Gov. Daugaard To Appoint David Lust To District 34 State House Seat (Told you so)

(What was that I was saying last week?   -PP)

daugaardheader daugaard2Gov. Daugaard To Appoint
David Lust To District 34 S
tate House Seat

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced today that he will appoint former state Rep. David Lust of Rapid City to the vacant seat in the state House representing District 34.

Lust will succeed Rep. Dan Dryden, who passed away last month. Rep. Dryden’s current term began in January 2015 and ends in early January 2017, prior to the next legislative session. Lust will serve until the end of that term.

“Rep. Dryden’s passing left a real void, and I appreciate David Lust’s willingness to return,” said Gov. Daugaard. “District 34 voters elected David Lust four times to represent them, and he was an excellent legislator.”

Lust is an attorney and a partner at Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore in Rapid City. He previously served from 2007 to 2015 in the state House, and was House Majority Leader from 2011 to 2015. Since leaving the Legislature, Lust has served on the Ellsworth Development Authority and on the State Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners.

“It was very meaningful to me that Judy Dryden asked me to apply to complete Dan’s term, and I thank the Governor for this opportunity,” said Lust. “Dan was a good friend and a great person, and it means a lot to be able to complete his term and fulfill his commitment to the people of District 34 and the state of South Dakota.”

Rep. Dryden was also a candidate for reelection to the state House this fall. Under South Dakota law, Dryden’s name will remain on the November ballot. If Dryden is reelected, it will create a vacancy for the term that begins in January 2017, which would also be filled by gubernatorial appointment. Gov. Daugaard would plan to appoint Lust to fill that vacancy as well.

District 34 includes western Rapid City, generally including the areas west of Mt. Rushmore Road, Dinosaur Hill, and “the gap” on West Main Street, and including sites such as Camp Rapid, Canyon Lake, the Sioux San Hospital, West Middle School, and Southwest Middle School.


South Dakota Chamber of Commerce Opposes Amendment V


South Dakota Chamber of Commerce Opposes Amendment V

Pierre, SD – September 23, 2016 – One of South Dakota’s leading business advocate and nonpartisan organizations, the Chamber of Commerce & Industry, has come out in official opposition to Amendment V.

“South Dakota has a good business climate, low taxes, and no gridlock,” said David Owen, President of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry, “why would we want to copy California, a state with high taxes, mountains of debt, and political gridlock?”

Amendment V would heavily revise South Dakota’s constitution by hiding party labels on the ballot and installing a merged primary system similar to that in effect for statewide elections in California. Amendment V would apply to all elections in South Dakota other than Presidential elections.

“Amendment V is backed by an out-of-state group using South Dakota for a political experiment. It is attempting to solve problems we don’t have here in South Dakota,” Owen added.

The Amendment V campaign is funded by 76% out-of-state money, with over 70% coming from a single group in New York, NY.

“Thank you to the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce for seeing Amendment V for what it is: an anti-transparent effort to hide party labels from South Dakota voters,” said Will Mortenson, Chairman of South Dakotans Against V.

The Chamber of Commerce joins a coalition of nonpartisan organizations including the South Dakota Farm Bureau and South Dakota Association of Cooperatives in opposing Amendment V.

For more information, voters should visit


GOP Officeholders more interested in enforcing laws on the books than grabbing headlines.

While South Dakota Democrats are making their focus claiming the GOP candidates are just like Donald Trump because they are going to vote for him, the truth is much farther off.

If you noticed this AM, the Argus Leader took a break in political coverage from fawning over Rick Weiland, and noted that the Republican candidates aren’t exactly in lockstep with GOP Presidential Nominee Donald Trump when it comes to his comments about building a wall between the US and Mexico:

The Republican incumbents say they want better security at the borders and tougher penalties on people who enter the country illegally, but neither is fixated on Trump’s vision for a physical barrier.


“We’re a country with a history of welcoming people but we’re also a country of laws,” Sen. John Thune said. “We want to provide incentives to people who are going to come here and play by the rules, not illegal immigrants who are going to come and become citizens after they’re granted amnesty.”


