In the past couple of weeks, I caught wind of an interesting Rotary Club Meeting in Sioux Falls, with guest speaker Shantel Krebs appearing before the group, making a speech that had some questioning whether it was a talk from the Secretary of State, or her Gubernatorial kickoff.
In fact, I’m told a person formerly affiliated with the State’s largest newspaper made a statement/inquired to that end.
Coverage of the meeting did make the news on KELO…
As for the future beyond that, an audience member asked Krebs directly if she would ever consider running for a higher office.
“I see an opportunity for things like zero based budgeting. I want to challenge those state agencies to do so. I want a full review of all the taxes. Why these taxes have been imposed and where do they go? That review hasn’t been done since the 1970’s, so when you say that, I think there’s work to be done.” Krebs said.
Krebs says her passion is restoring trust in government and that it begins with accountability and transparency.
… but some of what wasn’t covered in the story was equally as interesting, because as she talked about what needed to take place in how state government is being run, some of the comments burned her colleagues in Pierre a bit to this audience.
The statement above about ‘no review of where taxes go since the 1970’s‘ seemed to be a somewhat acerbic commentary of the appropriations process.
What wasn’t mentioned is that I was told directly by people in the audience that she was quite pointed in comments about conflicts of interest, using the term corruption. But as also was related to me, she quickly turned aside a question by State Representative and incoming Speaker of the House Mark Mickelson who was in attendance.*
Lighting torches to challenge other offices on their budget, demanding a review about how taxes are levied and spent, and talking about how Pierre is corrupt is not what you typically hear from the State’s chief elections officer. However, it does sound like a stump speech for someone who has their eye on the Governor’s race.
Appearances like this may be direct overtures for higher office in 2018, coming at the same time when competitors such as Mickelson, and Jackley are out on the stump for South Dakota’s highest State Office.
One major difference is that while others have started or are starting to assemble campaign teams, it puts the Secretary of State in a position of potentially having to do so and raise money for it as we move through the next several months of the 2016 election cycle, and officially kick off the race for Governor in 2018.
(*Update – Now, I did have someone who was in attendance contact me, and tell me that they remember the question from Mickelson was not on conflict of interest laws, but on another topic, although they did confirm that his question was “deflected.” So I did change that to be a bit less specific.)