Hanging out in the #dream15 Blogger’s Lounge

Giving up on the convention chairs for a moment, as my cell phone was needing the attention of a power source, I exited the breakout session I was hanging out in regarding LTE’s and Talk Radio, and wanted to go exploring,

I passed by the Microsoft XBOX ONE lounge, as I’m afraid I’d enjoy that too much, and it would be a huge time suck.. And I ended up wandering into the blogger’s lounge.

It’s equipped with a TV feed from the floor for the main session, and power outlets. Lots and lots of power outlets. And there’s a cadre of bloggers from national organizations, including the nice gal to my right from Reuters, whom I struck up a conversation with. She asked me to let whoever comes to reclaim the iPhone cord she’s using that she wasn’t trying to steal it – she just needed to plug in badly.

There’s chatter in the room about the candidates, mainly Trump, and how the candidates are going about countering him wrong. One of them quipped that the candidates should point out regarding the Proposed Trump wall for Mexico “Ronald Reagan challenged Gorbachev to tear down that wall, yet here you are declaring that you want to build one.”

And that was a good point.

It was quite lively in here for a while, but now finds itself surprisingly quiet, as people scan the net, or peck out articles.

It turns out the owner of the appropriated power cord did come back in, with it turning out to be an AFP staffer. And yes, she was cool with the gal from reuters using it.

Thune Delivers Weekly Republican Address

Thune Delivers Weekly Republican Address

“As the 114th Congress continues, we’re going to keep fighting for Americans’ priorities here in Washington and working to give the American people the efficient, effective, and accountable government they deserve.”

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, delivered this week’s Republican address to the nation. Thune taped the address in Sioux Falls, S.D., and highlighted the growing list of accomplishments the Senate Republican majority has been able to achieve on behalf of the American people.

Earlier this week, Thune penned an op-ed in which he outlined some of his recent Senate accomplishments that have benefited South Dakota, including multiple Commerce Committee bills that have cleared the committee and several that have passed the full Senate.

The audio of the address is available here, the video will be available here, and you may download the address here.

A full transcript of the address follows:

“Hi, I’m Senator John Thune from the great state of South Dakota.

“When Republicans were campaigning last fall, we made a promise to the American people: If we were elected to the majority, we would get Washington working again.

“That wasn’t a campaign slogan.

“That was a commitment.

“And we’ve been working hard to deliver on that promise ever since.

“The first eight months of 2015 have been some of the most productive in recent memory.

“In the Senate, we’ve built a track record of success, with bill after bill to deliver real results for the American people.

“One thing we were determined to do this year was pass a balanced budget.

“It’s hard to believe, but the last time the House and Senate passed a joint balanced budget resolution, Facebook hadn’t been created yet.

“That was something Republicans were determined to change.

“Every American family has to balance its budget, and Americans have a right to expect that the federal government will do the same.

“This spring, we passed the first House and Senate balanced budget resolution since 2001 – and we did it without raising taxes.

“In addition to a balanced budget, another Republican priority is expanding opportunities for American workers.

“The Obama administration has presided over the worst economic recovery in 70 years.

“As a result, too many hardworking families are stuck living paycheck to paycheck, with few chances for advancement and little access to better-paying jobs.

“That’s not the way it should be in America.

“In June, the House and Senate passed a trade bill that will support the creation of more good-paying jobs for American workers and help American farmers, ranchers, and small businesses sell their products and services around the globe.

“The transportation bill the Senate passed last month would also help American workers by providing funding for important construction projects that would support tens of thousands of jobs.

“The economy in my home state of South Dakota, where I am today, depends heavily on a strong, efficient transportation system, and the bill we passed would give states and local governments the resources they need to improve our nation’s highways, roads, and bridges.

“Another important bill the Senate took up in July was the Every Child Achieves Act, a major education reform bill that would help get Washington bureaucrats out of the way of our children’s education.

“This legislation would end burdensome federal mandates that have resulted in problems like ‘teaching to the test’ and restore control of education to those who know students best – like parents, teachers, and local school boards.

“Still another Republican priority is protecting Social Security and Medicare for our nation’s seniors, and in April we passed the first real entitlement reform in over a decade.

“The bill we passed extends Medicare’s solvency, protects seniors’ access to care, and provides significant savings to taxpayers over the long term.

“We also took action this year to provide increased mental health resources to our veterans, who have sacrificed so much for our country.

“Finally, Republicans remain committed to the safety and security of our nation.

“Earlier this year, the Republican-led Congress passed legislation to ensure that the American people, through their elected representatives, would have a voice in any nuclear agreement with Iran.

