Congressman Dusty Johnson’s Weekly Update: Standing with our Allies

Standing with our Allies
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
April 19, 2024

BIG Update

Gas prices have increased more than 50% since President Biden took office. One way to combat the high prices is to allow more renewable fuel options at the pump. But without action from the EPA, South Dakotans can’t access E15 ethanol in the summer months due to a D.C. Circuit Court decision on the Clean Air Act in July of 2021.

I recently urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow drivers cleaner, cheaper E15 fuel during the summer driving season. I’m pleased to share the EPA heeded our request and announced its waiver for the sale of E15 during summer months (June 1 – September 15). This is great news for consumers and ethanol producers. This decision will also bolster America’s energy security by adding billions of gallons of ethanol to our fuel supply.

BIG Idea

This week, I was joined by many health care professionals from Avera, American College of Surgeons, South Dakota Association of Health Care Organizations, Home Care Association of America, and more. Many of the groups discussed the unfair Medicare physician fee schedule. We discussed policy solutions like the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act to adjust the reimbursements for inflation.

Johnson and South Dakota Association of Health Care Organizations

BIG News

Last weekend, Iran launched its first direct attack on Israel. Hundreds of drones and missiles were shot towards Israel. Thankfully, Israel and its allies were able to intercept almost all projectiles, minimizing damage and saving countless lives. President Biden and his Administration have failed to take a strong stance in support of our ally Israel, and even told them not to strike back. In September 2023, Biden released $6 billion to Iran and just two months later, released another $10 billion in sanctions, fueling their ability to strike Israel at this capacity.

In stark contrast to the Administration’s actions, Congress passed 17 bills in support of Israel and condemning Iran this week. Iran and their leaders must be held accountable, and America must stand with our ally, Israel.

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Governor Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
By: Governor Kristi Noem
April 19, 2024

From a young age, my mom and dad taught me that the Bible teaches us to pray for the Holy Land of Israel. In the face of brazen and callous attacks from those hell bent on the inhalation of the Jews, I pray for God’s chosen people even more today.

Israel has been the victim of many horrific attacks in the last six months – most recently by the nation of Iran. They are the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism and openly profess hatred for democracy, Freedom, and basic human rights.

I am calling on the Biden Administration to stand up for these shared principles and hold Iran accountable for their heinous acts.

Unfortunately and inexplicably, not everyone agrees.

Since the horrific terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7th, 2023, antisemitism has been on the rise around the world, including right here in the United States. We have seen antisemitic acts of hate in places of work, in kids’ schools, and on college campuses. There has been footage of people cheering when the news broke that Iran attacked Israel. We have people chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” People are burning the American flag and instead waving the flag of Hamas, a known terrorist organization.

Anti-Israel protestors have also blocked bridges and roads in major cities across the country – from blocking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, to stopping traffic in New York City and Chicago. This is against the law, and these individuals should be held accountable.

It’s astounding how foolish these antisemitic, Anti-America “protestors” are. We are so deeply blessed to live in this great country. The reality is, if these ignorant people tried to voice a complaint that was at odds with any of the governments in the terrorist nations they support, they’d be tortured or killed.  America uniquely affords us the Freedom of speech, the Freedom to practice any religion we want, and the Freedom to assemble and protest. But rather than appreciating those privileges, these protestors are burning Old Glory and opting instead to wave the flag of terrorists who would certainly never grant them the same Freedoms.

South Dakota proudly stands with Israel. We have never turned our back on the Holy Land, and we certainly are not going to start now. I was proud to sign historic legislation this session to stop antisemitic acts of hatred in our state. The bill clearly defines antisemitism and makes it easier to prove when discriminatory conduct is motivated by antisemitism. This important and impactful legislation will ensure the safety of Jewish people in our state and strengthen South Dakota’s anti-discrimination laws.

Since signing that bill into law, my office has been inundated with antisemitic hatred and even violent threats. But we will stand firm. I hope that bill can serve as model legislation for other states. It’s time for leaders to step up and do all that we can to protect our Jewish communities from the devastating hate we see happening across our country and around the world.

