Outgoing Rep Stephanie Herseth Sandlin found time to sit down with journalist Judy Woodruff to discuss the 2010 election — the interview was aired tonight on PBS.

Watch it all here:


Some thoughts on the interview:

1. SHS says her defeat came down to two main things — that it was a wave year and because of undisclosed money coming into  SD.   The wave year — okay I’ll buy that….but undisclosed money…..really?  I guess I’d like to see some back up to that…because if I remember the campaign reports SHS had the highest amount of out of state money (yes that would be disclosed money — but if we are gonna point to out of state money it seems to me that title would go to her — which as the incumbent is to be expected)

2. SHS says with improved Get Out the Vote and more money to emphasize her independent record the results may have been different.  Her person was running the State Dems, why wasn’t the GOTV effort better — it’s bread and butter for candidates.  Also SHS voting with Pelosi over 90% of the time makes the “independent” label a little hard to swallow.

3. SHS cites voting against climate change to support her position as a centrist.  I found it very interesting that she didn’t say she voted against health care when she talked about that issue — in fact she said the bill should have been a bigger priority.

4. Perhaps the most troubling statement she makes “Redistricting is one of the significant threats to the House of Representatives and to that our democratic institutions, representative democracy.”  Unfortunately there is no follow up by Judy Woodruff — but holy cow — personally I’d have jumped all over that to ask her to explain herself…..I truly find that troubling….now her defenders will say it’s in reference to the moderates in the House — but redistricting is a tradition (heck it’s even part of the constitution) — and usually it’s only bad when your side is on the losing side…meaning the majority gets more power….mmmmm I’m thinking that is democracy at it’s core.  But then I didn’t go to Georgetown.

5. SHS says she doesn’t think anyone takes their base for granted……I think Hilde/Weiland would disagree with that.  And frankly, I think when SHS says the moderates get “ridiculed from the right and demonized from the left, lambasted from the left”, I’m guessing she may have been thinking of her office neighbor Steve Hildebrand.

6. Her parting advice/threat to the Republicans — Don’t over read the mandate.  Solid advice and for those who think she’ll run again…..that very well could be her opening salvo for 2012.

I’m sure you’ll let me know what you think…..

Reserves — what are they good for?

As lawmakers head to Pierre with the budget foremost on the agenda and talk of the potential of cuts to all sorts of programs including k-12, Senator (soon to be Rep) Gene Abdallah raises the question about use of the reserve funds in today’s Argus:

Sen. Gene Abdallah, R-Sioux Falls, is moving to the House in January. He questioned the need to make cuts to education in the next budget when the state has $107 million in reserves. Abdallah said he would prefer to use those reserves now and make cuts later if revenues haven’t rebounded.

So are reserves a “rainy day fund”, a “special project fund” or a “put off the hard choices fund”?  And which of those would sparing k-12 cuts be?

Two other lawmakers want to raise sales tax during the summer to avoid using the reserves and avoid cutting k-12 including SDWC favorite Stan Adelstein.  Read about that proposal in the RC Journal.  Rep Don Kopp, who the Journal identifies as conservative, would rather see tax increases than using the reserve funds.

But the District 35 Republican said he is also open to a temporary tax increase if spending cuts don?t go deep enough to spare the state?s reserve funds.

?Maybe even institute a sales tax or a gas tax or something like that with a sunset clause,? Kopp said.

That is something the Legislature should do, Kopp said, ?rather than dip into our rainy day fund.?

Should the reserves be so sacred that a tax increase is preferable to spending the savings?    And if you advocate raising taxes — even temporarily (because you know a tax increase is never permanent) — are you still considered conservative?

A few more appointments this week

Just a few more appointments to pass along to you.

This week Daugaard appointed Andy Gerlach as Secretary of the Department of Revenue and Regulation.  Mr. Gerlach will be replacing Paul Kinsman who will be the new Commissioner of Administration.  Gerlach is currently serving in Afghanistan in the SD National Guard, and will be joining the administration when his tour ends in April.

Today Daugaard appointed Walt Bones  to serve as South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture.   Mr. Bones runs a family farm/ranch and is active in many agriculture associations has has held many leadership positions both in the state and on the national level.

