Rental inspection controversy heating up in Pierre. Resident advocates for denying unclean renters the ability to live in town.

So, the Pierre City Commission seems hell-bent on imposing a heavier hand of government and a number of restrictions on property owners despite an overwhelming number of people testifying against it.  Nevermind the exception of one person who believes that if someone has something junky in their yard then they should be thrown out of the darn town:

“Now you have it that it’s mandatory that all of these apartments can be inspected,” Maher said. “I don’t agree that you have the right to come into all of my buildings and inspect, no more than the tenant that lives there will let you in. That is a right of private property that you’re changing from that I’m surprised, in this state, we would even think about that. So that’s a major change that I’d ask you to think about, not the nitty-gritty of this, but is this good public policy to start imposing on the people that have built these apartments?”


“I had offered, and I know the homebuilders’ association offered and said, ‘Hey, let’s sit down in a working group, committee, whatever, and get us stakeholders involved and sit down and work this out, see if we can come up with some alternatives that everybody can live with,’” Moses said. “That hasn’t happened. It should happen. I don’t know why you don’t want to do that. That’s the way to get the consensus is get us involved.”

and it goes downhill from here….

“I think it is really essential that people hold their renters responsible or be responsible themselves,” Likness said. “The renters are not fulfilling their obligation. I would really like to see the city clean some of those places up, and if you have to remove their right to rent, that would be fine, too.”

Read the entire story here.

So, what happens if someone has their right to rent “removed?”  Do they have to live in a car, or are they simply banished to Fort Pierre?  I can’t help but be reminded of something else. According to wikipedia..

Redlining is the systematic denial of various services to residents of specific, often racially associated, neighborhoods or communities, either explicitly or through the selective raising of prices. While the best known examples of redlining have involved denial of financial services such as banking or insurance, other services such as health care or even supermarkets have been denied to residents.

I have to think that denying someone the ability to rent to move the undesirables out of the neighborhood is bumping up pretty closely against this definition.

Regardless, from the feedback finding it’s way to me across the state, I don’t think this issue is remotely close to being done.

Release: SD Treasurer Josh Haeder Elected to serve on National Association of State Treasurers Leadership Team 

SD Treasurer Josh Haeder Elected to serve on National Association of State Treasurers Leadership Team  

Haeder Unanimously Elected Vice Chair of NAST 

PIERRE– The National Association of State Treasurers announced its 2022 leadership election results at this week’s Annual Business & Membership Meeting in Chicago. South Dakota State Treasurer Josh Haeder will serve as the organizations Vice Chair starting January 1, 2022. 

Haeder said, “I am energized and committed to working with an exceptional and diverse group of Treasurers on both sides of the aisle. My focus is to share our states vision of returning unclaimed funds to rightful owners, promote sound fiscal management and build lasting relationships that benefit our mission of government that serves the people.” 

State Treasurer Josh Haeder was unanimously elected by State Treasurer’s across the country to serve as the Vice Chair of the National Association of State Treasurer’s (NAST) 

Prior to being elected South Dakota’s 33rd state treasurer, Josh Haeder was the managing partner of Haeder Organization, LLC based in Huron, SD. Haeder Organization is a property management company that focuses on affordable housing and lodging.  Haeder served 4 1/2 years as the Northeast Director for US Senator Mike Rounds who is a member of the Banking Committee.  

Haeder’s experience includes time as the chief operating officer for a national credit counseling agency that assists individuals and families considering bankruptcy. He also spent several years in business and agricultural banking management. Haeder’s education includes a B.S. in Public Safety Management and a M.A. in Intelligence and Global Security from Point Park University.  

Haeder has been married to his wife Amanda for eight years and they have two young daughters. In his spare time, Haeder is a public address announcer for sporting activities, pheasant hunting, fishing and watching Minnesota Twins baseball.   

