Paul Ten Haken left the following comment yesterday, taking himself back out of the running for Dsistrict 14 House, where he had been included among a field of 4 circulating petitions for the 2 available seats:
I thought I would chime in on this and at least put one of the challengers to rest While I have been collecting petition signatures, I’ve simultaneously been having discussions with my business partners, wife and close confidants about this race. In short, I am not moving ahead as a candidate at this time. Those on this thread are very correct in that Larry and Tom have served the district well and from all I have heard, Dave Zimbeck is another top-shelf guy. District 14 is in great hands!
Republican Dr. Stephen Eckrich jumped into the District 33 House Race yesterday. You may know Eckrich from the initiated measure 17 battle, where he was one of the public faces of the act.
Patient choice is personal for Steve Eckrich. He is one of the doctors who initially pushed Initiated Measure 17 and started circulating petitions.
“I really have a hard time understanding that because 90 percent of insurance products out there are open panels: Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Tricare, Workers’ Comp, Dakota Care,” argues Dr. Eckrich.
“Those are all insurance products where they say this is our fee schedule. These are the criteria you have to meet. If you meet these and you want to participate, you’re in,” said Dr. Eckrich. “There are very few that are run by Sanford and Avera and the state health plan are the only ones that have these narrow networks.”
This puts Eckrich in a primary with Incumbent House member Scott Craig, as well as David Johnson & Taffy Howard who are all competing for the office.
Here in Brookings, with the State’s Attorney office open for the first time in 40 years, a Republican has entered the race. Daniel Nelson of Elkton, SD, who is currently working in the Beadle County State’s Attorney’s office as a deputy SA has thrown his hat into the ring.
Running as a agent of change, Nelson indicates that he would like to bring a drug court to Brookings, as well as other reforms aimed at keeping people out of jail, and not using drugs:
As a prosecutor, it is with great respect and pride that I can stand in Court representing the citizens of our State and the unfortunate victims of crime. As State’s Attorney, I will work with victims by ensuring they have a voice in the system. All victims and victim service providers will have a loud voice in my office and I will be proud to carry that voice as the next State’s Attorney.
Over 70 individuals with ties to Brookings County were sentenced to the penitentiary last year, so it’s likely that a majority of those people will return while on parole. One of the things that we must do as a community is work collectively to ensure those individuals do not resort to criminal behavior when they return, so as State’s Attorney, I would lead a coalition of community stake holders including the Department of Corrections and local law enforcement agencies to create a reentry program for individuals planning to live in Brookings County while on parole. I will base our reentry program on similar successful programs started by prosecutors across this country. Engaging the community to enable parolees to obtain employment, housing and education is vital in keeping our community safe. A parole reentry program designed at preventing crime before it occurs is a simple and common sense approach to enhancing community safety.
As State’s Attorney, I would create a participant funded diversion program that would be aimed at adults and juveniles entering the criminal justice system for the first time on non-violent misdemeanor charges. This program would hold offenders accountable while limiting the collateral consequences of a conviction. This Community Accountability Program would model the successful program that currently exists in Beadle County. A program that emphasizes accountability through community service, a curriculum centered on changing criminal behavior, and drug treatment.
As policy makers and we in law enforcement continue to grapple with increasing drug use across South Dakota, the need to implement smarter policies is essential. I am proud to say that under our current Governor and Chief Justice a bright spot has emerged with the introduction of Drug Court.
Drug Courts now exist in several jurisdictions in South Dakota and have provided an effective tool in enabling people to overcome their addiction and begin the path toward recovery and remain crime free. Drug Courts rely heavily on community resources and cooperation, so it is essential that the State’s Attorney is someone who can significantly contribute to this effort with decisive leadership to ensure success in our County. I have had the honor of being the prosecutor representing the State’s Attorney on the Beadle County Drug Court. In this role I have personally witnessed the powerful transformation drug offenders have experienced while participating in the program. I’m confident we can bring that same success to Brookings County.
I’m sure we’ll hear more from Mr. Nelson in the near future.
11 days until the filing deadline – More to come!