We also learned today that Daugaard will be creating a new cabinet-level position: Secretary of Tribal Affairs.
This position has not yet been filled, but it sounds like interviews are almost complete.  We should know his choice around Christmas.

Tim Johnson bets on USF

One of the most fun traditions in politics is when you get to just be a fan for one of your state’s teams.  Tim Johnson has placed buffalo steaks on the line betting the USF cougars will beat Montana’s Carroll College in the NAIA Football Championship.

Read it here

It’s a fun way to promote your state and it’s products — it’s also earns the politician some bonus points from the team’s fans.  A little good will is always welcome.

UPDATE — well it looks like Max Baucus will be dining on buffalo steaks as Carroll College held USF 10-7.  Congrats to both teams on great seasons

“2010 Initiative” Data Released

Today, the state released the final data on Rounds’ 2010 Initiative.

The 2010 Initiative set out 5 goals:

  1. Double Visitor Spending
  2. Increase the State’s Gross Domestic Product
  3. Become a Recognized Leader in Research and Technology Development
  4. Brand and Develop South Dakota’s Quality of Life as the Best in America
  5. Uphold the Commitment to the 2010 Initiative

For the most part, these goals have been successfully met.

Double Visitor Spending
The goal was to increase spending to $1.2 billion.  Even with the depressed economy, the state did see an increase to $962 million, just short of its goal.

Increase Gross Domestic Product
The goal was to increase the GDP by $10 billion.  This goal was met 2 years early and the GDP actually grew by $14 billion.

Become a Recognized Leader in Research and Technology Development
Lots of good stuff here – NSF picks Homestake for the Deep underground lab, Sanford Initiative to cure Diabetes, and state universities added ten research centers adding to their advanced degree programs as well as bringing in $154 milling in research dollars.

Brand and Develop South Dakota’s Quality of Life as the Best in America
Lots of money invested in improving hunting opportunities,  improving the state parks, increasing the availability of affordable housing, and exposing our students to the arts.

Uphold the Commitment to the 2010 Initiative
Just because 2010 is almost over and the initiative was successful doesn’t mean the investment it created wont continue to benefit the state for years to come.

Note to Libs — when attacking check your facts first

The libs are salivating to attack Kristi Noem (not to be unexpected)   But it’s particularly pathetic when the attack is easily verifiable as a bunch of hooey.   The big target right now is the new Chief of Staff Jordan Stoick.  The liberal narrative is that he’s a big money lobbyist…..but here’s the part where the libs stub their toe and lose all their remaining credibility.  Lobbyists and firms that lobby have to register and it is an easily accessible public  document.  Guess what …..Jordan Stoick is not a lobbyist nor is the PR firm (Direct Impact) that he used to work for…..

Pesky things those facts.

Johnson: No Prosecutions in Food for Votes

We all knew this was coming, but I just wanted to throw the info out there for you.

US Attorney Brendan Johnson’s office has decided it will not seek any federal prosecutions in the Food for Votes scandal in SD.
This follows with what Jackley announced on Nov 11th.

Johnson said:

?It does not appear [the food or coupons] were offered in exchange for the voting act? since ?[i]t appears as though an individual could have obtained [them] and ultimately decided not to vote.?


Did anyone happen to catch SHS on Inside KELOLAND last night?
If not, you can catch it here.

Please note, I was very much in the camp of “She lost, just drop it” when it came to the topic of her seclusion after her loss.
However, If you caught this interview (AKA 20 minutes of free publicity) on Sunday night, it is hard to come away thinking that she has anything but another run for office on her mind.

She claims that she was just a victim of the “national political mood”. (No one voted against her, they just voted against the Dems, right?)
She  repeatedly stated she was a victim of negative adds. (Even though her campaign was the first to go negative)
On the topic of Noem’s driving record, she was quick to note that her campaign only brought it up after KELO “reported the story”.  (I think she meant after her campaign fed the story to KELO)

Even my wife, who is a Democrat, though largely stays out of political topics, was turned off by the interview/infomercial.

Hopefully, for Steph’s sake, she didn’t turn everyone off as KELO was nice enough to mention SHS’s website and note that she was seeking donations to pay off her $40k campaign debt.