Brookings GOP Lunch from 2/19 with State’s Attorney Dan Nelson; Meth, facebook, and campaign returns

Attended the GOP Luncheon in Brookings this last Monday to check the pulse of what locals are asking about when it comes to Law Enforcement, and to hear from our local State’s Attorney Dan Nelson.  Great and informative talk from Dan on a number of topics, as he spoke about how the office handles conflicts of interest, working with the Attorney General’s office, and the crimes that impact the community.

Especially in terms of the questions from the audience, meth is a huge concern, and how it is getting into communities. He answered questions about how anymore most of it comes into the country up from Mexico by cartels who produce it and bring it in. It’s also of higher quality than several years back when the meth crisis started, as it’s produced on a larger scale and more highly refined than the stuff that people used to make in-state in the trunks of their cars.

The meth discussion dominated nearly the entire Q&A session. Although, I had to ask for my own clarification – what happened to the State’s Attorney’s facebook page updates of arrests and prosecutions? They once were constant updates and they literally went away a while back.

Dan explained that aside from being a staff member or two down, this great source of information and open government started being abused by people on facebook who were trying to not just provide their own narrative, but in some cases people were posting false information and false narratives about crimes actively under investigation that were causing issues as the local investigators were trying to solve them, so he made the decision to pause the updates until a solution could be found.

What other things came up? Aside from signing petitions for a couple of candidates, I did hear from one person who informed me that Matt Wagner, who had announced he was running for D8 House, and then suspended his campaign, may be “un-suspending” his campaign, as he had dealings with SDSU which may have been a conflict, and now with the new Supreme Court interpretation may no longer be in conflict allowing him to run.

While not at the lunch, I did hear earlier on Monday that Brookings County Commissioner Ryan Krogman, who has been serving on the commission for 12 years now, is not running again, leaving an open seat. With the Krogman name as well know in Brookings as it is, that takes a genuinely nice man and the toughest competitor out of the contest, making one of the two seats in play this year a wide open contest.

That’s the local 411 for Brookings politics.. stay tuned for more to come.

Gov. Noem Announces National Guard Deployment to Southern Border

Gov. Noem Announces National Guard Deployment to Southern Border

Fifth Time that South Dakota National Guard has Deployed to the Border

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem announced that she will deploy South Dakota National Guard troops to the southern border later this spring. This will be the fifth time that the South Dakota National Guard has deployed to the southern border to assist in border security efforts during the Noem Administration.

“The border is a warzone, so we’re sending soldiers,” said Governor Noem. “These soldiers’ primary mission will be construction of a wall to stem the flow of illegal immigrants, drug cartels, and human trafficking into the United States of America.”

This deployment answers the call from Texas Governor Greg Abbott to help Texas respond to the crisis at the southern border. 60 South Dakota National Guard soldiers will deploy to the southern border on a rolling basis over a three-month period. Further specifics about the unit’s mission may not be answerable due to security considerations.

Last month, Governor Noem and the South Dakota legislature joined together to hold the first joint session in the nation responding to Texas’ efforts to secure the border in the face of threats from the Biden Administration. Governor Noem delivered a special address to the joint session of the legislature; shortly thereafter, the legislature became the first in the nation to pass a resolution of support for Texas’ efforts and for states’ rights.

In her address to the joint session of the legislature, Governor Noem highlighted a desire for different rules of engagement if South Dakota were to again deploy National Guard soldiers to the border: “Our troops have been hampered by federal restrictions when they’ve been deployed to the border in the past. I don’t want South Dakota soldiers to facilitate an invasion – I want them to stand up and stop it. So we are talking to Texas about what rules of engagement can look like to make sure that happens.” This request has been met by the new primary mission of constructing a border wall.

Two-and-a-half years ago, Governor Noem was the first governor to deploy National Guard troops to the southern border at the request of Governor Abbott.

December represented the first month in American history that border encounters totaled more than 300,000. Monthly border encounters have increased by 452% since President Biden took office. Total overdoses have increased by almost 20% across America in that time period as a result of the drug trafficking at the southern border.

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SDGOP adds Reggie Rhoden to staff as new SDGOP Executive Director, as Central Committee members seek bylaws to purge themselves of legislators and lobbyists

In the midst of all the SDGOP chaos over the last couple of weeks, one item that has gone quietly under the radar is that the party has hired on Reggie Rhoden as the new executive director for the organization.