 Josh Haeder is passionate about serving South Dakota by protecting citizens’ money and state accounts against cyber threats and through financial wellness education for young people. Regarding his public service, Haeder lives by the quote “If you really want to receive joy and happiness, then serve others with all your heart. Lift their burden, and your own burden will be lighter.” 


South Dakota Democrats drawing down cash to less than 20k, pay $7,200 FEC Fine.

Apparently the salad days are upon the South Dakota Democrat Party with their new executive director, Berk Ermergerd, or whatever his name is. Because they seem to be spending money like they have it in their latest report filed with the Federal Elections Commission yesterday:

SDDP September FEC Monthly Report by Pat Powers on Scribd

Starting with $43,321.12 cash on hand, Democrats added a reasonable $24,722.65 to the total for $68,043.77.  And then they spent $48,061.98, leaving them less than they raised with $19,981.79.   In comparison, the State Republican Party is sitting on $82,683.13 in their federal account, and unlike Democrats, they usually keep a healthy amount in their state account while Dems traditionally don’t.

Dems are trending into dangerous territory, as of the $24-25K they brought in, only $6,781.48 was money they actually raised, and $17,941.17 was their monthly welfare check. $15k came in from the Democrats Grassroots Victory Fund, and $2,941 from the DNC.

This month state Dems did write the big and bad check to the Federal Elections Commission for their $7,200 fine levied for campaign finance violations.

That might attribute for some of their extremely high cash burn rate this month, but when you take in $24.7k, and spend $41k plus a $7200 fine, even without the fine, the spending is still not sustainable without a significant turnaround in income.

Stay tuned for more.

Yankton Press & Dakotan has story on Lt. Gov. Rhoden’s call for unity

The Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan had a story yesterday about the Lt. Governor’s speech at the OGP Lincoln Day Dinner, calling for unity in the party moving into next years’ elections:

However, Rhoden has also seen divisions both at the state and national level among conservative and moderate GOP members.

“In more recent months, we have seen others casting doubt and throwing out terms like RINOs (Republicans In Name Only),” he said.

However, those labeled RINOs have produced policies and legislation that have created economic and other success while following GOP principles, he said.

“We are talking about Republicans topping the habit of putting prefixes on the name Republicans. We need to unite,” he said.

“We have a common real threat to our country right now, and it’s the Biden administration, and it’s the liberals who are destroying our nation. We as Republicans need to unite and put our divisions behind us and, once and for all, get a dose of the big picture of working together for a common goal.”

Read the entire story here.

Don’t want to say Team Mowry is unpopular in GOP circles, but…

With US Senate challenger Mark Mowry in the news today, there was one thing I observed at the GOP dInner this last weekend in Yankton..

I don’t want to assume that Mowry is unpopular in GOP circles, but… dang. When you’re running for US Senate and the only people who want to join you at your table are your wife and your hat, you definitely have a ways to go in the campaign.

Gov. Kristi Noem to Delay Social Studies Standards

Gov. Kristi Noem to Delay Social Studies Standards

PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem has directed the Department of Education to delay the process to consider revisions to the state’s social studies standards up to one year.  She issued the following statement:

“The Department of Education changed the working group’s recommendations to the social studies standards significantly, but it is clear to me that there needs to be more public input to bring greater balance and emphasis on our nation’s true and honest history.  Following public feedback from several constituencies, it is clear there is more work to be done to get this right.

“We will be delaying further formal action on the draft social study standards to allow more opportunity for public input, increased legislative engagement, and additional voices to be heard in this discussion.

“Our focus remains the same: ensuring that South Dakota students learn a true and honest account of American and South Dakota history.”

Governor Noem intends to ask the South Dakota legislature to pass legislation codifying Executive Order 2021-11, and banning critical race theory and action civics as the basis for instruction in South Dakota schools.