I hope you will join me in praying for Israel. I pray for the strength of God’s chosen people. And I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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He’s baaack. Toby “Dumpster fire” Doeden using Trump image to raise his profile. Did anyone ask Trump about that?

I haven’t smelled that for a while – Is that a dumpster on fire?

No! It looks like Aberdeen area COVID-welfare recipient Toby Doeden is back playing in politics again, as he launches a new (undisclaimed) website:

The only problem? Well, that would be the obvious one, as reported in The Hill just a couple of days ago:

Trump campaign co-chairs Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles wrote to GOP vendors in an April 15 letter asking that candidates and committees using former President Trump’s name, image or likeness give at least 5 percent of the resulting fundraising haul to his joint fundraising committee.

and..

In addition, LaCivita and Wiles outlined ways for vendors to avoid using language that impersonates the Trump campaign or incorrectly implies a candidate or committee is speaking on behalf of the former president.

“Any vendor whose clients ignore the guidelines mentioned above will be held responsible for their clients’ actions,” the two wrote. “Repeated violations will result in the suspension of business relationships between the vendor and Trump National Committee JFC. This includes list rental agreements.”

and..

“President Trump has a distinct and iconic brand that is tremendously popular with the American people,” spokesperson Danielle Alvarez said in a statement. “When political campaigns and vendors use it in an unauthorized or unapproved way, it is important to protect small dollar donors who are giving their hard earned money while Bidenflation crushes them and believe they are giving to President Trump’s campaign to save this nation.”

Read that here.

In other words, there’s no indication that Toby or his minions have any permission to use Trump in connection with their hucksterism. And the former president’s team is done putting up with that kind of thing.

I’m guessing you’ll see the Trump campaign cracking down on people – like Toby – trying to use his name and image to mislead donors and grassroots folks.

Press Release: Senator Rohl Selected for National Leadership Program in Virginia

Senator Rohl Selected for National Leadership Program in Virginia

South Dakota Senator Michael Rohl, R- Aberdeen, has been selected to participate in the 20th Annual Emerging Legislative Leaders Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. The Emerging Legislative Leaders Program is the result of a collaborative effort between the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF) and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business Administration to help identify and develop bipartisan leaders of the future.

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation was established in 1972 as a national, independent, nonpartisan organization representing all state legislative leaders. Equally important, SLLF works with future or emerging legislative leaders by offering them training and practical lessons on the qualities of effective leadership. Over the last 50 years, the SLLF has distinguished itself as the leading legislative leadership organization in the nation.

The key objective of the program is to develop the leadership potential of emerging political leaders for the challenges of the 21st century. This will be accomplished through a highly interactive program that focuses on:

• Analysis and feedback on elements of personal leadership style
• Awareness of the importance of values and ethics in governance and public service
• Gaining perspective on the importance of the role of the state legislature in contemporary American politics
• Recognition of the importance of legislators as consensus builders and facilitators of compromise
• Providing a platform for future leaders to network

The Class of 2024 will consist of 54 legislators from 44 states that were chosen from a competitive pool of applications that included over 200 legislators that have served less than 8 years in their state legislature. Senator Rohl joins the 2024 class after successfully authoring 12 pieces of legislation in the 2024 session earlier this year, and will receive a full scholarship from SLLF for the price of his tuition, books, travel, and housing during the program

District 3 Update: Katie Washnok for Senate posts new video to social media, Carl Perry speaks at coffee.

Lots of new stuff on social media from the District 3 State Senate Candidates.

First, Katie Washnok has a new video up on social media giving information on her background and telling her story why she’s the best choice to be D3’s new State Senator:

On the other hand, Rep. Carl Perry has posted photos from the recent candidate meet & greet he was part of.

I believe there’s 2 people there who aren’t candidates. Who are probably wondering why they can’t have their coffee in peace.

Stay tuned.

More SDGOP chatter & gossip. Ah. Maybe that’s why Haugaard was speaker to Butte Co. GOP Lincoln Day Dinner.

Spending a number of late afternoons out on the road, connecting people with their campaign materials, I’m hearing quite a bit of interesting chatter and gossip on what’s happening in the hinterlands of the South Dakota Republican Party. And a few surprising items of chatter and gossip are bubbling up to the surface.