Reggie, who recently had stints at the Secretary of State’s office as election coordinator under Monae Johnson in Feb of 2023, and was Deputy Auditor in Meade County from November 2023 until recently, certainly has exposure to the campaign trail as the son of Lt. Governor Larry Rhoden, who has long served in the South Dakota State legislature before taking the #2 position under Governor Kristi Noem.

It may be a bumpy road for the younger Rhoden, as he assumes the reins of a party organization focused on purging Republicans from Reagan’s big tent.

Aside from their attempts to silence me at the last Central Committee meeting, factions within the party are also seeking bylaw changes to strip the body of experienced people who know how to win elections. As submitted to the Central Committee by purveyors of the party purge:

State legislators and paid lobbyists shall be ineligible from holding any State Executive Board position.”

This measure currently proposed to the SDGOP Central Committee and under review by the bylaws committee, perfectly illustrates the dilemma that the South Dakota Republican Party finds itself in as the inmates seek to take over the asylum.  Should this bylaw measure pass, it would act to immediately strip the state Republican Party of it’s Chair (Sen. John Wiik), Vice Chair (Rep. Mary Fitzgerald), and Treasurer (Pierre attorney & lobbyist, Brett Koenecke), leaving only the treasurer, Marilyn Oakes to run the party. It would also knock out a few other exec board members, such as former chair and current lobbyist Dan Lederman.

In their attempt to bar legislators, the party would be stripping itself of being led by those who have skin in the game, and over the past two decades were a major part of turning the tide from just competing against Democrats – who held up to all three federal offices  – into the GOP being the solely dominant political organization in the state. This came about as a result of the efforts of many chairmen & women, but you can’t deny the influence that legislators had in the success of the party.

Certainly, congratulations are due to Reggie Rhoden in his new position in leading the GOP.

Unfortunately, it comes at a time when there is a faction of the party hell-bent at returning the Republican Party to the bad-old days when we used to lose a few too many elections.

After starting his run for Senate as a Democrat, Thomas Werner now running as a Republican in District 15

Remember how I had writted about Thomas Werner running as a Democrat for District 15 State Senate?

Introduction:

Welcome to the official campaign website of Thomas Werner. As a conservative candidate running in a predominantly Democrat district,  Thomas Werner is committed to representing the diverse needs and  values of our community. With a vision to bridge the partisan divide,  Thomas Werner is running as a Democrat for State Senate, bringing a fresh perspective and common-sense solutions to the challenges we face.

Read that here.

Apparently, that’s off, as Werner has now come back and is running as a Republican.

Introduction:

Welcome to the official campaign website of Thomas Werner. As a conservative candidate running in a predominantly Democrat district, Thomas Werner is committed to representing the diverse needs and values of our community. With a vision to bridge the partisan divide, Thomas Werner is running as a Republican for State Senate, bringing a fresh perspective and common-sense solutions to the challenges we face.

Read that updated website here.

And actually, if we’re splitting hairs, it’s technically not a predominantly Democrat district anymore, as D15 has 7320 Republican to 6638 Democrats.  But glad to see this confusion is resolved.

Election denier Rick Weible organized a PAC for recruiting candidates, but spending it’s money on “election anomaly” group.

I hadn’t caught this in the PAC filings that have been coming in until now, but a political action committee created by one of the most visible election deniers in the state appears to be largely bankrolled by the same family that provided significant funding to the failed congressional campaign of Taffy Howard in 202o.

In April of 2023, Rick Weible of Elkton, formerly of Minnesota, created a Political Action Committee called “Save South Dakota,” with the stated purpose that the PAC was created toHelp recruit, promote, support republican candidates that will abide by SD GOP platform principles.”  Which I’m sure are GOP platform principles as interpreted by Rick.   Fast forward a few months, and the group had it’s name at the top of a flyer was declaring Weible a “South Dakota Hero” for some logical reason no one has been able to discern to date.

Now that the deadline for Political Action Committee filings have passed, we have a slight window into who is funding this silliness. According to the End of Year report filed by the PAC with the South Dakota Secretary of State..

Save South Dakota PAC FY 23 EOY Report by Pat Powers on Scribd

Dave Assman, Cathy Assman, & Darla Assman all kicked $2000 into the Weible led PAC, with Greg Assman dropping in another $1000. You’ll see most of them also donated significantly to the Taffy Howard congressional effort. The itemized donations are rounded out by Weible putting in $500 to the PAC that declared him “a hero,” and despite their spelling error, I believe State Representative Tina Mulally was in for another $410.24.