Thune opponent Mowry part of Jan 6 election protest in Washington DC

I mentioned it earlier, but Mark Mowry’s participation in the Jan 6 election protests in Washington DC have caught the attention of the mainstream media today:

Spearfish resident and long-time musician Mark Mowry earlier this year filed his candidacy to unseat Sen. John Thune in the 2022 Republican primary election, fueled by the senior senator’s unwillingness to question the validity of the presidential election.

Mowry told the Argus Leader in a recent interview that he participated in demonstrations near Capitol Hill the day Congress was set to confirm the results of the Nov. 3 election, three months before deciding to challenge South Dakota’s three-term senator. But he was not part of the riots that broke out and led to protesters storming the Capitol, he said.

Read the entire story here.

No word on whether Mowry’s hat also participated in the protest.

Governor Noem and Republican Governors Call on President Biden to Change Failed Border Policy

Governor Noem and Republican Governors Call on President Biden to Change Failed Border Policy

Request Meeting with President Biden at the White House

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem and 25 other Republican governors wrote to President Biden, urging him to change his failed border policy. The governors requested a meeting within the next 15 days to address this crisis. You can read the letter here.

“The months-long surge in illegal crossings has instigated an international humanitarian crisis, spurred a spike in international criminal activity, and opened the floodgates to human traffickers and drug smugglers endangering public health and safety in our states,” wrote the governors. “A crisis that began at the southern border now extends beyond to every state and requires immediate action before the situation worsens.”

Governor Noem had previously deployed 48 South Dakota National Guard troops to the southern border for a two-month deployment. This was in response to a request from fellow governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona. Governor Noem subsequently announced that South Dakota will be sending an additional 125 members of the National Guard to the border for a 9 to 12-month deployment at the behest of the federal government. That subsequent deployment will be made later this year.

The governors highlighted the efforts by the states to fill the void left by the Biden Administration’s policy mistakes: “While governors are doing what we can, our Constitution requires that the President must faithfully execute the immigration laws passed by Congress. Not only has the federal government created a crisis, it has left our states to deal with challenges that only the federal government has a duty to solve.”

Governor Noem was joined in signing the letter by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Idaho Governor Brad Little, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Utah Governor Spencer Cox, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.


South Dakota Political News Column: SDGOP Generation Next – The shape of GOP leadership as we move towards 2030

(Editor’s Note – Presenting another longform column that ran from this last week in it’s entirety from the SDWC’s sister website South Dakota Political News – PP)

SDGOP Generation Next – The shape of GOP leadership as we move towards 2030

As we prepare for yet another round of redistricting, another gubernatorial election, and another US Senate election, it’s a good.. or maybe an inevitable indication that the environment we see today will not always be what we see. Time always marches on, and a new group of leaders will be there talking the place of the old.

For example, In 2011, our constitutional officers were..

Dennis Daugaard, Governor
Matt Michels, Lieutenant Governor
Jason M. Gant, Secretary of State
Marty Jackley, Attorney General
Steve Barnett, Auditor
Richard Sattgast, Treasurer
Jarrod Johnson, Commissioner of School and Public Lands
Gary Hanson, Chris Nelson, & Kristi Fiegen, Public Utilities Commission

Well..  5 of the 10 were different than we now have a decade later. And 20 years ago, the slate was completely dissimilar.

Part of what I spend a lot of time doing is trying to predict, or to game out what the future of the political landscape is going to look like. And looking down the line, there seems to be some population and political trends that help us in making an educated guess on who our state’s future leaders might be.

20 years ago, we were more geographically diverse in who served in elected office. Now, we seem to be coalescing to certain areas. I think that trend will continue will more concentration to our population centers as we cruise towards the next decade.

While it had already been broken at the Federal level, Kristi Noem shattered the glass ceiling for who we consider for leadership.  And looking at the current makeup of the legislature, many of the more dynamic potential candidates moving up through the ranks look a lot different than they did a decade ago.

Absent a drastic change in political landscape, I think we’re going to remain fairly red.. but we may start to see a bit more purple shading in Sioux Falls.  And I’ll just stop there, as this post will get far too long and too far afield if I don’t. As opposed to talking about 2030’s environment – let’s talk about who to watch.

