Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Sharing Our Agricultural Traditions

Sharing Our Agricultural Traditions
By Rep. Kristi Noem

 

For nearly 100 years, my family has farmed the land we live on. It’s more than a business to us. It’s a tradition, a way of life – one that we share with many across the state.

Earlier this month, I was pleased to welcome U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to South Dakota and give him a peak into our tradition of agriculture and the people behind it. While it was his first official visit to the state as Secretary, it wasn’t his first trip here altogether.  We’ve actually hunted pheasant near my home in the state’s northeastern corner a few times before (he’s a really good shot, by the way) and he’s ridden in the combine with me while I harvested our crops.

South Dakota was a natural stop during his first few weeks on the job, as it’s a microcosm of the many issues under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) jurisdiction. From farm and ranch policy to forestry to hunting and fishing, we have a little of everything.

To start the day, we sat down with tribal leaders, who have a significant number of farmers and ranchers within their constituencies.  Because of the unique relationship between tribal governments and the U.S. government, I wrote legislation to establish a permanent Office of Tribal Relations within USDA. That provision was successfully rolled into the 2014 Farm Bill and we continue to monitor its implementation today.

Additionally, Secretary Perdue was shown the Black Hills National Forest and the damage done by a decades-long pine beetle infestation. While the Forest Service announced the beetle had finally been beat this April, work remains. Helpful provisions were included in the 2014 Farm Bill at my request, but we will need the continued support of USDA to repair the damage and make the forest more resilient against future outbreaks.

Following the tour, we sat down with producers. While the current Farm Bill will run through 2018, work has already begun on the next one and Secretary Perdue will be essential in implementing that legislation.

The livestock disaster and crop insurance programs have given many South Dakotans an essential safety net, but changes to the commodity programs are needed. We’ll also be looking to improve the Farm Bill’s wetland determinations provisions.  Under existing regulations, producers have been delayed in making improvements to their land because of a years-long backlog. I’ve sponsored bipartisan legislation to address this and am hopeful we’ll see it included.  Corrections must also be made to CRP (the Conservation Reserve Program), which only accepted 101 acres in South Dakota during the last sign-up period despite thousands of acres being submitted for consideration.

The day also included a stop at Ellsworth. To make the point that the Farm Bill is really a food bill, I often tell folks that while not everyone farms, everyone eats. I also like to mention that good farm policy is essential to our national security. If other countries control our food supply, they can control us. Food security is national security.

I’ve always been proud to be part of South Dakota’s tradition of agriculture, making it all the more special that I could show our newest Secretary of Agriculture how we do it with excellence.

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Governor Dennis Daugaard’s Weekly Column: South Dakota Works

South Dakota Works
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

In South Dakota we have the third lowest unemployment rate in the nation. This is a source of pride, but it’s also a double-edged sword. Because so few South Dakotans are unemployed, we have a shortage of qualified workers to fill job openings. We lack skilled workers in accounting, engineering, information technology, health care, manufacturing trades and elsewhere.

Workforce development is not a new challenge for South Dakota, and it’s an issue that states across the nation face. In recent years, we have been working to identify the components of an effective workforce system and develop strategies to meet employer needs.

Thanks to the insights gained from conversations with business, education and government leaders at regional workforce summits, we concluded that a new job site software program was necessary. After careful research and evaluation of available technologies, the Department of Labor and Regulation launched a new virtual one-stop system, SDWORKS, last month.

Our old software was not as able to quantify workforce needs. The old system used job titles and only represented the employers who chose to use the system to list jobs. This hampered our ability to make informed policy decisions. The new software searches the internet to “scrape” job listings from other South Dakota employer sites. We are no longer limited to data listed only by employers who use our system. The system also details both job titles and needed skills, allowing any user easily to identify skill supply and demand information in real-time. We can now view, at any given time, everything from the most in-demand skills for job listings to the education level of current job seekers to occupational wage data.

This intuitive, state-of-the-art technology has created an exceptional customer service experience. By helping job seekers and businesses, it’s a win-win.

Southdakotaworks.org was designed to be a job seeker’s number one resource for finding the perfect career in South Dakota. The virtual one-stop system offers a more comprehensive list of job openings, a more robust resume builder and a better internal messaging system. The Department of Labor and Regulation also offers education opportunities and personalized job advisors.

SDWORKS is the state’s largest and most comprehensive jobs board, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel at a local level. New tools allow employers to create job listings based on actual skills and experiences, competencies, and preferences. This allows job seekers and employers to make better matches using the same terminology. Qualified applicants can also be viewed and contacted faster in this system.

