Rounds Leads Legislation to Rename Post Office in Honor of Fallen Army First Lieutenant Thomas Martin

Rounds Leads Legislation to Rename Post Office in Honor of Fallen Army First Lieutenant Thomas Martin

HURON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced legislation to designate the Huron Post Office as the “First Lieutenant Thomas Michael Martin Post Office Building.” Originally from Huron, 1LT Martin was a 5th generation Beadle County Martin whose great-great-grandfather homesteaded northeast of Huron in the 1880s. He died in action while serving his country in Iraq.

“1LT Martin represents the best of our country,” said Rounds. “He gave his life to defend the freedoms we enjoy in America. The First Lieutenant Thomas Michael Martin Post Office will stand as an important reminder of him, and others who made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of the American people. Though we will never be able to repay the debt we owe 1LT Martin, this renaming is one way to honor and remember his life of sacrifice and service.”

1LT Martin was born in Huron and later moved to Texas and Arkansas due to his parents’ active duty service that moved the family out of South Dakota. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1998 and would go on to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. 1LT Martin died during combat operations on October 14, 2007, while serving his country in Iraq.

“Our family is so honored to have a prominent building named in memory of our son, in the city I grew up in, and where two of our four children were born,” said Ed Martin, 1LT Martin’s dad. “Our family is confident that Tom’s legacy will live on for years, as those who pass by the Huron Post Office will give cause to pause and research who he was, what he stood for, and why our beautiful historic Huron Post Office is named in memory of our Tom.”

“To be able to show respect by naming a public, federal building after 1LT Thomas Michael Martin for his brave service to our country, where he made the greatest sacrifice, is a wonderful, humbling gesture,” said Laurie Shelton, President & CEO of the Huron Chamber & Visitors Bureau.

BACKGROUND (Courtesy of the 1LT Tom Martin Memorial Foundation):

1LT Martin was born October 10, 1980, in Huron, South Dakota. He left South Dakota as a very young boy, went to school for a short time in San Marcos, Texas and then graduated from high school in Cabot, Arkansas in 1998. That same year, he enlisted in the United States Army completing Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training as a Field Artilleryman at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In 2000, after an assignment to Camp Stanley in Korea, 1LT Martin was accepted for admission to the United States Military Academy. After attending the United States Military Preparatory School, he entered West Point in the fall of 2001. As a West Point Cadet, 1LT Martin started on the Rugby team, was a member of the Military Tactics Team and earned his Parachutist Badge by graduating from Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He majored in Military Science and graduated with his class in May 2005. 1LT Martin was commissioned as an Armor Officer and completed the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

1LT Martin volunteered for Ranger School and graduated earning his Ranger tab in May 2006. He reported to the 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Richardson, Alaska in June 2006. Upon arrival, he was assigned as the Sniper Platoon Leader in Crusader Troop and deployed with the unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2006.

Click HERE for full bill text.


Pennington County GOP promoting scorecards and special interest groups with fringe views, not Republican candidates.

Grr.. just had someone flag this for my attention, as it seems the Pennington County GOP is committing one of my pet peeves when it comes to what is and what isn’t the job of a county Republican party organization.  

The Pennington County Republican Party was exhibiting that behavior this last weekend at their latest meeting, as they promoted the work of outside groups that aren’t affiliated with, nor support the Republican Party or it’s candidates.

As noted by their agenda, as part of their meeting they’re promoting and seemingly endorsing the SD Freedom Caucus, an outside organization which is certainly not a Republican affiliated group or auxiliary, and they’ve given them floor time as part of their “2024 Legislative Process Overview.”

And it gets even better, as during part of the presentation, they had a big thing to do at the event with “legislators who scored 100% on the 2023 New American Legislative Scorecard.

The “New American Legislative Scorecard?” Nothing at all to do with the Republican Party, and actually related to the John Birch Society.  So, why would the Pennington County GOP be giving them air time?

In fact, if you look at the scorecard the Pennington County GOP is clucking about like proud roosters, Legislators only got 100% if they opposed the budget.  So, if you voted against funding veterans services, state aid to education, state parks, etcetera and so on, you got 100%.

Or even better, if you were recognized as supporting their position 100%, you one of the few who voted in favor of laws to criminally prosecute women who obtained an illegal abortion:

Literally, you could not get a 100% score unless you fought over 92% of the legislature AND Governor Noem who signed their support of House Bill 1220, the measure to provide criminal immunity for women who have abortions. The bill’s sponsors include just about every member of the legislature who sit on the SD Right to Life Board, and was supported in committee by the Governor’s office, South Dakota Right to Life, Concerned Women for America, and the South Dakota Catholic Conference.