Noem said the country’s top priority needs to be restoring security at the border and providing additional resources to aid border patrol agents. She said she doesn’t support Donald Trump’s proposal to deport millions of illegal aliens but wouldn’t support amnesty for immigrants that have arrived in the United States illegally.

“We certainly do not have control over what is going on at our border,” Noem said. “I believe we need to build a wall where it makes sense.”

Read it all here.

It sounds like the GOP candidates want to enforce the laws and responsibilities the Federal Government has, but isn’t honoring. Before we start digging deeper into the issue.

Maybe not sensationalistic. But we hire them to do a good job. And that’s what they’re doing.

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: No Room for Error in National Security Strategy

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressNo Room for Error in National Security Strategy
By Sen. John Thune

The recent bombing and attempted bombings in New York and New Jersey, as well as the shopping mall attack that occurred less than 200 miles from South Dakota’s eastern border, have reminded us once again that the United States isn’t immune to the risk posed by radical Islamic terrorism. Sadly, we’ve seen these types of attacks before, both in San Bernardino and Orlando. We must remain vigilant and do everything we can to ensure potential risks are identified and eliminated, because when it comes to our national security strategy, there is no room for error. 

ISIS has already claimed responsibility for the attack in St. Cloud, a city typically more threatened by an early winter than a knife-wielding ISIS fighter. And we know the man responsible for planting explosive devices in New York and New Jersey neighborhoods was inspired by the radical teachings of Al Qaeda and ISIS leaders. Law enforcement and intelligence communities acted swiftly after these attacks, and I’m hopeful we’ll soon know more about them, the men who carried them out, and in doing so, be able to piece together their motives and any additional ties to terrorist groups like ISIS. 

ISIS, once described as the “JV team” by President Obama, has quickly grown into a global network. There’s no question the rise of ISIS can be traced, in part, to the president’s decision to prematurely withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. Our departure from the region left a hole in Iraq’s security, which created an opportunity for ISIS to expand its reign of terror. Despite the carnage that’s repeatedly filled our TV screens – carnage that cannot be denied – the president and his administration continue to downplay the threat posed by ISIS. This is a gross miscalculation. 

In Congress, we’re working to keep American families safe from the threat of terrorism. Senate Republicans will continue to push for the resources our military needs to defeat ISIS and other threats abroad. We will continue pursuing policies that strengthen our borders so we know who is coming in and out of our country – a key component to our national security. And we will continue supporting policies that give our intelligence and security agencies the tools they need to keep the American people safe.

As the leader of the Commerce Committee, which oversees our nation’s transportation system, I’ve looked for ways to improve security on our nation’s roads and railways, and in our skies, too. I fought hard to include numerous airport security provisions in the aviation bill I helped get through Congress earlier this year. Also, I recently introduced a bill that would strengthen security on our nation’s highways and railways by closing the gap in the Transportation Security Administration’s approach to surface transportation security.   

Terrorists don’t target one political party or another. They don’t care if you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. Their only goal is to disrupt our peace of mind and cut to the core of our freedom. So when it comes to national security, leaders in Washington must rise above politics and work together to defeat ISIS and fund the men and women who defend our freedom around the globe. It’s our duty, and it’s what the American people deserve.


Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Undoing Historical Wrongs to Our Native American Citizens

Rounds Logo 2016 MikeRounds official SenateUndoing Historical Wrongs to Our Native American Citizens
By Sen. Mike Rounds 

Imagine a scenario today in which the federal government, with no due process, forcibly removes children of a specific race from their homes and places them into a boarding school more than a thousand miles away from their family and friends. Or imagine the outcry if the federal government were to subject a certain race of citizens into forced labor as a condition of receiving benefits he or she has a treaty obligation to receive. Such patronizing superiority would not be tolerated in today’s society, and there would be a public outcry against such blatant discrimination. Yet these are examples of federal laws which are still on the books today with regard to our Native American citizens. It is time to officially remove these historical wrongs from the books.