With that, let’s consider and predict what the SDGOP’s “Generation Next” – the future class of elected leaders – is going to look like.

Dusty Johnson

The only person who arguably war games the political environment out as much as a political blogger and will be at the top tiers of elected office is our current Congressman Dusty Johnson.

Except by 2030, he’s no longer going to be Congressman. Expect that Dusty will be in the middle of a term as Governor or US Senator.  As hard as it is to imagine, by 2030, Dusty will be the GOP’s future elder statesman.

Dusty is one of the hardest workers in politics and has an indefatigable ground game. If he’s not there in person, he will have people at parades, events, fairs, dinners, etcetera.  He can raise money, is popular without being polarizing, and is viewed as intelligent and competent.

If you want to continue to win elections in this state, you have to appeal to a broad base, and Dusty knows how to do it.

Casey Crabtree

The State Senate is approaching what we can anticipate as an inevitable change of leadership with Senate Majority Leader Gary Cammack hitting term limits in that chamber.  While we won’t see a drastic change of the people in the Senate, with those that will go, and the new people coming in, changes are coming which would favor Crabtree moving from Majority whip into a higher position among his peers.  If not this next term of office, a future one will be coming which will likely place him in Senate leadership.

Crabtree also has the advantage of coming from what I loosely term as the I-29 corridor, the Eastern-most portion of the state with the majority of the population, the majority of the media, and the majority of the backing to achieve statewide elected office.

As the Director of Economic Development for Heartland Consumers Power District, his name is in front of and he touches a tremendous number of people in his day job and rubs shoulders with our state’s captains of industry.  It’s a strong and enviable position if he might contemplate running for statewide office.

Taylor Rehfeldt

Taylor Rehfeldt is part of a new class of candidates that came onto the horizon this election from the health care industry. They were particularly remarkable in that they were exceptionally strong & savvy ground campaigners, and they were reasonably able to raise money.  In her first election cycle, between the primary and the general election Rehfeldt was able to bring in over $56,000.. which is pretty darned good for a first time candidate.

Add to that the fact that Rehfeldt is from Sioux Falls.  Yes, in days gone by you might consider that a liability, but no more.

Consider the fact that Sioux Falls is projected to have a population of around 280,000 in 2040. In 2030 it’s not unreasonable to consider the state’s largest city will be 220,000 – 250,000 by that point; possibly 1/5  to 1/4 of the state’s entire population in one metro area.

Technically, it’s Dr. Taylor Rehfeldt, as she holds masters and doctoral degrees. Dr. Rehfeldt has been recognized in her professional community as well as in the Sioux Falls professional community for her accomplishments.  She’s on the fast track for future opportunities as a statewide leader to watch.

Sydney Davis

Sydney Davis is another health care professional who came on to the scene last year who despite no prior experience in politics managed to run an aggressive ground game and was the top vote recipient by just under 500 votes in a 4-way legislative contest in southeast South Dakota.

Davis holds a nursing degree from SDSU, and a master’s degree from Mt. Marty, and is another candidate who benefits from having her home where the voters are, in the I-29 corridor. But she also brings a particular appeal besides living in the right place.

Because Davis also boasts strong attachments to the agriculture industry.  Davis grew up as a 4-H and FFA kid and is a 4th generation cattle producer, bonafides that can only help her appeal to a broad base of South Dakotans.

With redistricting, anticipate Davis will likely move up to the State Senate in short order, with opportunities for statewide office to follow.

Erin Tobin

State Senator Erin Tobin rounds out the trio of healthcare professionals who were swept into office in 2020, and she’s the kind of candidate that opponents should fear.  She taught that lesson to the outgoing House Majority Leader in the last election when she took him out more than 60-40% and utterly destroyed her general election opponent nearly 80-20%.