What did they spend it on? Despite their claimed mission of electing candidates, it appears that they used this group as their front group for buying the state voter list, consulting with an outside group, MK Analytical.

According to their website, MK Analytical…

MK Analytical is a small team that has established itself within the Election Integrity Community as the leading company that has been providing accurate and focused lists that has proven to be an effective tool in uncovering anomalies associated with this Country’s Elections. The MK Analytical Network has helped connect Election Integrity investigation teams from many different states with the purpose of sharing data analysis, techniques and uncovering new anomalies that other states can investigate in their state.  

Read that here.

So, is this PAC focused on sending the voting list off to an analyst for the “election integrity community,” as they’ve declared themselves to be.. or are they recruiting candidates?  This seems to be heading down the rabbit hole, leaving everyone to wonder if the group is focusing on spending other people’s money on candidates, or if they’re spending it on conspiracies?

The group moved forward into 2024 with $4801.11 in the bank, so it remains to be seen what, if anything, they’re going to be doing to further their declared mission.

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Lessons in Leadership From Our Greatest Presidents

Lessons in Leadership From Our Greatest Presidents
By Sen. John Thune

South Dakota is second to none when it comes to celebrating America’s presidents. The iconic Mount Rushmore memorializes four of them in larger-than-life granite. As many times as I’ve seen it, Mount Rushmore never gets old, and it still inspires me, as I’m sure it inspires the millions of visitors who come to the Black Hills to see the monument each year. Down the road in Rapid City, statues of our presidents line the streets of downtown. So when Presidents Day comes around each year, South Dakotans know the people who have held that office.

Presidents Day is a chance to celebrate all of our presidents, and in particular during this month we honor two of our greatest leaders, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are in February.

Our first president, George Washington, was a soldier, farmer, and statesman. When the American Revolution came, he was named commander in chief of the Continental Army. The ragtag army he led faced long odds against British forces. But Washington’s leadership earned him the dedication of his men, and they ultimately won the war.

When the revolution ended, Washington was a national hero. But rather than bask in his fame or take power for himself, Washington resigned his military commission and went home to his Virginia farm. But he would leave home once again when his country called on him to serve, first at the Constitutional Convention and then as the nation’s first president. His presidency set the tone for the office and set the United States on a solid footing as a new nation.

As Washington’s legacy is the nation’s founding, Abraham Lincoln’s is its preservation. Born in a Kentucky log cabin and largely self-taught, Lincoln came of age in a tumultuous time in American history. He was a young lawyer and legislator as the national debate over slavery was intensifying, and it would become the defining issue of his public life.

A one-term congressman and twice-failed Senate candidate, Lincoln was a long-shot candidate for the presidency when he ran in 1860. But he won his party’s nomination and the White House. After his election, 11 southern states seceded and, within weeks of his inauguration, the Civil War began. The war consumed his presidency, but Lincoln’s steady leadership shepherded the country through some of its darkest days. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, pushed Congress to pass the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery, and, in his second inaugural address just weeks before the war’s end, he urged reconciliation. He was tragically assassinated just days after the war ended, but he had already left an indelible mark on our nation’s history.

Neither Washington nor Lincoln were perfect men, but when their country needed them, they stepped up to serve. In our defining moments, America has been fortunate to have leaders like Washington and Lincoln.

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Nice addition to my inaugural pins.. and maybe a few extras.

I was extremely happy this past week to receive the pins I won the bid for on ebay for some SD Inaugural pins, one of which I was missing for my collection.

The 1953 Sigurd Anderson Pin is actually a challenging Inaugural to find, and it has taken me a long time to get one in the wild to put back into my collection. If you’re in Pierre, you’ll recognize the Sigurd Anderson Building named for this former Governor, across the street from the Capitol.

There was a downside to the pin find.. it came with a large group of pins, including a couple of tough pins to find; the ’41 Bushfield, and the equally challenging ’45 M. Q. Sharpe pin.

And predictably, that wasn’t lost on competing bidders, as they took me about to the limits of what I was willing to pay.  It was not at all a bad price for the group, but a healthy sum for the one pin I wanted.

I did have a plan for a brief moment where I figured that I could recoup my expenses, sell off the duplicates, and maybe even make it a revenue neutral or moneymaking acquisition..