Why on earth would the Pennington County Republican Party be featuring and favoring those few legislators who were such jerks that they want to send women who have an abortion to jail, a position in direct opposition to 92% of the legislature and Governor Noem?

The problem that the Pennington County GOP finds itself in is not an uncommon one, and one that more and more county groups face. You might call it mission creep, or prestige theft for lack of a better term. Outside groups are always pushing their agenda onto Republican Party groups and attempting to borrow their name in support of their own goals.  The Republican Party’s mission is to elect Republican candidates to office and to support their continued election. The problem gets to be when these outside groups try to come in and tell Republicans who is the better Republican, and the party. They have no other interest except in promoting themselves and ensuring the growth of their group at the expense of the GOP.

Their parasitic nature doesn’t provide any benefit to the GOP as a whole; it’s one sided, and is ultimately unsustainable. They care about their mission. Not the GOP’s. Which is why it is just crazy for GOP groups to give them the air time.

It actually hurts them as it drives people away, because it tells other Republicans who don’t believe that women who have abortions should be in jail that they aren’t welcome. If the Legislature and Governor Noem are any indication, that would be just about all of them.

Let outside groups do their own thing. GOP groups need to stick to their job – organizing the county for purposes of getting ALL Republicans elected.

Not just the Republicans who outside groups like.

Governor Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks
By: Governor Kristi Noem
November 17, 2023

Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season. As we spend time with family and friends during this special time of year, many of us may have a tradition of going around the table and sharing what we’re thankful for. It is important to take this time to think of all the things in our lives we can be grateful for. But it is even more important for us to remember to be thankful all year long.

The first verse of Psalm 136 reads, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.” This verse doesn’t tell us to give thanks to the Lord on Thanksgiving or to give thanks to the Lord on Christmas and Easter. It simply tells us to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. We can be thankful for the gifts that God has given us every single day.

In America, we have even more to be grateful for. Our founders built this nation on the ideal that each and every one of us have God-given rights that no government can take away. Brave men and women throughout history have fought and died to preserve those rights. Today, we get to enjoy our rights and our Freedoms because of the sacrifices made by those who came before us.

This Thanksgiving, and every day of the year, I am thankful for South Dakota. I am proud to be from a state that still respects those core principles and ideals that our founders risked their lives for. I am proud to be from a state that embodies the true meaning of the American Dream. And I am proud to be from a state that values hard work, personal responsibility, and patriotism.

More than just the state itself, I am grateful for the people of South Dakota. They inspire me daily. I have watched South Dakotans get up and work hard my entire life. I truly believe that you cannot find a harder working group of people.

South Dakotans work to take care of their families. They do not do anything halfheartedly. When a South Dakotan sets their mind to something, you can rest assured that they’re going to accomplish it. Our state has thrived because of our people and because of our attitude.

In South Dakota, we never give up. We never say, “good enough.” We know that we can always do better, always strive for more. That is the attitude that I have every day when I go to work. And I am thankful that it is the attitude of so many folks across our great state.

This holiday season, I hope you are able to spend time with those closest to you. I hope you share what you are thankful for. But I also hope that you keep the spirit of the holidays with you all year round.

To the people of South Dakota, thank you for all the work you do to make this the greatest state in the nation.

God bless you – and happy Thanksgiving!


Senator Thune’s Weekly Column: Food, Family, and Faith

Food, Family, and Faith
By Sen. John Thune

There’s a beautiful simplicity that I love about Thanksgiving. It consists of just three basic parts: food, family, and faith. Our forebearers saw fit that Americans should have a day dedicated solely to giving thanks for all that we have, and generations of Americans have looked forward to pausing from the buzz of daily life on Thanksgiving Day for just this reason.

Like nearly every Thanksgiving, I’ll be home in South Dakota, celebrating with my family: my wife, my daughters, my sons-in-law, and my five grandchildren. We have our family traditions. I’ll be on turkey-carving duty – and helping with the dishes. We’ll have plenty of pies on the table, including my favorite: anything in the cream pie family. And we’ll likely spend some time outdoors throwing around the football with the grandkids.

