The Chairman’s Letter – We are a country because of the brave
By Dan Lederman, Chairman, South Dakota Republican Party
Like many other South Dakotans, I had a great Fourth of July, celebrating our country’s independence from England 242 years ago.
In between the parades taking place across South Dakota this week celebrating our freedom, and the skyrockets blasting until mid-evening, I was reminded of why we are free – because good men and women have stepped forward to give of themselves and have sacrificed life and limb in the name of an idea. A country where we are free to speak. A country where we can practice the religion of our choosing. These brave servants of their fellow man did so because they believed in the idea of America.
As chairman of the Republican Party, and a military veteran myself, I’d like to take the time to point out a few of our candidates who haven’t just served their state by running for office, but also have taken the time and have given of themselves to serve our country.
Richard Sattgast, currently State Treasurer and running for State Auditor, served over 20 years in both the active and reserve armed forces as an enlisted soldier in the United States Army. Sattgast’s military career includes service with the Occupation Force in Berlin in the 1980’s, Desert Storm in the 1990’s, and the National Guard and Reserve. During Desert Storm, Rich served as a military liaison to the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait as well as the full-time bodyguard and driver for both the Commanding General for South West Asia and the Commander of the U.S. Armed Forces in Kuwait. Rich concluded his military service by serving first with 842nd Transportation Company out of Spearfish and later with the 200th Bridge Unit in Pierre of the South Dakota National Guard. Rich is a member of the VFW, the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans.
Larry Rhoden, candidate for Lt. Governor, served in the South Dakota National Guard from 1978 to 1985 where like many young men serving their state and country he picked up a trade from his time in the military, welding. A skill he continues to use to this day. Larry’s family has a tradition of military service dating to the Revolutionary War, where his Great-Great-Great-Grandfather William Lathrop served in the Revolutionary War fighting the redcoats.
You might have noticed that Jason Ravnsborg, candidate for Attorney General wasn’t in South Dakota this week to walk the 4th of July parades. Because immediately after he won the nomination for A.G., he had to travel to Louisiana to train with his troops. In addition to being a candidate, Lieutenant Colonel Ravnsborg is currently in the United States Army Reserves and has been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Germany during his military career. He has been awarded the Bronze Star along with many other awards and has been honored for his service by Congress. Jason has had four company commands and currently serves as a battalion commander overseeing approximately 1,000 soldiers in South Dakota and Nebraska.
We wish Jason Godspeed and a safe training in the coming week.
As we reflect on all of our freedoms as Americans, remember that while politicians might talk about freedom as they debate and craft law, our servicemen and women are the people on the frontlines of Democracy, fighting for it and too often laying the foundation of freedom with their very lives.
To all the veterans and current soldiers out there; Thank you for your service and sacrifice.
It’s you who we have to thank for our independence.