In April 2016, I introduced the Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes Act, or the RESPECT Act, and it recently passed unanimously out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. The RESPECT Act would reverse a list of outdated, offensive laws against Native American citizens in the United States. In addition to laws that would allow for the forced removal of Native American Children who can be forced into boarding schools and subjecting Indians into forced labor, a law currently exists today where the president is authorized to declare all treaties with such tribes “abrogated if in his opinion any Indian tribe is in actual hostility to the United States.” Another statute calls for the “withholding of moneys or goods on account of intoxicating liquors,” meaning Native Americans can be denied annuities, money or goods if they are found under the influence of alcohol.

These and other statutes that would be repealed under the RESPECT Act are a sad reminder of the hostile aggression and overt racism displayed by the early federal government toward Native Americans as the government attempted to “assimilate” them into what was considered “modern society.” In many cases, these laws are more than a century old and do nothing but continue the stigma of subjugation and paternalism from that time period. Clearly, there is no place in our legal code for such laws. The idea that these laws were ever considered is disturbing, but the fact that these laws remain on our books – is at best – an oversight. I thank Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) for all he has done to move the RESPECT Act forward, as well as Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) for introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

During a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing in June, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Chairman David Flute of South Dakota testified in support of the RESPECT Act, saying that “Native Americans should all be fully included in America as U.S. citizens and citizens of our Native Nations, with respect for our rights to Freedom, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  I could not agree more. While we can’t change history, we should do everything we can to make the future better for all Americans. The RESPECT Act is but one long-overdue step we can take in that ongoing effort. 


Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Don’t Wait

noem press header kristi noem headshot May 21 2014Don’t Wait
By Rep. Kristi Noem 

Mary Ellen Dirksen grew up in what most people would consider a pretty typical Midwest family.  Her close-knit family of four looked picture perfect from the outside – and for the most part, it looked just as perfect from the inside.  But a little more than a decade ago, Mary Ellen’s big brother – a handsome, intelligent guy who loved basketball and hot fudge sundaes – died by suicide.

South Dakota has one of the nation’s highest suicide rates, and in recent years, the state has seen the number of attempted suicides increase considerably.  As one of the state’s leading causes of death, most families or communities, to one extent or another, have felt the blow of suicide.  

Despite knowing how far reaching suicide is, we too often lean heavily on narrow stereotypes to determine the type of people most likely to be impacted by mental illnesses.  But mental illness and suicidal thoughts can afflict anyone, which is one of the reasons I sponsored legislation designating September as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  

In her book, “The Swing Set,” which describes the grief and healing she experienced after her brother’s death, Mary Ellen explains: “I had known [my brother] wasn’t dressing well, that he looked unshaven, that he was irritable and that this was causing turmoil in our family.  I had known he wasn’t leaving the house, that he didn’t take interest in life like he used to, and that his worldview had become pessimistic.  But I had never really known anyone who suffered from depression, actual depression, especially not someone handsome and capable like my brother.” 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness adds to the list of characteristics Mary Ellen saw in her brother, pointing to increased alcohol and drug use; talking, writing, or thinking about death; and impulsive or reckless behavior as other warning signs. 

While anyone can be impacted, I also recognize that in recent years some communities have been affected more than others.  I’ll never forget sitting across the table last fall as a young tribal member told me they had lost all hope.  Suicide had taken their sibling as well as more than one of their friends – all before their high school graduation.  This individual too had thought about it.  Within weeks of that meeting, we had new provisions in a mental health bill that’s now passed the House directing more resources into tribal suicide prevention programs.  It’s an epidemic that needs to end.

The same is true within veteran communities.  Nearly two dozen Americans lose their life to suicide daily.  More resources have been dedicated in this area as well and we continue to invest in learning more about the relationship between military service, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries, and suicide.  But none of it is being done fast enough. 

“I wish I had known how difficult it is to live with depression and that a person can’t simply ‘snap out of it,’” wrote Mary Ellen, who now helps other families struggling with depression and grief in Sioux Falls and beyond.  While we can’t walk someone else’s journey, we can help each other navigate through – and that’s all a person can ask. 

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the warning signs, please use this as your motivation to get help.  If it is an emergency, dial 911 immediately.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) – is also open around the clock for help.  Don’t wait to call.


