Sutton campaign complaining about Right to Life passing him over. Despite his inconsistent record.

It sounds like the Billie Sutton campaign doesn’t like the fact that he’s apparently playing both sides on the abortion issue and getting caught on it, according to Kevin Woster’s recent column at South Dakota Public Broadcasting:

That might lead a suspicious person to suspect the new tradition of endorsements by South Dakota Right to Life was begun to give Noem a boost in a competitive race. Deutsch said that while the actual endorsement is new, the state organization has long been involved in issuing grades of the voting records of elected officials.


The Sutton campaign has had little to say publicly about the organization’s endorsement of Noem. When I contacted them for comment, Campaign Manager Suzanne Jones Pranger set this by email: “Senator Sutton is pro-life. His voting record demonstrates that. And any claim otherwise is untrue.”

But this is a touchy issue for Sutton, given the reality that many if not most of his Democratic supporters are pro-choice. And Sutton must work with those pro-choice people and organizations, and hold on to their support, leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

He was apparently doing some of that last month during a fundraiser in Sioux Falls that the Noem campaign said was by Planned Parenthood and Jones Pranger said was hosted by a grassroots organization called South Dakota Forward. Todd Epp of KELO Radio in Sioux Falls reported that the event was hosted at the home of a woman who works for Planned Parenthood.


“Planned Parenthood’s leadership in South Dakota has made it very clear that they would prefer that Billie Sutton be elected — and there’s a reason for that,” Cummings said.

Read it here.

So, the Sutton campaign says “Senator Sutton is pro-life. His voting record demonstrates that. And any claim otherwise is untrue.”

And that’s possibly correct….. except when is isn’t. Such as in the 2017-2018 legislative sessions, as  stuck out from the Spring 2018 SDRTL newsletter:

For 2017-2018, Coming in with a B vote for this cycle, Sutton didn’t rank as highly as his fellow District 21 Democrat, Julie Bartling.  Just coming off of a “B” ranking in the short term, and refusing to fill out the questionnaire, it should not come as a shocker that they chose Noem, who has consistently been pro-life.

In fact, if you look back, Sutton’s grades have been all over the map on the life issue. In 2014, he received a 75% (C) rating.

In 2016, he received his only 100% A rating. And as evidenced above in the most recent legislative report, his grades have slipped again to a B.

So, by his own admission, Sutton refused to fill out the SDRTL survey. But you have to wonder if he’s as pro-life as he claims, why would he skip filling it out?  In most South Dakota political circles, in this red state, there are two survey’s you fill out – The NRA’s, and Right to Life’s.

It may have been because he didn’t want to be “on the record.” for the questions asked.

And like many politicians, he might be doing his best to ride the fence much like he does the horse in his commercial as he tries to portray himself as “pro-life, ” despite avoiding sone of the questions….. And raising money with the help of a staffer from Planned Parenthood. And with his grades going up and down over time.

Maybe he could call himself pro-life..ish?

At least when Planned Parenthood isn’t in the campaign room.

Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Breaking Barriers Surrounding Mental Health

Breaking Barriers Surrounding Mental Health
By Rep. Kristi Noem

In South Dakota today, about 30,000 adults and 9,000 kids live with serious mental health conditions. With nearly every family and every community affected, it’s overloaded the system. As a result, too many are falling through the cracks, landing in a jail cell, homeless shelter, or worse.

The reasons for this are numerous. Some people may lack the financial resources for treatment. Others may be able to afford help, but there are no spaces available. Still others may fear what their friends or family may think, so they never seek assistance. We need to break these barriers down.

While not everything can be solved on the federal level, we’ve worked over the last few years to aggressively address this issue in the U.S. House. In 2016, for instance, we passed legislation I cosponsored to help make sure families can be meaningful partners in caring for those with serious mental illnesses. That same legislation made advances in tele-psychiatry to better reach rural communities and offered more tools for suicide prevention, especially in tribal communities. Other provisions were included to fix the shortage of crisis mental health beds, improve the transition from one level of care to another, and even offer alternatives to institutionalization for those with serious mental illnesses.

More recently, the House passed a bill I introduced that aims to dig into the mental health resources available to those on Medicare. Today, millions of seniors lack adequate access to mental health services. By taking a data-driven approach, I’m hopeful we can quickly and accurately target resources to do the most good with the fewest amount of taxpayer dollars.

At the same time, we’ve been working to increase access to mental healthcare for veterans. In 2016, we got the Clay Hunt SAV Act signed into law, which I’m hopeful will help as nearly two dozen American veterans lose their life to suicide daily. We have also dedicated more resources to exploring how factors like military service, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and traumatic brain injuries can put one at higher risk for suicide.

Still, there is much that must be done in this area. While this is not true in every circumstance, the consequences of not addressing mental health concerns could be a matter of life and death.