Filling workforce gaps is not an easy task, and it’s not something that can be solved immediately. It’s going to take continued dedication from people of all sectors over a long period of time. Still, the new SDWORKS program is a giant step forward. Whether you’re an employer or a job seeker, give it a try, at Southdakotaworks.org.

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Man files Tennessee based Statement of Candidacy to run as Republican in South Dakota Congressional race?

An odd filing has been made in the past week with the Federal Elections Commission where a man, Eric Terrell, (Brand New?) has filed to run as a Republican in the US House race, while claiming a Knoxville Tennessee address on his campaign finance form:

I’ve been around the track a time or two, and I have to say, I’ve never stumbled across Mr. Terrell. I checked with the SDGOP, and this one is a mystery to them as well.

I did look up his campaign address – of 714 South Gay Street in Knoxville,Tennessee, Suite 201… and I’m not sure I’d call it a ‘suite’ or ‘sweet,’ given the boarded up windows of the neighbor, as it looks like a rough part of town, and not a hub of campaign activity.  But, that’s where this supposed Republican hopeful campaign is claiming as his current mailing address.

Investigating it further, I did note on facebook that there is a Rapid City man who goes by Eric Terrell on facebook who seems to be part of an organization called “Brand New Congress.”

This group may correspond to the odd “Brand New” under the name position of the Statement of Candidacy:

The Brand New Congress Group is launching a national campaign effort to recruit 400 candidates across the country to promote their goals, which are as follows:

“Brand New Congress is a campaign to run 400+ non-politician candidates for Congress in 2018 in one unified campaign behind one plan to rebuild the economy, repair our communities and radically reform our institutions.”

Read that here.

This promotional material for Brand New Congress is all over Mr. Terrell’s Facebook page, so we might safely assume that he’s one of the 400+ hopefuls participating in this process.

Of course, he also has material such as this…

Sooo….. I’m not sure how well he might fare among the red meat conservatives that make up the SDGOP’s primary electorate.

I have a note into him asking about his candidacy as a Republican running for Congress, so when I hear more, you’ll hear more.

Until then, stay tuned.

Nelson claiming ‘many’ asking him to run for Governor, Congress, despite limited path forward.

In his usual thin-skinned manner, State Senator Stace Nelson took to Facebook yesterday to attack an unnamed blogger (me, I’m assuming) as a RINO because I had offered the following notes from the field about the possibility of him getting into a statewide race in 2018:

Insiders don’t expect State Sen. Stace Nelson, who placed third in the 2014 US Senate primary, to jump in a major statewide race in 2018. I’ve had people cite both health and lack of funds as reasons he’d likely stay out, although as recently as this past legislative session, it was noted to me that he was trying to talk people into it.

If Nelson would decide to run for statewide office this cycle, as an underperformer in 2014 at the statewide primary level, his only realistic path may be in a Constitutional office where the GOP Nominees are chosen at convention. At convention, the delegates tend to be more conservative, and may accept him as a nominee. Generally, the path after that is easy, as Democrats provide only nominal opposition, if any at all.

Read that here.

That report triggered Nelson to take to social media to make the following attack/statement:

While the first paragraph is typical Nelson boilerplate rhetoric which he rolls out the derisive term ‘RINO’ as others would use ‘and’ or ‘the’ in a sentence, the second makes a claim that ‘many’ have asked him to get into either the Gubernatorial or Congressional contests.  

That claim seems dubious, however, as neither offer a realistic path forward for the candidate who prefers a style of campaigning that relies on bombast and attacks that some consider unfair and dirty politics.

In the Gubernatorial contest, normally aligned Lora Hubbel and Stace Nelson have had a rift develop with some citing her entrance into the race as causing friction between the normally allied pair, as they would be splitting the same universe of conservative voters were Nelson to enter the race. With Hubbel in the race, there is simply no room for Nelson.

In the Congressional race, Nelson’s typical campaign braggadocio would run up against the reality of his previously mentioned inability to raise the level of funds necessary to conduct a statewide race. A deficiency that would likely hobble him to a third or fourth place finish. 

Why? It’s just basic math & history. By the time of the 2014 US Senate primary, Nelson raised an anemic total of 131k aggregate total across the entire duration of the primary, a figure that his likely opponents, Shantel Krebs and Dusty Johnson, have been raising quarterly.

While Nelson might give a top office bid in 2018 lip service for his loyal Facebook friends, the reality of the situation is that even were he to make the leap, a realistic path forward for either race does not seem to exist in this reality.