Until my daughter Sydney asked to have her pick before I did anything like that.  And it is her birthday tomorrow… well, dang it.  Best laid plans.. but I can’t fault my daughter for finding South Dakota political history interesting, she comes by it honestly.

At some point in the near future, I’m going to do some downsizing and have a sale of extras, as soon as I can find them. Which might be an indication that it’s time to downsize.

In the meantime, this leaves me 2 inaugural pins to find; the near impossible first one, and I need a large 1975 Kneip pin whenever I can come across it, and then my inaugural pin quest is complete. Which will leave me to chase state capital fight items.

Stay tuned.

Attorney General Jackley Warns Public About Medicare Telephone Scam

Attorney General Jackley Warns Public About Medicare Telephone Scam

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley is warning the public to be careful about telephone calls they receive threatening to take away a person’s Medicare benefits.

The South Dakota Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division has received calls from citizens in recent weeks who say they have received telephone calls from scammers purporting to be from Medicare. The callers will demand the person to provide their Medicare number and if not, threaten to stop their benefits.

“This is not a new scam, but it is a relentless one,” said Attorney General Jackley. “These scammers will do anything they can to convince the person to disclose personal or financial information, including their Medicare numbers. Please remember that the official Medicare office does not call people.”

The Consumer Protection Division recommends that consumers:

*** Never provide their financial or personal information to someone via the telephone.

*** If they receive such a call from a number that does not show up on caller ID, hang up and contact the businesses directly using a known number, not the number showing up on caller ID.

*** Never accept back, knee or wrist braces that are mailed to them, but that they have not ordered. Medicare will require the consumer to pay for the brace even if they didn’t order it.

Consumers who believe they may have been a victim of any type of scam should contact the Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986.

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Governor Kristi Noem’s Weekly Update: The Freedom to Work

The Freedom to Work
By: Governor Kristi Noem
February 16, 2024

In South Dakota, we respect the Freedom to Work. That is what America was built on. We each have the Freedom to get up every morning and to provide for ourselves and our families. That’s the American Dream. South Dakotans continuously remind the rest of the country the value of hard work and the dignity it brings.

There are few professions where hard work, dedication, and passion are as significant as law enforcement. South Dakota is already the Freest state in America – I’m determined to make it the safest, too. The best way to do that is by putting more law enforcement officers on our streets.  The goal of our newest Freedom Works Here ad is to recruit more law enforcement officers to South Dakota. You can view “33 in a 65” here.

I always say that South Dakotans are some of the hardest working people I know. We still understand the value of hard work. And my goal as Governor has never been to create a government that does everything for people, but to create a government that empowers our people to do things for themselves.

When the pandemic hit and many states closed down, South Dakotans kept working. While other states were experiencing record high unemployment levels, we broke the national record for the lowest state unemployment less than a year ago.

We are creating opportunities for people to get into the career of their dreams. And we’re just getting started.

I knew that if we could just tell our story, Freedom-loving Americans from across the country would want to be a part of what we’re doing here. I knew that we needed to celebrate our success – then take the opportunity to capitalize and build on it. I knew that we had to show all of America that Freedom Works Here.

We are continuing the Freedom Works Here workforce recruitment campaign. This campaign is still less than a year old, and we’ve received thousands of applicants interested in moving to our state just through the program, not counting those who independently made the move. Thousands have already moved here!

After our first round of ads, I had businesses asking me how they could help us keep the campaign going. It quickly became clear that these ads were working, and that we needed to do more.  So we did some research into some of the most-needed professions in South Dakota. The results were professions like electricians, plumbers, welders, and even accountants, so we’ve targeted ads towards those professions.

These ads are so successful because they tell South Dakota’s story.

Our state licensing boards are reporting huge increases of out-of-state applicants seeking licenses in South Dakota – including a 78% increase in plumbers, a 44% increase in electricians, and a 43% increase in accountants. Our labor force has grown by more than 10,000 people in just the last year. Our license recognition bill combined with the microphone of Freedom Works Here is a powerful tandem to fill these much-needed jobs.

That is a story that many people across this country have never heard before.

Folks are moving here in record numbers to become a part of our winning way of life. Californians and New Yorkers have never seen a state like ours – one that trusts our people, and one that embraces and promotes liberty and Freedom.

Freedom Works Here is indisputably the most impactful workforce campaign in South Dakota’s history.

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