Tim Reed, Mayor of Brookings, circulating petitions to run for House in 7.

5LktK54aI’m hearing this morning that with Scott Munsterman’s unexpected exit from the State Legislature, a few people are looking at jumping in.

And first out of the gate is Brookings Mayor Tim Reed, who is circulating petitions in the community, and as I’m told from sources, expects to make an official announcement regarding his interest in the seat sometime over the course of the next few days.

Having an open seat may also trigger something that the Brookings Co GOP hasn’t actively had, which is interest in the second House position on the ballot, as Democrat House Minority Leader Spence Hawley managed to get away without a challenger last election, as did Munsterman.

Hawley could be unexpected forced into having to actively campaign with at least two Republicans actively fighting to be one of the top two vote getters on the ballot.

Stay tuned.

Last week of session. 3 weeks until campaign petition filings close.

As legislators streamed back to town this weekend, this morning marks 22 days until petitions are due back at the Secretary of State’s Office on March 29th.

With legislators coming back for the last week of session, we’ll possibly see several filings this week brought back with them from their home locations, since they won’t be back for a while.

This past week was a wild ride, as several unexpected filings popped up, several of them indicating that we’ll have a health primary season. And as one legislator remarked to me last night, there are “more surprises to come.”

So, keep an eye on Dakotawarcollege.com for the latest and most up to date in South Dakota campaign coverage as we watch the class of 2016 hopefuls file for election, organize their campaigns, and prepare to do battle.

Noem Statement on Passing of Nancy Reagan

noem press header kristi noem headshot May 21 2014Noem Statement on Passing of Nancy Reagan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem today released the following statement after the passing of former First Lady Nancy Reagan:

“Nancy Reagan was a remarkable and inspiring woman who will be remembered for her grace and strength, as well as for her unyielding love for her partner and husband. Nancy and Ronald Reagan’s relationship was a true love story and their commitment to each other served as a great example for us all. Bryon and I join countless other Americans today in sending our prayers to the Reagan family.”


Sen. Shorma stepping back from Senate challenge?

I’m hearing tonight from a reader that Gubernatorial appointee Bill Shorma might not be holding tight with both hands on to the State Senate seat he was named to by Governor Daugaard.

Allegedly, Shorma, who was going to be challenged by Rep. Jim Bolin for the Senate Seat, thought better of it, and made a decidion not to run for re-election but to declare he is running for House…and my correspondent tells me he said so at a recent crackerbarrel.

At the same time, there are reports that Kevin Jensen, who has run previously in the primary, is running again, setting up a three-way primary for the house seats as Rep David Anderson has already turned his petitions in.

There are lots of primaries being set up for this year, and this is the latest twist!

Minnehaha County Has huge turnout for delegate selection process.


Yesterday, Minnehaha had their National Delegate Elections for the 2016 National Convention, and they tallied 119 credentialed participants, with 97 ballots counted, and 2 spoiled ballots.

14 people were nominated and ran for Delegate. Attached are the official election results, as certified by the county:

Election Results NDE Minnehaha

The counting committee were Jason Ravnsborg Yankton Chair and Manny Steele former legislator from Lincoln. Being from outside Minnehaha, they weren’t able to vote and would not have to recuse themselves.


Here you can see Manny and Jason working with county party Secretary Dane Bloch.

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Visiting the Nation’s Capital

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressVisiting the Nation’s Capital
By Sen. John Thune

Each year, millions of people from around the world travel to Washington, D.C., to take in the sights and sounds of our nation’s capital. Between all of the historic buildings and locations scattered throughout the District are great places to eat, rest after a long day on the National Mall, or enjoy a wide range of family-friendly entertainment opportunities. The spring season, in particular, draws families from around the country to Washington for spring break and other family vacations.

If your family is considering a trip to Washington this spring – or any time of year, for that matter – and you need help planning parts of your visit, you can always contact my office for assistance. We can help arrange tours of federal buildings throughout the city and provide tips on places to eat or stay. Visiting a big city can sometimes be an overwhelming task, so let us help alleviate some of that stress. While we’re always just a phone call or email away, if you’re already in Washington, you can always stop by my office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building to say hello, schedule tours, or pick up some helpful information about the city.

I hope one of your first tours in Washington is through the Capitol building, which is a living part of history and an iconic symbol of our democracy. It functions as an office for members of Congress and staff and serves as a hands-on museum for school groups and other visitors. If you tour the Capitol, you’ll walk through the same hallways as members of Congress and can see firsthand important congressional debates and votes from the galleries of the House and Senate chambers. In addition to the Capitol, my office can help arrange tours of the White House, U.S. Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and many other federal buildings.

There’s a uniqueness to visiting D.C. throughout the year, but this season is particularly interesting because of the world- famous cherry blossom trees that explode with color each spring. The Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial becomes noticeably fragrant as the trees start to bloom, and end up painting the horizon pink and white. If you’ve never had the chance to see them in person and in full bloom, which is expected to peak this year between March 31 and April 3, it’s definitely worth the visit.

There’s one special event in D.C. that’s reserved just for you: our weekly South Dakota Sunrise Coffee. Nearly every Wednesday that the House and Senate are in session, Sen. Rounds, Rep. Noem, and I host a breakfast for South Dakotans who are visiting Washington. It’s a great opportunity to see familiar faces and make new friends, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the week. To be part of our next South Dakota Sunrise Coffee or to learn about how we can help you during your trip to Washington, more information can be found at thune.senate.gov or by calling any of my Senate offices.


US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Renewing Your Passport

Rounds Logo 2016 MikeRounds official SenateRenewing Your Passport
By Senator Mike Rounds

South Dakotans who plan to travel abroad this year should make certain their passport is current. Or, if it is about to expire, they should renew their passport immediately to avoid delays or backlogs.

The reason is because nearly 10 years ago, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative required every U.S. citizen to have a passport to travel to all countries—including Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Previously, U.S citizens often only needed to verbally declare their citizenship. Because passports are valid for 10 years for most Americans, the uptick in passport applications from this 2006 requirement means approximately 47 million passports will expire this year alone. This has the potential to lead to a backlog in processing passports, as was the case when the U.S. Department of State tried to process them a decade ago. As we approach peak travel time, awareness is especially important.

If you are planning an international trip any time soon and don’t have a valid passport, you’ll want to apply or reapply as soon as you can. Additionally, 26 European countries don’t accept U.S. passports within six months of their expiration dates, so you should also check when yours expires, if you are planning any European travel.

According to the State Department, routine processing time takes approximately six weeks under normal circumstances. Renewing a passport costs $110 and can be done by mail or in-person. For those in a time crunch, expediting a passport costs an additional $60 and can be done in two to three weeks. If you are applying for a passport for the first time, you must do so in-person at a Passport Acceptance Facility. Oftentimes, these are local post offices, but they can also be county clerk of courts offices.

South Dakota has approximately 60 passport offices where applications can be submitted. You can visit www.travel.state.gov to find a facility close to your home. Passports for children under the age of 15 are only good for five years, and a legal guardian must accompany the child when renewing or applying for a passport. Keep in mind that even infants need a passport if they will be traveling abroad.

Our South Dakota offices will do their best to help you with the passport renewal process if you need it.  We will try to help with expediting your passport if you believe you may be short on time. However the sooner you apply, the better. You can find contact information for each of my offices on my website, www.rounds.senate.gov/contact.

Whether you are traveling for work or going on a vacation, we hope you have an enjoyable experience. Making sure your passport is up-to-date is an easy step you can take ahead of time to cut back on travel stress. If you know you’ll be traveling internationally this year, be sure to take a look at your passport’s expiration date to see if you need to renew it now.


Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Invisible Illness

noem press header kristi noem headshot May 21 2014Invisible Illness
By Rep. Kristi Noem

Sometimes the most difficult challenges to deal with are the ones a person can’t see.  Mental illness falls into that category.  While about one in five American adults experiences mental illness throughout their lives, our health care system isn’t adequately prepared to help.  As a result, too many people are falling through the cracks, and instead of landing in a hospital bed, they are landing in a jail cell, a homeless shelter, or worse.

This February, I was honored to receive the Outstanding Leadership Award from the American Psychological Association for my work in this area, and specifically, for a bill I introduced with Rep. Jan Schakowsky called the Medicare Mental Health Access Act.

For more than a half-century, our country has made sure seniors have access to the care they need to treat virtually any physical disease that could possible afflict them.  That care has meant we get to spend more time with our parents and grandparents – even our great-grandparents.  In fact, a 65-year-old woman on Medicare today will live 20 percent longer than her counterpart in 1960, due at least in part to the benefits she receives from Medicare.

But for the last 50 years, the role of mental health professionals in the spectrum of care has been marginalized – even though the anxiety and depression that are common in older populations can increase their susceptibility to physical disorders.  Our minds and bodies work as one.  Both need to be healthy and both need to be cared for.

My Medicare Mental Health Access Act will tear down barriers to mental health care for older Americans and give seniors more freedom and choice when it comes to how they are cared for.

This is just one piece of the puzzle, however. Mental health concerns know no boundaries – not age, not race, not gender.  In South Dakota, we are facing a heartbreaking suicide epidemic on Native American reservations.  Around two dozen young people have lost their lives to suicide in the last year or so – and scores more have attempted it.  This cycle of hopelessness needs to end.  We must bring quality mental health care into areas like this.

In the next few months, Congress is expected to debate the Helping Families with Mental Health Crisis Act.  If this bill is enacted, mental health laws would finally be brought into the modern era.  We would better empower parents and caregivers.  We would extend our reach into underserved and rural populations.  We would improve the transition from one level of care to another.  And we would make more tools available to prevent suicides in this country.  Acting on this legislation is critical, which is why I am so proud to be one of the bill’s cosponsors.

Mental illnesses can often go unseen – at least by the outside world.  With stronger legislation in place, I’m hopeful these illnesses won’t have to go untreated.