My family has a tradition of going around the table and sharing something for which we’re thankful every year. It’s a long list and each item on it brings a little more joy to our table. I consider myself a lottery winner for being lucky enough to be born in the greatest country on earth. I’m grateful to live in a country whose foundation is freedom, where we can freely live out our faith, and pursue a better life for the next generation. I’m thankful to be from, and to have raised my family in, South Dakota, where people work hard and help each other out, where the bounties of our agriculture industry feed the world, and where the natural beauty of creation is all around us.

I am also profoundly grateful for the brave men and women who serve our country in the Armed Forces. They have answered the call to defend our country and protect the freedoms we hold dear, often at great sacrifice for themselves and their families. Each Thanksgiving, I think of these Americans whose duties require them to be away from their families, sometimes in harm’s way, during the holiday season. Please keep them in your prayers.

As my family goes around the table, I reflect on how each of our blessings comes from God. For my family, our faith in Him is the guiding light that keeps us focused. On Thanksgiving, we remember that we can lean on His wisdom and guidance every day, and that His strength is always with us.

In his 1986 Thanksgiving Proclamation, President Reagan eloquently expressed the simplicity of Thanksgiving. He wrote, “Let us pause from our many activities to give thanks to Almighty God for our bountiful harvests and abundant freedoms. Let us call upon Him for continued guidance and assistance in all our endeavors. And let us ever be mindful of the faith and spiritual values that have made our Nation great and that alone can keep us great.”

I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Conressman Dusty Johnson’s Weekly Update: The Big Three – Looking for Change

Looking for Change
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
November 17, 2023

BIG Update

Interest rates are at a 16-year high. This doesn’t just impact homebuyers or businesses needing loans. Governments around the world pay interest on their debts. America’s high interest rates and bloated national debt have created a problem that may take generations to tackle. American taxpayers are footing the bill for the reckless spending in Washington that led to our $33 trillion debt and high interest rates. In fact, the U.S. pays more on interest on government debt than any other country in the world.

Last week, Moody’s Investors Service lowered its fiscal outlook for the U.S. government from stable to negative due to high interest rates and historic spending in Washington over the past few years.

House Republicans are working to cut spending and right-size government programs. I’ve opposed nearly $13 trillion in excessive spending proposed by the Democrats since 2021, and there is more work to do. Congress must work toward balancing the budget and getting our fiscal house in order.

BIG Idea

Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe President Anthony Reider came to discuss one of the tribe’s projects and permitting reforms. Earlier this year, House Republicans passed the most significant permitting reforms in more than 40 years, which would greatly benefit the tribe’s project. These reforms were signed into law, cutting bureaucratic red tape and lowering costs for Americans.

BIG News

On Wednesday, President Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping met for the second time since Biden took office. Before this meeting, the Select Committee on China sent a letter to Biden with a list of realistic demands the People’s Republic of China must fulfill to show they are serious when it comes to engaging with the United States.

Reports express the meeting was cordial and while this could be positive, America should not try to curry favor with the CCP. These meetings cannot be filled with empty pleasantries. President Biden must stand against tyranny every chance he gets.

The Biden Administration’s weak foreign policy has invited countries and terrorist groups to think they can get away with invading and attacking innocent civilians. Strong American leadership on the global stage establishes peace and security. When we retreat from this position, we create space for our enemies to expand. From Ukraine to Israel, we must stand for freedom around the globe.


Release: Elliott Selected as Next President for Black Hills State University

Elliott Selected as Next President for Black Hills State University

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Board of Regents announced Steve Elliott as the next president of Black Hills State University (BHSU). Currently the vice president of academic affairs at Wayne State College (WSC) in Wayne, Nebraska, Elliott will soon become the 12th president of the University.

Elliott has been an active Wayne State Campus community member since 2003 and has held various positions, including faculty member, department chair, and dean, before accepting a vice president role in 2016. Elliott holds a master of fine arts degree (the highest degree in that field) from the University of Maryland and served in the United States Marine Corps.

“The presidential search committee worked diligently to select the best from the best. Steve Elliott rose to the top and will be an excellent addition to Black Hills State University and the Spearfish community. He is well positioned to take BHSU to the next level,” said committee chairman Regent Jeff Partridge. “His leadership style appears efficient and effective, and his service to our country is a testament to his exceptional work ethic. The Board of Regents is happy to welcome Steve and his family to South Dakota.”

Elliott will begin his new role at BHSU on December 22, 2023.

