If there was any doubt in your mind how utterly and completely partisan Slick Rick Weiland’s troika of ballot measures are, check out the latest fundraising push from Weiland’s group “Takeitback.org.”
The two of us were both first elected in 1978—Tim to the South Dakota House, Tom to the U.S House—and a great deal has changed in the intervening years.
By far the biggest change, though, is the need for political reform.
“Big Money” dominates our elections at all levels, gerrymandering continues to load the election dice, and polarization and hyper-partisanship increases to new levels every year creating dysfunction and gridlock.
It’s easy to get discouraged, to just throw you hands up in the air and give up.
But that, of course, is exactly what the anti-reform forces want us to do.
Here’s the good news, however: Two of our good friends and former senior aides—Rick Weiland and Drey Samuelson—have come up with a bold and innovative plan to use state ballot initiatives to fix our broken politics, first in South Dakota, and then on to other ballot initiative states next election cycle.
Without drowning you in details, these initiatives will establish reforms of state government that include; reforming SD campaign finance rules, establishing an ethics commission; placing restrictions on gifts that lobbyists can give legislators; establishing a nonpartisan commission to fairly draw our legislative boundaries; and creating nonpartisan elections where ideas prevail, not party propaganda. Imagine the South Dakota Legislature moving from partisan governance to nonpartisan governance, the same as Nebraska has successfully had for the past 82 years.
This Trifecta of Reform linked here for you to review includes Amendment T (non-partisan redistricting), Amendment V (non-partisan elections), and Initiated Measure 22 (anti-corruption).
However, not one of these excellent proposals would have a prayer of being passed into law in Pierre, the state capital, but because they’re ballot initiatives, all they need is a majority vote this November. Best example was passing an increase in the minimum wage using a ballot measure in 2014 when the legislature refused.
And that’s why we’re writing.
Because we believe that these reforms represent virtually the last real hope – at least in our lifetimes – for real political reform.
Every one of them is polling ahead, and every one of them will make profound changes if they pass. South Dakotans – like people across our country – are hungry for change. They simply need to be informed about what these initiatives do, and they’ll do the rest.
But it takes money in order to educate folks and time is of the essence.
Because if we don’t pass these initiatives – Amendments T, V, and Initiated Measure 22 – reform in South Dakota won’t be happening anytime soon.
And that would be tragic.
So what we’re hoping you’ll do is make as large a contribution as you can afford TODAY—as there is still time for it to be effective.
The truth is this: we have a chance – a real chance – to pass reforms that will fix our broken political system and, while we can’t return to 1978, to ensure that our children will inherit a better world.
With your help, we can make it happen!
U.S. Senator Tom Daschle U.S. Senator Tim Johnson
P.S. Please don’t close this email out without sending whatever you can afford, even if it’s just a few dollars. We can win these initiatives—we know it—Rick and Drey just need the resources necessary to make their final push.
I’m not sure it gets much more partisan than Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson.