A couple of rare South Dakota pins for my collection

Here’s a couple of pins I’m coming across for the first time, during a lunch-time search today at a local antique shop:


Larry Shumaker for Senate ’80 was a primary opponent for George McGovern in his last election for US Senate. He only managed about 38% in the primary, but it set the stage for McGovern’s defeat in the fall to Jim Abdnor.

The other pin, which is not aging well, is from Kurt Evan’s loss in 1996 running as an Independent in the congressional race to John Thune. This is not to be confused with his loss in 2002 for US Senate, or subsequent losses and withdrawals in other races.  Evans received 2.1% of the vote.

Dems tap Quinten Burg for Senate in 20.

I see that the SDDP has tapped former Democrat Legislator Quinten Burg to challenge Joshua Klumb for the open Senate Seat being vacated by Mike Vehle due to term limits.

Off and on, Burg spent about 10 years in the legislature between 1999 through 2010 out of Wessington Springs.

Things could get interesting. That is, if voters in 20 can be convinced to pick a Democrat residing somewhere near the edge of their district, as opposed to Davison County.

Gov. Daugaard Announces Closure Of STAR Academy

daugaardheader DaugaardGov. Daugaard Announces Closure Of STAR Academy

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced today the state will close STAR Academy, the state-run juvenile corrections facility near Custer, on April 8, 2016.

“Over the last ten years, the average daily population of juveniles under DOC jurisdiction has been cut in half. The juvenile justice reforms passed by the Legislature last year are expected to further reduce the number of juvenile commitments,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “I thank the staff at STAR Academy for the service they have given to our state. They have done their jobs selflessly by placing the needs of the youth ahead of their own.”

Since Fiscal Year 2007, the average daily population of youth in the STAR Academy programs has declined from 166 to 51.

There are currently five juveniles in the Brady Academy, Youth Challenge Center and QUEST programs at STAR (State Treatment and Rehabilitation) Academy. The Department of Corrections anticipates only three juveniles will remain in the programs by the closing date. Those juveniles will return to their communities or transfer to another placement.

Under the Juvenile Justice Public Safety Improvement Act, $6 million has been allocated to juvenile community-based programs throughout the state. The programs allow juvenile offenders to stay within their communities and address substance abuse, antisocial tendencies and family challenges.

The 64 employees working at STAR Academy were notified today of the decision to close the programs and provided with layoff notices. A one-time payment incentive plan equal to the staff member’s last two months of employment has been approved for staff members willing to stay on until their last day.

Impacted employees have been provided summary information of benefits and rights, including health, life and unemployment insurance, and conditions for reemployment preference. Reemployment preference guarantees the employee an interview for each career service position for which they apply for one year.

STAR Academy staff members were briefed last November on planned budget reductions at STAR Academy for Fiscal Year 2017. Informal layoff notifications were also given at that time.

Some STAR Academy staff members and facility maintenance staff will remain until June 8 to complete administrative and security tasks to close the campus.

“I thank the staff of STAR Academy for their dedicated service to the youth of the state of South Dakota over the years,” said Corrections Secretary Denny Kaemingk. “Although this is a difficult time, we celebrate their success in building STAR Academy into a nationally recognized facility.”


Former US Senate Hopeful to run for State Legislature. No, not that one.

Coming the day after State Senator Bill Van Gerpen announced that he is not going to be a candidate this next election, I had a call this morning from a candidate confirming a rumor I’d heard some time ago – that yes, this former candidate for US Senate from this past election is going to be a candidate for the South Dakota State Legislature.

No. Not that one.  The other one who didn’t go all ‘Donald Trump’ on his opponents, and placed second in the race, only behind now Senator Mike Rounds.

Former US Senate hopeful, and former South Dakota State Legislator Larry Rhoden yesterday turned Rhodenin his petitions in to run for the open seat in District 29 being vacated by Speaker of the House Dean Wink who has been termed out of office.

I spoke with Larry this morning, and while he enjoyed his time away, the West River Rancher noted that he missed the opportunity to represent the point of view of the people in the area on the big issues such as raising taxes and education.

In the past, Larry has served as Assistant Majority Leader and held the office of Majority Leader in the House for four years, as well as two stints as Majority Whip in the Senate when he was there from 2009-2014.  With the current Majority Leader in the House termed out office, I would not be surprised if Rhoden becomes a member of the GOP Leadership team, given his past experiences.

His return is also remarkable, as it provides Rhoden a higher profile for future statewide elections down the line, such as serving as a Lt. Gov choice in 2018, or running for an office in his own right, such as a potential Congressional vacancy, or Constitutional office.

More candidates to come. Stay tuned!

Thune Reintroduces Bill to Block IRS From Taxing Olympic Medals

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressThune, Schumer Reintroduce Bill to Block IRS From Taxing Olympic Medals
Legislation Would Allow Olympic and Paralympic Athletes to Keep What They’ve Earned

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) today reintroduced legislation that would exempt Team USA medalists from being taxed by the Internal Revenue Service on medals or other prizes awarded to them during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We should extend a warm welcome and congratulations – not a tax bill – to our Olympic and Paralympic champions when they return to the United States,” said Thune. “These Olympians, who often become role models for younger athletes across the country, dedicate years of their life and own money representing the United States on the world stage. The least we can do in return for these athletes’ commitment and patriotism is to allow them to keep what they’ve earned during the Olympic Games.”