Governor Daugaard’s Weekly Column: 2016 Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

daugaardheader daugaard22016 Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard: 

On Friday morning, Sept. 30, a few dozen cowboys will put on their boots and saddle up their horses. Custer State Park employees will arise before dawn. And thousands from across the state, country and world will gather, all to continue a 51-year tradition.

The Buffalo Roundup is an experience unlike any other. You can feel the ground shake as over 1,000 half-ton creatures stampede across the prairie. Watching the few brave riders drive the beasts to their destination is quite incredible. Witnessing the buffalo’s power and speed from such a short distance creates a feeling of being back in the Old West.

At one time, there were about 60 million buffalo roaming North America, but that number decreased to less than 2,000 in the early twentieth century. Although population levels are nowhere near the historical peak, South Dakota buffalo have made a comeback from their near extinction, thanks in part to Custer State Park.

Riders will round up a herd of 1,300 buffalo on Sept. 30, and it will take about four days to work the herd. Volunteers will vaccinate and brand the calves, check the cows for pregnancy and then identify 200 buffalo for sale in November.

After the Friday morning Roundup, visitors can stay for lunch and watch the volunteers work the herd. There will be plenty of things to do for those who decide to stay for the weekend.  The Arts Festival will continue through Saturday, the Chili Cook Off is scheduled for Saturday, and Crazy Horse Memorial visitors will be permitted to hike to the arm of the mountain carving during an organized Volksmarch on Sunday.

The Roundup is something every South Dakotan should see at least once. People from all over the world come for this one-of-a-kind experience because there’s nothing like it anywhere else. Consider making this worthwhile journey. I hope to see you there!


Countdown to 2023… Can the EPA be Trusted? 

roundsFor those of you familiar with Senator Mike Rounds, during his time as Governor he had a strong commitment to the accelerated development of the ethanol industry in South Dakota.

So, why is Senator Rounds, along with Congressman Kevin Cramer (ND) and several other members of Congress from the Midwest, now calling for an end to the mandate in 2023?

There’s a good reason.  You can blame our friends in the federal government. Specifically, the EPA, which continues to cause chaos for South Dakota’s ag producers.

The Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, is an American federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. The RFS originated with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and was expanded and extended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has established a vibrant and sustainable market for conventional ethanol, which has resulted in billions of dollars of operating income for the corn and ethanol markets in South and North Dakota since its inception.

After 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to take full control of the RFS, which would be detrimental to South Dakota’s economy. In a recent congressional hearing [Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, “Oversight of the Renewable Fuel Standard,” 2/24/16], Senator Rounds asked an EPA administrator if corn ethanol would be part of the renewable volume obligations (RVOs) post-2022. The response from the EPA? There is not a specific standard for corn ethanol after 2022 and the future is unclear.

The bottom line is that the EPA’s only blending requirement is for levels of advanced biofuels (including cellulosic and sugarcane ethanol), and the agency has the authority to completely cut corn ethanol out of the mix. The EPA has always viewed conventional ethanol as a temporary filler until the program could shift to full reliance on advanced biofuels, as some greenhouse gas reports claim an increase or only a marginal decrease in emissions compared to gasoline.

Given the Obama Administration’s commitment to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, it is likely that the EPA could seize on these claims as justification to shift all of the biofuel requirements to advanced and cellulosic after 2022.

As Congressman Cramer stated in a recent opinion editorial, this ultimately means that “the EPA could force these more expensive biofuels onto consumers after 2022 through a program like California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. California regularly has the nation’s highest gas prices, and a Boston Consulting Group study concluded compliance with the program could cost “between 33 cents per gallon and $1.06 per gallon by 2020.” Such high fuel costs will disproportionally impact lower-income Americans, who spend larger percentages of their income on energy.”

Members of Congress, such as Senator Rounds, are right to question the future of the RFS. Historically, the EPA has not been a friend to corn farmers and ethanol producers, and has already begun waiving down required blending volumes for conventional ethanol.

Trust me, it’s not to the benefit of South Dakota farmers to give the EPA full control over the program after 2022.