Uh oh…. Consumer Finance Protection Board has their eye on small business lending

Elizabeth Warren’s mutant stepchild, the Consumer Finance Protection Board has been signaling as of late that they are looking to look into various aspects of small business lending in a big way – and given their track record, that could spell trouble for community lenders:

“Small businesses fuel America’s economic engine, create jobs, and nurture communities. Yet little is known about how well the lending market serves their financing needs,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. “This inquiry will help us learn how we can best fulfill our duty to collect and report information on small business lending.”

and…

The bureau estimates that small businesses access about $1.4 trillion in financing. Current information on how small businesses engage with credit markets is incomplete or dated and does not paint a full picture of access to financing, particularly for small business owned by women and minorities.

This request for information is the first step toward crafting a rule for the collection and reporting of this lending data. The CFPB is looking for information on what defines a small business, what types of business lending information are used by financial institutions, and what is the privacy impact of the public release of small business lending data.

Read that here.

What do these steps by the Consumer Finance Protection Board mean for small town South Dakota lenders?   To start with, it means a lot of red tape, and close scrutiny from regulators for lenders who have already watched as the CFPB already make the business of lending more expensive because of the heavier hand of the federal government.

Small, mid-size and regional banks could see the most significant impact from the CFPB’s proposals. Based on the Bureau’s research, 46% of the small businesses that were surveyed applied for credit at a small bank. Of those that applied, the percentage of approval was higher at small banks than at larger banks.

and…

…the time is now for small, mid-size and regional banks as well as non-bank financial institutions to assess their small business underwriting programs for compliance not only with ECOA but to ensure these programs do not otherwise conflict with any other state lending or securities laws. The CPFB has repeatedly stepped up enforcement activity in advance of proposing new rules, and lenders in this market sector would be well-advised to increase their vigilance on all compliance obligations.

Read that here.

Another wake-up call for Congress and the Trump administration to strip the CFPB of power, and do away with the unaccountable agency.

Another update from the campaign trail for Jason Ravnsborg for Attorney General

Ladies and Gentleman,

Another busy couple weeks have come and gone since I last wrote you.  Time flies when you enjoy what you are doing.  Since I last wrote you I have driven another 2,000 miles and after all the miles this last year I had to pause a day and get four new tires for my car!

Some of the highlights of the last couple weeks include attending the annual States Attorney’s Association Conference in Deadwood where I spoke with a number of States Attorneys and Deputy States Attorneys from all over our state.  I left the conference and before I headed back to Yankton I stopped and spoke at the monthly Meade County Republican Women meeting in Sturgis.  The ladies were supportive, encouraging and stated they very much enjoyed the informative presentation.

I next went to the Beadle County Lincoln Day Dinner in Huron.  I love how they have everyone put some money in the envelope at their table and each table gets to pick a dessert.  I was selected to go and pick one for our table and I passed that test as I picked a strawberry pie that everyone thought was delicious!  Thank you to Chairman Pilcher and Senator White for putting on a great event.  I also won an auction item, which says it all  – God Bless America!

The next night, I attended the Grant County Lincoln Day Dinner in Milbank.  It was nice to see them have a Lincoln Day Dinner after not having one for seven years.  Nice job Chairman Sandvig and Senator Wiik!  The venue looked very impressive! I met a lot of new people: a number of party chairmen and long-time strong party activists from a number of counties came as well to help make the night a success.

As the Lincoln Day Dinner season comes to an end for this year (except Lincoln County in the fall, I am not forgetting you!) it is time to transition to the next phase.  I will be traveling around all parts of our state again with a more in depth program about my candidacy and the issues coming before our state.

Upcoming events
I will be speaking on Saturday, May 20, 2017 in the County Resource Center Board Room at the Swiftel Center in Brookings at the Saturday meeting of the Brookings County Republicans.  It starts at 9:00 a.m.  I will be talking about a number of upcoming potential ballot issues, SB 70 and my candidacy.

Then around noon the same day I will be speaking at the Moody County Republicans at the Bean and Vine at 803 West Pipestone Avenue in Flandreau.

I hope to see you there or if you would like me to come and give the program to your group, feel free to contact me and we will try and work something out.

Stay safe and God Bless,
Jason

Family Heritage Alliance feels they have some ‘splainin to do after Dale Bartscher departure

The Family Heritage Alliance came out with an e-mail today where they seem to be doing some…. well, damage control, for lack of a better term with regards to the departure of Dale Bartscher from their organization.

