cross through South Dakota as it carries North Dakota oil to Illinois.

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission voted 2-1 to approve the 1,130-mile Dakota Access Pipeline at a meeting on Monday.

Read it here.

What are your thoughts?

Er, yeah. Most people just say please. Donate or Paula will get you. You’ve been warned.

From my e-mail box, comes a Paula Hawks fundraising appeal. A somewhat threatening fundraising appeal, with the subject line “your first warning“:

From: “Paula Hawks” <info@hawksforhouse.com>
Date: November 30, 2015 at 4:05:37 PM CST
Subject: your first warning
Reply-To: info@hawksforhouse.com

REDACTED, my team tells me we still need about 50 donations until we hit our grassroots fundraising goal. If you haven’t stepped up yet, now is your chance.

Use this link to send whatever you can before midnight:






I’ll check in again later tonight – thanks!


Paid for Hawks for U.S. House

Hawks for U.S. House
PO Box 2848
Sioux Falls SD 57101 United States

Seriously, who says “your first warning” with a fundraising appeal?


Lots to be thankful for in the upcoming months, such as another good year for Republicans.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday this past week, now that we’re officially moving into the Holiday season with ice, snow, school closings, and the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Christmas special tomorrow night.

At the Powers’ household, we were fortunate enough to have two of our three daughters return home from college for the holiday, and a day or so after daughter #2 went back to Vermillion, she and her long-time boyfriend announced their engagement, with planned nuptials this coming June.  So, I’m not losing a daughter. I’m gaining wedding expenses.  (Now might be a good time to mention that the campaign season is almost upon us, and dakotacampaignstore.com is prepared to serve your campaign needs.)

We’re literally one month – 31 days – until petitions for office can be circulated on January 1, 2016. There’s a good number of Republicans who are chomping at the bit to get moving on things, and possibly one or two Democrats (but no more than one or two), so it’s looking to be a lively election. There are already reports of primaries, those who are switching chambers, several new candidates who are announcing, and the possibility of an old friend or two who will be making a return.

This coming year, South Dakota voters will be voting for President, US Senate, Congress, Public Utilities Commission, all 105 State Legislative seats, various County Commissioners, and a majority of the County Coroners, County State’s Attorneys, and County Treasurers.

The Presidential race is still anyone’s call, but in South Dakota, the next three seats down the ticket can arguably be considered “done” already at this point.

United States Senator John Thune is incredibly strong, and no opponent is even considering the race yet, much less raising money for it.  Congresswoman Kristi Noem is equally on firm footing as she faces Democrat Paula Hawks, who has yet to run anything resembling a coherent campaign. Republican Chris Nelson running for the Public Utilities Commission is also likely to be a shoe in, as no Democrat will even consider the contest until the last moment, and will be doomed to obscurity a moment after they announce.

The real battlefield will be in those legislative races across the state – and if you’re a new Republican candidate running, drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you, and the readers want to find out more!

I’m giddy with the promise and possibilities of the coming year. We have lots to be thankful for in the upcoming months. And first and foremost, we can be thankful we’ll have another good year for Republican candidates.

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Giving Thanks

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressGiving Thanks  
By Sen. John Thune

The holiday season, especially Thanksgiving, is a good opportunity to reconnect with friends and family so we can share old memories and create new ones along the way. The holidays give us the chance to reflect on and give thanks for the blessings of another year and celebrate our faith that tomorrow will be more joyous and prosperous than today. It is through this faith that I believe America’s best days lie ahead, and for that, I am thankful and excited for what is to come.

I consider myself a lottery winner in the fact that I was lucky enough to be born in the greatest country on the face of the Earth, and because of that, my family and I can share in the rich traditions America has afforded us. Each Thanksgiving – depending on the weather in South Dakota, of course – my family tries to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether that’s a pheasant hunt in the prairie or a makeshift football game in the backyard, I value every moment I am able to share with them. With two grown daughters, it has been a remarkable opportunity to see them grow and experience life’s ups and downs along the way, and I cannot wait to see what is in store for their futures.

President Reagan was right about a lot of things and the importance of family and tradition were among them. He called families the “cornerstone of American society” and said they “nurture, preserve, and pass on to each succeeding generation the values we share and cherish, values that are the foundation of our freedoms. In the family we learn our first lessons of God and man, love and discipline, rights and responsibilities, human dignity and human frailty.” In today’s chaotic world, Reagan’s words especially ring true.

In addition to my faith, family, and freedom, I am thankful for the brave men and women who defend and protect them. I often say that without a strong national defense, everything else is just conversation. It is because of the true sacrifice made by our military, who all too often spend the holidays away from their own families, that we are able to carve turkeys, watch football, and spend time with the people we care about. Please remember them this holiday season and the opportunities that are created because of their service – and to all who have served, thank you.

Whether you are traveling or staying home this year, I hope this season is met with joy, happiness, and safety. From my family to yours, happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays.


Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: November is Diabetes Awareness Month

RoundsPressHeader MikeRounds official SenateNovember is Diabetes Awareness Month
By Senator Mike Rounds

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects almost 30 million Americans. Many of us know a friend or family member living with diabetes. It is a metabolic disease that requires constant treatment and monitoring blood sugar to manage. If left untreated, diabetes can cause many complications, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney failure and eye damage. But the good news is, the disease is entirely manageable, and – in most cases – preventable through a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

To raise awareness of this growing disease and highlight the importance of proper diabetes control, November has been designated as American Diabetes Month. It is an opportunity for all of us to learn more about those who suffer from the disease, how to prevent it and some of the issues surrounding it. I support the early detection and prevention of diabetes, and that’s why I cosponsored a resolution that recently passed the Senate reflecting those ideals.

In South Dakota, approximately seven percent of adults currently suffer from diabetes today. While this is below the national average, the number continues to rise at an unacceptable rate. Even more concerning are the number of Native Americans in South Dakota suffering from diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 4 Native Americans in South Dakota have been diagnosed with the disease. While federal programs for Native Americans have helped South Dakota tribes set up diabetes prevention and awareness programs, more can and should be done to combat the disease.

The theme of American Diabetes Month this year is “Eat Well, America!” to highlight the importance a healthy diet plays in combatting diabetes. With the holiday season upon us, healthy eating can seem like an impossible task, but the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has outlined some simple dietary guidelines to follow. As a general rule, the ADA recommends a diet based on whole grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables. It also recommends limiting one’s intake of sugar and sodium.

Ninety-five percent of diabetes in the United States is type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable by making healthy lifestyle choices. In addition, the ADA estimates that 86 million Americans have “prediabetes,” which puts them at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. By following the ADA’s healthy eating guidelines, getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, one’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes is greatly reduced.

Diabetes is a growing disease that can have deadly consequences if left untreated. While there is not yet a cure, there is no shortage of organizations working to spread awareness and help others manage their diabetes. The ADA is celebrating 75 years of progress in diabetes treatment, management and quality of life. I thank them and others who have worked to raise awareness and combat the growing disease. Whether you are living with diabetes or want to take measures to prevent yourself from being diagnosed, recognizing November as American Diabetes Month is an opportunity for all of us to know more about the disease.

# # #

Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: A Prescription for Rural South Dakota

noem press header kristi noem headshot May 21 2014A Prescription for Rural South Dakota
By Rep. Kristi Noem

Our son Booker was pretty sick when he was little.  There were a number of times when Bryon and I had to have the conversation: “It’s midnight and something’s not right again.  Do we take him to the hospital?  Do we go now?  Do we wait until morning?  It’s not like there’s a hospital around the corner.”  I assume many parents, particularly those in rural South Dakota, have had to ask those questions.  It’s not always an easy call to make, especially when the roads are icy and temperatures have dipped below zero.  But with recent advances in South Dakota’s telehealth options, these conversations may become a thing of the past.

Already today, families can see a doctor by just turning on their phones.  Both Avera and Sanford Health, for instance, offer smartphone apps that let you connect instantly with a physician who can help parents determine how serious that fever is and what can be done about it.  If only they had that when our kids were little!

Perhaps even more incredibly, telehealth programs operating out of South Dakota are giving many local clinics a medical upgrade, shrinking the distance between you and state-of-the-art care.

At the push of a button, your hometown doctor can connect to an experienced emergency physician, an ICU care team, a pharmacist, even specialists in the areas of cardiology or diabetes.  Through the use of two-way video feeds – much like you would use FaceTime or Skype – and specialized telehealth instruments, a doctor in Sioux Falls can have access to every bit of data being collected in the exam room.

With this information, they can talk your local physician through a crisis that they may not typically deal with or maybe just serve as a second set of eyes to help make sure you’re getting the best care possible.

I had the opportunity to tour Avera’s telehealth headquarters earlier this year. There were a few dozen computer stations that were staffed by accomplished physicians – many with more than two decades of experience.  Each station was lined with four high-definition screens where the specialists could see everything from a patient’s vital stats to a real-time video feed of an operation they were counseling a local physician on.  In that room, we saw high-quality health care being delivered across the Midwest to even the smallest of rural clinics. Sanford Health offers many of the same options through a similar program.

A growing number of health care providers in South Dakota are being assisted by telehealth professionals like this.  The Avera site I visited in Sioux Falls services 235 sites across the Midwest alone and claims to have touched the lives of approximately 790,000 patients – from young families to Medicare recipients.

I never considered a life where Bryon and I weren’t raising our kids in rural South Dakota.  We saw so much value in what you learn by growing up this way.  We’ve always loved it and I know many families in South Dakota feel the same way.  Still, small health care providers are struggling to stay afloat, making it more difficult to attract families to small towns.  I’m hopeful new technologies can change this, which is why I’ll be fighting to make sure folks in Washington, D.C., understand why that’s so important that we support telehealth programs.  It’s worth the investment.  After all, telehealth may just be the prescription we need to bridge the gap between rural America and state-of-the-art medical care.