“Our Olympian and Paralympic medalists should be worried about breaking world records, not breaking the bank, when they earn a medal,” said Schumer. “After a successful and hard fought victory, it’s just not right for the United States to welcome these athletes home with a victory tax. I’m hopeful that this bill will earn strong bipartisan support and quickly become law.”

Beginning with the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the United States Appreciation for Olympians and Paralympians (USA Olympians and Paralympians) Act would exempt the value of medals won from the athlete’s taxable income, as well as prizes awarded through the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), which pays monetary awards to U.S. medal-winning athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. If enacted, the bill would have a negligible effect on federal revenue and would not affect taxes on any potential endorsement or sponsorship income earned by Olympic athletes.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, of which Thune serves as chairman, oversees the USOC and other sports organizations. Thune and Schumer are both members of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax and revenue measures.

The USA Olympians and Paralympians Act, which was first introduced in the 113th Congress, is cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).


Rounds Introduces Veterans Equal Cost for Care Act of 2016

Rounds Logo 2016 MikeRounds official SenateRounds Introduces Veterans Equal Cost for Care Act of 2016

WASHINGTON— U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today introduced the Veterans Equal Cost for Care Act of 2016 to improve care for veterans who receive health care under the Choice Act program. This legislation would amend the Choice Act by eliminating the “secondary payer clause” to make certain veterans do not pay more for private care under the Choice Act than they would if they were seen at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility.

“Because we are a large, rural state, South Dakota veterans are disproportionately forced to use the Choice Act program to receive care at a non-VA facility,” said Rounds. “The intent of the Choice Act, which is to provide relief to those facing long appointment wait times and those who live far from VA facilities, is undermined because of higher out-of-pocket costs and reimbursement issues. In fact, problems with the Choice Act is the number one issue my constituent services representatives handle on a day-to-day basis.

“The Veterans Equal Cost for Care Act would make certain veterans do not pay more for private care under the Choice Act program than they would if they were seen at a VA facility. If the VA doesn’t have the capacity to serve the veterans it is intended to serve, it is only right that it picks up the bill for outsourcing its duties. It is a step in the right direction toward addressing the many problems within the VA to make certain our veterans receive the best care possible.”

In response to long wait times at VA facilities, the 113th Congress passed the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (Choice Act) in 2014. The Choice Act authorizes veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or are forced to wait more than 30 days for an appointment the opportunity to receive care at non-VA facilities. However, the Choice Act also includes a “secondary payer clause” for veterans who have private health insurance that forces these veterans to pay more out-of-pocket than they would for the same care at a VA facility. Rounds’ legislation repeals the “secondary payer clause.”

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Republicans: In case you need campaign materials for 2016….

2016_catalog_final_Page_01For my Republican candidate friends, guess what you’re going to see in your mailbox soon?

Last night, I put the finishing touches on my 2016 campaign material catalog for one of my businesses, dakotacampaignstore.com, and placed my order in preparation to hawk my wares in the upcoming campaign season.

When it comes to campaign materials, I’ve always been trying to figure out ways to do things on the cheap.  I’d figured out a stencil system for 4×8 sheets of plywood, and I’ve made door hangers with cardstock, a Hewlett Packard 4p printer and an exacto knife. And trust me, after spending time trying to do it cheaply, I figured out that it’s not much more in terms of cost to do it professionally, and it might be cheaper when you factor in your time & materials.

So, Back in June of 2010, I started Dakotacampaignstore.com to deliver high quality campaign products for South Dakota Republican and non-partisan political candidates, and I haven’t looked back since.

In doing so, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that since I’m a small shop, I’m able to deliver campaign products that are competitive if not cheaper than anyone else out there when comparing apples to apples. On the rare occasion when they are cheaper on items such as postcards, they’re typically doing it by using a lesser quality paper stock, or not UV coating it, which keeps them looking nice through the rigors of bulk mail. (Yes, there is a difference between 8pt uncoated and 14pt UV coated stock, despite what one candidate tried to tell me, and the cards looked like it.)

When you use dakotacampaignstore.com, for your campaign, you’re getting an experienced turn-key solution for targeting your message with some of the highest quality campaign materials on the South Dakota market. You’re also getting the benefit of 28 years of political experience.

So, Republicans & non-partisan candidates, if you think you need campaign materials for 2016, feel free to give me a call at 605-690-6853, and let’s have a conversation. You won’t be disappointed.

With 3 weeks to go, Dems up to 11 legislative candidates.

With 3 weeks to go until the filing deadline, Ann Tornberg’s Democrats are up from 7 to having 11 candidate petitions filed for the 105 legislative seats she bragged she was going to have filled for the 2016 election cycle.

After fielding the worst slate of statewide candidates (Paula Hawks and Jay Williams) in a generation, Tornberg is not instilling a lot of confidence in her ability to produce what she promises.