Word is that the Patriot Ripple Effect group still clings to life, and claims to be trying to raise money to run their candidates. After founder Dave Roetman went to North Dakota to be the NDGOP’s executive director… and then quickly wasn’t.. the group had a flurry of activity, but has been publicly dead silent for the last couple of months.

Along those lines, there was chatter that the group internally told members they found a PUC candidate, and supposedly noted that State Rep. Karla Lems intends to run for that seat against incumbent PUC Commissioner Kristie Fiegen at the Republican Convention. And they identified Lems as being their candidate. It’s not outside of the realm of possibility, as we’re reminded that she was the cash behind Rep. Kevin Jensen’s PAC support of Steve Haugaard in the last Gubernatorial primary.  And don’t forget that Lems has always as shown a willingness to attack solid GOP officeholders, as aside from funding Jensen’s big anti-Noem donation, she was one of the founding members of the anti-Thune “Primary John Thune” facebook group.

The bigger problem for Lems, should she choose to run, would be the fact she’d find herself disqualified on literally every piece of pipeline related matters on the PUC docket.  Just as in 2022 when Democrat Public Utilities Commission candidate Jeff Barth seemingly disqualified himself from CO2 pipeline hearings at the onset of his race from his public pipeline statements, Lems has been a very vocal and public pipeline hater, which is a definite no no in running to be a quasi-judicial hearing officer.  Not to mention that I’m told she may already have a gas or other pipeline with an easement running across land she is associated with.

We’ll know more on that rumor as convention approaches.

The other rumor I heard on the road refers back to the previously mentioned unsuccessful Gubernatorial & Lt. Governor candidate Steve Haugaard. Again rumor, but supposedly there is a plan in effect among many of the disaffected and RINO factions of the SDGOP who are focused on conquest of the party. What I’m told is that their intent is to make South Dakota Republican Party Chair John Wiik’s job as state party chair so miserable that he will not run again. And then with a divided party rudderless and leaderless next February, this faction believes that Haugaard will be able to swoop in and capture the flag as SDGOP chair at the next party election.

Yeah… great plan there. Oust the people who are trying with the 20%-ers who can’t win. 

Of course, the problem with that is as of late, the party is putting it’s foot down on some of these rebel players who are trying to wreck the SDGOP, and telling them where the door is.

The other problem is that while there are those who may be scheming for an internal coup, the track record of some of these guys is atrocious.

Such as in Minnehaha County, where the Chair and Vice Chair are definitely part of the oppositional factions trying to sow chaos. But, in their first at-bat, they have been staggeringly awful, where they left 2 of 4 city council seats uncontested after they promised “to recruit good candidates.”  For the one new candidate, Richard Thomason, the Minnehaha County GOP organization has been struck mute, unable to help with any election related activities, and came out of round 1 spending their time promoting a discussion on Article V: Convention of States.

Literally, they’ve been saying nothing and doing nothing about their talk about candidates. And now we seem to be headed towards a runoff election for Thomason with the Minnehaha GOP doing all the same. I’m sure R. Shawn Tornow and Jennifer Foss will show up to eat snacks at someone’s watch party, because that’s all they seem to be good for.. watching while others do the work of getting people elected.

That’s kind of the problem with these guys.

I’ve privately told candidates on more than one occasion that local party groups can either be an asset or an obstacle. They may work in synergy with candidates in providing opportunities and volunteers and helping them raise votes, and possibly even money. OR they might be just into themselves too much, doing little to nothing, except parasitically shaking down candidates for money for Lincoln Day Dinner program ads and doing nothing in return.  It’s up to the individual county groups what kind of organization they want to be, and candidates can organize their activities accordingly.

If we’re to believe the rumors, it’s a lot more of people trying to do their best to upset the apple cart because they want to be in charge. Well, good luck with that.

Remember. Asset or obstacle. Obstacles can simply be gone around.

Gov. Noem Appoints Roetzel & Kelderman to the 7th Judicial Circuit Court

Gov. Noem Appoints Roetzel & Kelderman to the 7th Judicial Circuit Court 

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem announced the appointment of Scott Roetzel and Eric Kelderman to the 7th Circuit court.