Does it come as they are possibly realizing that the public face that Dale provided to the group might have been part of what moved their agenda forward in Pierre?

Tough to say, but there are many interesting things to read between the lines in this e-mail:

 

Sioux Falls blogger serves up a heaping dose of misogyny in the School Board election (& claims teachers don’t vote)

Argus Leader Reporter Dana Ferguson had an article late last week posing the question “Why don’t more women run for office in South Dakota?” She explored a variety of reasons, and in one instance, one female officeholder (Kristi Noem) offered a glimpse of the ugly side of why women don’t run:

And even when women can strike the right combination, they run up against some who aren’t willing to consider them as a candidate solely because of their gender.

“There’ve certainly been individuals along the way that have said or done things that made me realize that maybe I didn’t have the right body parts to ever get their support,” Noem said.

Read it here.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to watch that attitude roll out in real-time, as it has been doing in this years’ Sioux Falls School Board race.

Sioux Falls blogger Scott Ehrisman, who has also dubbed himself ‘Detroit Lewis,’ has a long history of attacking people he doesn’t like, such as last year when he called Sioux Falls police “piggies” and claimed they stuff themselves on free meals.

And last night he was no different as he attacked Sioux Falls School Board Candidate Cynthia Mickelson on the basis of her gender as an “old house wife Republican,” and added teachers to his hate list for good measure:

Sioux Falls Education Association is rumored to endorse Mickelson

In one of the most bizarre moves I have ever seen a teacher union association pull, they are rumored to have endorsed a well known Republican for school board. It’s not like she is just some regular old house wife Republican, she is married to a staunch Republican lawmaker who is anti-union and anti-organized labor.

and…

It’s almost an insult to teachers that this person is running, than they endorse her? Baffling! The half-penny sales tax only passed because the chicken-shit Democrats voted for it also.

and…

Also, teachers typically are not big on voting, and take into account that a large percentage of them can’t vote because they live outside district.

Read that here.

In the past, Ehrisman had previously come out as a strong supporter of candidate Randy Dobberpuhl, who is running in the race, which might go a long way to explain some of his bias.  Unfortunately, that bias has expressed itself in misogynistic comments which bring Ferguson’s article to life, as Ehrisman works trying to minimize and belittle Mickelson’s candidacy as one of an “old house wife.”

It’s not the first time he made such a dismissive comment about a female candidate being in the race. As when the seat opened up, Ehrisman had offered a backhanded comment:

Either way, Doug Morrison has decided to NOT run for another term, so it will be an open seat. While no one has formerly announced, I guess the Tuthill Fairies have been in high gear to replace Doug with a ‘McKennan Park Mommy’.

Read that here.   And after Mickelson entered the race, he also added this poke at her…

I encourage Cynthia to run on her qualifications instead of her husband’s connections.

Read that here.

Deriding a female candidate as an “old house wife” or a “McKennan Park Mommy,” or trying to claim that she’s running on “her husband’s connections” seems to be going beyond what most would consider legitimate political differences into making one question if Ehrisman just has a thing against mothers in general, or dislikes all women who run for office?

It also make you wonder if he’s bothered to even research Cynthia Mickelson’s qualifications:

I don’t think there’s any doubts about Mickelson’s qualifications. Except for those who have a permanent membership with to the “he-man woman haters” club.

If Ehrisman’s attacks on Mickelson weren’t enough, he also had to add a backhanded comment about how “teachers typically are not big on voting.”

Teachers typically are not big on voting?” Did he really say that? I’m not sure if he’s intentionally playing the fool, or if it’s an ingrained character defect.  Just in case you actually might believe his insult to teachers…

Do teachers vote at high rates compared with average citizens? The answer is clearly yes, ….. Teachers who live in their districts were from two to seven times more likely to vote than other citizens were.

Why do teachers turn out at such high rates? The answer may well be that they have an occupational self-interest other citizens don’t have. But this claim needs to be tested, for there is clearly a plausible alternative: that teachers are not only better educated and more middle class than the average citizen, but also more public spirited, more committed to public education, and thus more likely to vote in school-board elections regardless of their personal stakes.

Read that here.

Wow.

The best response to what is utter trash is to urge Sioux Falls residents, as well as the hundreds of teachers in the District who WILL vote, to go out and show Mr. Ehrisman that he is wrong, wrong, WRONG!

And to cast your ballot for an attorney, grant writer, professor, community service board member, and yes, an involved mother who wants to give back to her community.