“I am honored and humbled to accept the position as Black Hills State University’s next president,” said Elliott. “Black Hills State and the surrounding region have exciting potential. I look forward to working with the State of South Dakota and the communities we serve to develop new academic opportunities, expand partnerships, and continue building Black Hills State University’s outstanding reputation. My family and I are truly excited about becoming part of the vibrant and growing Spearfish community.”

Elliott is married with three children and has a history in fine arts. His large-scale sculptures and mixed-media works have been featured in 26 states nationwide. BHSU will host a welcome-to-campus celebration with details to be provided at a later date.


South Dakota is Among Top-3 Freest States in America

South Dakota is Among Top-3 Freest States in America

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota is among the top-three Freest states in the nation, according to the Cato Institute’s Freedom in the 50 States project.

“Our Freedom is a gift from God that no government can take away,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “I believe that South Dakota is the Freest state in America, but we thank the Cato Institute for recognizing the work we’ve done to advance Freedom. And I am proud that our kids and grandkids will inherit a state that respects their rights and liberties.”

South Dakota is ranked third in the nation for both overall Freedom and economic Freedom.

This index is based on state laws and other variables from January 2020 to January 2023. This report also evaluates state COVID-19 responses and how they affected Freedom both during and after the pandemic. South Dakota did not shut down during the pandemic. Governor Noem was the only governor in America to never order a single business or church to close.

The Cato Institute’s report reads, “Considering its consistently stellar across-the-board economic performance, it is little wonder that South Dakota remains one of the top-five freest states. South Dakota’s fiscal policy is excellent. The state has one of the lowest tax burdens in the country.”

South Dakota’s ranking has gone up consistently since Governor Noem has been in office. The state was ranked 8th in 2016 and 5th in 2019.


Rapid City Church Pastor files to run for District 35 State Senate

Another name has been thrown in the political arena, this time for District 35 as the pastor of the Calvary Chapel Church in Rapid City has filed a statement of organization to run for District 35 State Senate:

Greg Blanc Sdcfdisclosure by Pat Powers on Scribd

Greg Blanc has filed paperwork to run for the State Legislative seat which is currently up for appointment by Governor Kristi Noem, as a result of the unfortunate resignation of Senator Jessica Castleberry.

Blanc, notes in his church bio that he’s a native of California.  No official announcement has been made at this time.

Former NDGOP Executive Director Dave Roetman is back from ND backing candidates for office in Sioux Falls

North Dakota GOP executive director of a week, Dave Roetman, is back promoting candidates in Sioux Falls, and is acting as treasurer for a candidate who submitted a Statement of Organization last week as running for District 10 House. According to the Secretary of State:

BobbySmith_sdcfdisclosure by Pat Powers on Scribd

Bobby Smith of Sioux Falls has Dave Roetman as his treasurer in the District 10 House race, fresh off of Roetman’s week-long tenure at the NDGOP, resigning after being caught saying some really questionable things on social media. Which even made Fox News.

Noting that the candidate listed his street address as “2601 south Minnisota Ave Suite 105-424” on the statement of organization.. If that’s his street address, I can’t help but ask if it’s cramped living in a tiny mailbox at the UPS Store?

Brad Jankord Announces Candidacy for District 13 House

Brad Jankord Announces Candidacy for District 13 House

Sioux Falls, SD – Today, Brad Jankord, proudly announces his candidacy for District 13 House of Representatives in South Dakota. Alongside his wife Anna and their two young children, Grace and James, Brad is committed to bringing a fresh perspective and enthusiastic problem- solving skills to South Dakota’s Capitol.

Focus on Community
Born and raised in Redfield with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of South Dakota, Jankord is deeply connected to the values and concerns of South Dakotans. Current Vice President of Lending for the South Dakota Development Corporation, Brad has more than 10 years of banking and lending experience where he works to grow small businesses and communities across the state. His roots in the South Dakota community have shaped his understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our state.

Family Values and Vision for the Future
Residing in Sioux Falls, the Jankords are raising their children with the same values of hard work, integrity, compassion and community service that define South Dakota. Jankord’s decision to run for office is driven by his desire to secure a prosperous future for all South Dakotans.

Commitment to District 13
Brad seeks to be a public servant for District 13, not a politician. He is focused on key issues like education, economic development and conservation. Brad believes in a collaborative approach to governance, where the voices of his constituents provide a valuable perspective to policy decisions.

Join Us on the Journey
We invite the voters of District 13 to get involved by providing thoughts, time, talent and resources with the campaign. You can learn more about Brad, donate to his campaign or get in contact by visiting With your support, we can make a meaningful difference in our community.