This month is Suicide Prevention Month in South Dakota. We have one of the nation’s highest suicide rates, so please be aware of the people in your life. If someone you know is struggling with their mental health, act now. If it’s an emergency, dial 911 immediately. If not, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) is open around the clock for help. Don’t wait to call. Together we can work to overcome this.


Governor Daugaard’s Weekly Column: Dakota At Home

Dakota At Home
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

Aging can be a difficult thing. Whether it’s harder on the one growing older, or their loved ones, I’m not sure. When a spouse or a parent grows older and starts to need help with everyday tasks, there are many difficult decisions to make. You want them to be close, to have as much independence as possible and you want to be there as much as you can.

Many families are dealing with these decisions today. As the Baby Boomer generation has aged, South Dakota is seeing a growing need for services. That need will continue to grow: By 2035, it is estimated that within our state the number of elders (65 and older) will increase by 84 percent and the number of elders with disabilities is expected to be 71 percent higher than it is today.

Anticipating these changes, we are redoubling our efforts to ensure that South Dakotans can access a variety of long-term services and supports. Last year, I signed an executive order to establish the Division of Long-Term Services and Supports, within the Department of Human Services. This reorganization aims to create a more integrated approach to providing long-term services in South Dakota and to ensure that people get the services they need within their own communities. The Division supports individuals 60 years and older as well as adults with disabilities.

Following the reorganization, we have focused on a program called “Dakota at Home” which assists elders, those with disabilities and caregivers by pairing them with services offered in their communities. These services are designed to help people stay in their homes as long as possible. For instance, those who qualify can receive assistance with day-to-day household tasks like grocery shopping, meal preparation, laundry, vacuuming, sweeping and dusting. “Personal care” is available as well for individuals who need a hand with routine personal hygiene tasks. We also work with our local partners to offer “adult day services” which allow individuals to spend a part of their day outside of the home through structured activities. And Emergency Response Systems are available for those who may be at risk for falls.

Caregiving can exact a heavy emotional, physical and financial toll. It can be especially difficult for those who are juggling full-time work schedules while acting as caregivers for other family members. To make things easier, we offer caregiver services throughout the state. “Respite Care” is available – which can provide some temporary relief for caregivers who need a break. Counseling and training is also available. Some caregivers may be eligible for a program which provides financial assistance for supporting everyday activities.

There’s no need to navigate the system on your own. The process of aging is difficult enough as it is, so we have people throughout the state who are ready to help. You can reach the Dakota at Home advocates by calling 1-833-663-9673 or visiting Call today, and find help to allow more South Dakotans to live longer, healthier, more fulfilled lives at home in their own communities.


A few more Trump event photos

My daughter was right up front for the Trump event, and was kind enough to pass along some photos to share of the speakers at the podium:

Republican Attorney General Candidate Jason Ravnsborg address the crowd

Dusty Johnson also warms the group up….

As does US Senator Mike Rounds:

GOP Chairman Dan Lederman also gets those Republicans fired up for the main event

Congresswoman and future Governor Kristi Noem..

…as she introduces President Donald Trump!

Kristi’s victory this November will be YUUUGE!

Trump uses visit to blast Sutton for tax increase proposal

From the Argus Leader, President Trump used the occasion of his visit on behalf of Kristi Noem for Governor to blast her opponent Billie Sutton for supporting taxes:

Trump used his first time in South Dakota as a sitting president to speak at a closed-door campaign fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

He applauded her work on last year’s Republican tax cut bill and criticized Democratic candidate for governor, Billie Sutton, for proposing a $128 million increase to the state sales tax.

“These tax hikes, they’re not positives,” Trump said.

Read it all here.

Welcome President Trump to Sioux Falls!

President Trump flew in and it was a brief interaction on the tarmac, but it was pretty good. From watching Air Force One fly in, to seeing the president gregariously interacting with the assembled crowd, it was an absolute treat.

Not sure who that is… Looks like Secret Service. (Yes, I know It’s Senator Rounds and Governor Daugaard.)

Senator John Thune and Congressional Candidate Dusty Johnson escorted by the Military

Senator Thune looks on as Air Force One taxis down the runway.

President Trump waves from Air Force One…

…and greets the assembled dignitaries

The President comes over to meet the group of people on the tarmac..

..and very graciously stops for shaking hands, pictures…

..and even a few selfies!

And as quickly as he flew in, the President’s motorcade was off to the convention center for the main event of the day!

I have to thank everyone for the opportunity to cover the president’s arrival in South Dakota. What a fun opportunity!

Greetings from the Sioux Falls Airport! Waiting for the Arrival of the President!

It’s not often you thank God for having the foresight to clean the trash out of your truck before a trip, but I did today. Because it would have resulted in a minor ecological disaster as they opened every compartment and searched my truck.

Yes, I’m writing this after standing in line to be personally searched and are gathered to greet President Trump for his arrival at the Sioux Falls Airport.

I’ve got my camera, my iPhone, and great hopes that I’ll have the opportunity for some photos of President Trump on the occasion of his visit to Sioux Falls in an hour or so.