SD Attorney General Candidate John Fitzgerald makes his case to Brookings GOP for becoming South Dakota’s top Law Enforcement Officer

Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald spoke at length today to the Brookings County GOP to make the case for becoming our State’s chief law enforcement officer with term limits and a race for Governor preventing Marty Jackley from seeking another term of office.

Fitzgerald explained his background as the oldest son of Judge John Fitzgerald who passed away in 2001, and how his family was affected by an attempt on his father’s life by the mafia, his family’s eventual move to South Dakota, and how he has turned that chapter in his life, a negative, into a positive, and dedicated himself to the law.

In comparing himself to his rivals for the office, Fitzgerald noted that his level of experience sets him apart from the other candidates for Attorney General, and that he has as a determination for serving justice, and helping people.

Fitzgerald also spoke at length of the challenges for South Dakota law enforcement, especially in the face of Colorado’s drug legalization, making the point that a lot of drug problems have arisen because those states have chosen to override the federal government. He noted in particular that the marijuana ballot issues currently being circulated in South Dakota are all unconstitutional, because there is no legal right to legalize marijuana under federal law, just a directive from president Obama that the federal government may look the other way if states regulate it.

He also spoke about the problems that the criminal justice initiative known as (2013’s) Senate Bill 70 have caused for law enforcement. Ā Fitzgerald indicates that modifications are needed , and that it has removed the discretion of judges by demanding mandatory probation for some crimes.

All in all, it was an informative presentation for the party faithful of his background, his work as state’s attorney, and how this ardent defender of law enforcement is dedicated to protect people on a statewide basis.

20 Replies to “SD Attorney General Candidate John Fitzgerald makes his case to Brookings GOP for becoming South Dakota’s top Law Enforcement Officer”

  1. Delegate #2

    By far the best candidate for Attorney General. After listening to Fitzgerald’s speech last night in Sioux Falls, I must say I was thoroughly impressed. His experience and background are unmatched by anyone. He has my vote for sure.

  2. Original Delegate

    I’ve met all the candidates, Jason is by far the most personable and overall grounded. It just appears to me that John’s wife wants this more than John does. Should be a fun spring next year.

      1. Anonymous

        Ravnsborg has a lot of experience; sure, he was gone a lot protecting our country overseas, but I think that is as valid as sitting in a courtroom. Jason is a hard-working, honest guy, and I think he would be as good or better than the Fitzgerald or Russell.

      2. Jake

        Is Russell even a candidate? I checked the filings for all of the candidates and Russell still hasn’t filed anything for attorney general

  3. Miranda Gohn

    John Fitzgerald looks to me as by far the most qualified candidate on the SDGOP side for Attorney General. I am impressed!

    Who is running for AG from the SDDP?

  4. Troy Jones

    When someone endorses an AG candidate and asserts them as “qualified”, I would like them also to tell us what criteria they used. It may be the largest law firm in the state with a very complex client in addition to its prosecution and law enforcement responsibilities. Just saying they are qualified tells me nothing because I don’t know what you are asserting they are qualified in.

    1. anonymous

      Mr. Fitzgerald’s qualifications are listed on his handbill above. Pretty impressive. More prosecuting experience than all of the other Republican candidates combined.

      At least 2 of those other candidates have no business even applying to lead a large law firm with a complex client. One other candidate can make a credible claim to the office, but not every delegate wants to play the game of “which bureaucrat gets to go next?”

  5. Another Delegate

    Wow, so much instant assumptions on what is needed for an Attorney General…has anyone read the actual duties of the AG? Check SDCL 1-11-1 (you can find it here: ) It appears to be a bit more involved than just criminal trials. It would seem to me that in considering candidates if you only look so far as the courtroom you are missing quite a bit of the picture.

  6. Troy Jones

    Anther delegate:

    I agree. Being a prosecutor is in my mind the least important of the attributes required. Fitz may be the best in the other attributes and make a fine AG (people I know who know him speak extremely highly of him as a lawyer and person). But if being a prosecutor is all he has for skills, he would make a great Deputy to lead prosecutions as this is also by far the smallest component of the office.

    it has been a long time since we had an AG who grasped that complexity and was a good manager.

  7. Pat Smith

    I agree Troy. Sound like we need a candidate with more leadership and management in his portfolio than Fitz has. He would probably make a good deputy and should look into that.

  8. Troy Jones


    I don’t want to be misunderstood. I have no perception with regard to Fitz’s capabilities in these matters. He may be the best of them all. Or not. I just want to hear more than they are good in court. Janklow and Barnett had no experience in leadership or management I know about.

    Janklow to some degree made his name as AG in areas beyond management and running the office so it is under appreciated how strong he was in this regard.

    Barnett too was highly regarded in this regard. Once when asked about it, he said he grew up in a house where his dad was a small businessman.

    I just want this aspect to be given due attention. Prosecution and chasing bad guys (DCI) gets the headlines but it is not the only aspect of the job.

  9. Anonymous

    Troy, Janklow ran the Rosebud Legal Services operation on Rosebud. Managed lawyers, paralegals and other professional staff. His program was the only legal services authorized to represent individuals in criminal cases in the entire US. He came to the Attorney General’s office with more management experience than the guy that hired him, Kermit Sande.

  10. Anonymous

    Janklow’s experience with RLS would have given me no indication he was going to be the manager he was. That was nothing but a small law office with a focused specialty. But, your mention of Sande is relevant because Janklow did talk about that (how bad a manager his former boss and current opponent was) in the campaign. Janklow understood being a good AG was more than being a prosecutor or a crime fighter.

    1. Troy Jones

      That was me. Everytime I re-open my computer from being locked, I have to log-in and failed to do so. I had started this message yesterday but didn’t finish until this morning when I got to the office.


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