It goes without saying that she’s a tremendous campaigner in a legislative district which stretched far and wide.

Erin is a conservative pro-life Republican who sweeps away preconceived notions of a ranch wife/ag producer, adding medical professional, university instructor and small business owner to her resume.  Regularly working in health care from South Central South Dakota as far east as Yankton, and acting as an instructor with USD, Erin touches a very broad base across the state.

Tobin literally follows in the footsteps of a trail blazed by Governor Kristi Noem, and it would not be unexpected at all to see her throwing her name in the ring for Congress or other statewide office if the timing was right.

Paul TenHaken

Until he was mayor, he had never held elective office, or served on the Sioux Falls City Council. But he was (and is) honest, forthright, social media savvy and genuine.  And he can raise money (235k+) for a mayoral race as expensive as many statewide races. Paul TenHaken is also the best-known politician in the state who hasn’t ran for statewide office yet.

Yet. Because I suspect his time will come. And it will come soon.  In his previous electoral effort, TenHaken emerged from a field of six candidates in an initial race, and swamped his opponent in the runoff election on a vote of 62.7 – 37.3%  Hardly a day goes by without being mentioned in the state’s largest media market, and generally he’s been able to avoid controversy, and maintain a strong popularity as forward thinking and business oriented.

His only fault might be that he’s too nice, even to fairly cut-throat opponents. But, in South Dakota we don’t punish civility. In fact, we tend to elect it as we see our better angels.   Unless he chooses to go back to business – a successful one at that – Paul may eventually end up as one of our US Senators.

Will Mortenson

Besides the I29 corridor, the only other place successful statewide candidates seem to hail from is the Pierre/Ft. Pierre area. And Will has the potential, political savvy and experience to translate that into a run for office.

Will Mortenson has family roots in Central South Dakota’s ranching community. There are not many around Pierre who have not heard of the Mortenson Ranch which goes back generations as a working cattle operation along and near the Cheyenne River in Stanley and Ziebach Counties.

He worked in the Governor’s office as a policy analyst before attending the University of Virginia School of Law where he received his J.D. All during this time and since, Mortenson has been a close confidant and one of Congressman Dusty Rounds primary supporters.  To put it mildly, he knows what he’s doing in politics.

Mortenson’s ties are deep in the Republican party, and he has the know how and connections to continue an upward trajectory among his peers in the SDGOP and to translate that into higher office.

Maybe Lee Schoenbeck… If we can talk him into it.

If I could talk him into it, I’d love to see current Senate President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck running for Governor in 2026. But that’s assuming Lee feels like a go for a Gubernatorial level of political nonsense at that point in time.

This last election, Schoenbeck’s political calculus was dead on, and he was able to make things happen. Not to mention personal connections at the highest levels of industry in the state, and an almost unmatched ability to raise money.

Schoenbeck was literally at the point of pulling the trigger several years ago against Lt. Governor Daugaard, but at that time, Lee’s chief fundraiser became unavailable. At the time, Lee noted that he could either raise money or run for office, but not do both jobs at the same time and have a life. Which is an indication that he’s one of the state’s best campaign minds – because he understands what it takes to compete at that level.

Will he be up for it in 2026? If so, I’m in.

What about Kristi Noem?

Governor Noem has 4 years on her next term of office.. and she’s being talked about for the highest office in the land in the middle of it.   I have the suspicion that by 2030, Governor Noem will still be part of a national level of politics.

So, absent a very outside chance she’s in the US Senate, I’d watch for her to be in the executive branch of the federal Government in one way or another.

The funny things about politics are that they change on a dime. People come, people go, and the unpredictable happens.  Job opportunities come up. Unforeseen events come up. People do things that affect them negatively.

If there is anything predictable, is that the future is unpredictable. But looking at it through the lens of 2021, we can make a few guesses. And we’ll see how the dice land when things are done rolling.

And that’s what my crystal ball sees for the year 2030.