“Law and order is an integral part of the American justice system,” said Governor Noem. “I am confident that Scott Roetzel and Eric Kelderman will defend our Constitution and uphold our laws as 7th Judicial Circuit Court judges.”

Over the course of his career, Scott Roetzel has prosecuted all levels of criminal offenses to include homicide and sexual assault. He was recognized as the 2014 South Dakota Prosecutor of the Year. Roetzel graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1989 and the USD School of Law in 1992. He worked for the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office in Rapid City and because the Chief Deputy in 1996. Roetzel then joined the law firm of Johnson Eiesland in 2002, where he practiced medical malpractice and insurance defense. He went on to become an Assistant United States’ Attorney focusing on Federal Tort Claims before going back to the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office as Senior Litigation Counsel. In 2017, Roetzel joined the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office as the Supervisor of the Rapid City Office.

“I am humbled and honored by the responsibility Governor Noem has placed in me,” said Scott Roetzel. “My dad said if you work hard and treat people right, good things will happen. This appointment is proof of that. I will strive every day to uphold the trust and values the citizens of the 7th Judicial Circuit deserve.”

Scott Roetzel is married to Pennington County State’s Attorney Lara Roetzel. They have five children: Cale, Berkley, Bennett, Walker, and Everley. A photo of Roetzel can be found here.

Eric Kelderman is an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota and works in its Rapid City office. He is a member of the office’s Appellate Division and handles appeals of convictions and other matters before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. Kelderman was part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division, was a member of a trial team that received the Department of Justice Attorney General’s Award, and served over 16 years as the U.S. Attorney’s Office Ethics and Responsibility Officer. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Sioux Falls and a master’s degree at the University of South Dakota. He received his law degree from Creighton University. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Kelderman was a judicial law clerk to three federal judges in South Dakota and Nebraska.

“I am grateful to Governor Noem for this appointment to the 7th Judicial Circuit Court bench,” said Eric Kelderman. “I look forward to serving the citizens of South Dakota as I seek to uphold law and justice in this position.”

Eric Kelderman has been married to his beloved wife, Renae, for over 25 years. Together, they have two beautiful children: Kaden and Kyra. A photo of Kelderman can be found here.

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Fundraiser on Tuesday for Jake Schoenbeck for District 2 House – April 23 at Willow Run from 4:30 to 6:30

South Dakota Legislative Candidate and co-host of the state’s most popular political podcast, Jake Schoenbeck is having a fundraiser for his campaign for District 2 House of Representatives:

And there’s a lot of recognizable names.. I won’t go into it, but I think I recognize each and every one, with many current and former legislators, City Council members and candidates, etc. Lots of good folks all coming together to support a good candidate for the South Dakota House.

If you can’t make it, but would still like to support Jake, you can donate to his campaign through his website at https://www.schoenbeckforsd.com/

KELOland chronicling Secretary of State’s errors in primary election

KELOland news posted a story last evening regarding the bumps in the road that Secretary of State Monae Johnson has experienced in her first statewide election.  And as reader of this website know, it has been a rocky road:

Based on the error by the SOS, the office rejected Taylor’s challenge to Merkwan’s place on the ballot, which lead to an appeal to circuit court where a judge ruled that it was the responsibility of the candidate to know the number of signatures needed, and it did not matter what they were told by the SOS. Therefor, Merkwan was decertified as a Republican candidate.

The Office of the SOS has taken responsibility for the error, telling KELOLAND News that they had mounted a ‘vigorous defense’ as to why Merkwan should remain on the ballot.

“The court was made aware and the office admitted that it miscalculated the number of valid signatures needed to place Legislative District 17 Republican candidates on the ballot.  The office also put forth the argument that Mr. Merkwan should not be penalized for the office’s mistake.”

RACHEL SOULEK, DIR., DIV. OF ELECTIONS – OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF STATE

Read the entire story here.

Why is there this nagging feeling that someone should start preparing for a run for Secretary of State in 2026, because there will most likely be an open seat?

Hopefully, not the Deputy SOS, as Monae Johnson was advocating for in 2023.