“The importance of this legislation became apparent last month when the Obama administration agreed to a deeply flawed deal with Iran that will bolster Iran’s ability to support terrorist activities, increase its access to conventional weapons and ballistic missiles, and advance its nuclear research and development.

“Without the legislation we passed earlier this year, there would be no chance for the American people to weigh in on one of the most important national security issues facing our country.

“Eight months into the Republican-led Congress, we’ve changed the way Washington operates.

“We’ve brought Democrats and Republicans together to solve the challenges facing American families, and we’ve been able to put forward real solutions as a result.

“In all, we‘ve passed more than 80 bills to grow our economy, protect our nation’s citizens, strengthen our security, and reform government.

“And we’re just getting started.

“We’ve accomplished a lot over the past eight months, but we know we have a lot more work to do, and we have a president who is fighting us every step of the way.

“As the 114th Congress continues, we’re going to keep fighting for Americans’ priorities in Washington and working to give the American people the efficient, effective, and accountable government they deserve.”


Great time at AFP #Dream15

Sorry if I haven’t been posting many things here – it’s been a busy couple of days. Great breakout sessions on a number of topics, as well as visits from Presidential hopefuls. 

Bush was good, Jindal electrified the crowd with his red meat conservatism, and it’s been a lot of fun. Sharing lots of fellowship with attendees such as Rep Steve Westra, Larry Rhoden, Rep Don Haggar, Dale Bartscher, Rep Les Heinemann, and many others in a South Dakota delegation of thirty plus.

I’m trying to remain current on Twitter, so make sure you get the latest on the happenings at @SoDakCampaigns

Hearing rumors….. Tieszen to house?

As I’ve been chatting the AFP attendees up, I’ve heard a rumor more than once regarding one of their legislative colleagues.

What I’m hearing is that State Senator Craig Tieszen, who is termed out of the Senate, may be considering running for a house seat in that District, currently held by Dan Dryden and Jeff Partridge.

There’s still a lot of time to pass, and it’s just rumor at this point. But, it’s one of the rumors I keep hearing.

Why I can’t get excited over when the Governor stops wanting to water Hilger’s Gulch.

Remember this press release from a few weeks ago:

Hilger’s Gulch Getting A New Look

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard is embarking on an initiative to bring back the native landscape of South Dakota to Hilger’s Gulch and save taxpayer money.

“This is a planned transformation and it’s going to save us time and money,” Gov. Daugaard said. “On average the state has spent around $36,000 annually for irrigation and $23,000 annually for mowing, fertilizing and weed treatment. In dry years, the water bills have approached $50,000. We’re taking this project on as an effort to be better stewards of that money.”

For the project, the Governor selected vegetation that can thrive in the natural climate of central South Dakota. The new plant life is expected to save money over time because it will require less maintenance and will not necessitate the use of chemical herbicides. 

The renovation will also serve to restore habitat in the area. Working with the South Dakota Bureau of Administration, Gov. Daugaard has strategically mapped out the placement of the various plants, trees and a meadow with purple, yellow and red wildflowers.

Predictably, there were some who didn’t care for the decision. And some didn’t care for the decision oquite a bit. They found themselves so outraged they called for a private meeting with the state Bureau of Administration…. which on unannounced basis they turned into a public meeting.

Their biggest issue with the Governor’s plan seems to be the fact simply that they’re going to stop watering Hilgers Gulch, which over the years I grew up there has varied from hard scrub prairie, to swampy cattail farm, to it’s present state which resembles a well-groomed golf course.

I suppose if I lived over-looking a well groomed golf course, I might be a bit bent out of shape if the golf course owner decided to turn it back into an arid grassland with little maintenance.

But despite the falderal, it’s still the golf course owners’ property, and absence violating local ordinance, he should be allowed to maintain it as he will. The fact that it is government property, and all this maintenance is paid for by taxpayers should weigh far more heavily on the argument than the local property owners wanting their nice green view.

If we are going to open up the argument to the public, and have a public meeting in Pierre, where are the public meetings in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen, etc. don’t those taxpayers deserve a say in the matter? Or is it only deserving of comment from those who want to maintain a nice green view?

My fondest memories of Hilger’s Gulch are not when it was in green or cattailed splendor, but rather when it was all covered in snow, and used for sledding. And amazingly in the South Dakota winter, it really didn’t matter one bit what state the Gulch was in during the summer.

The state did not groom for sledding trails. They appeared courtesy of the hundreds of children who made it their home during certain winter days.

And maybe that’s the lesson we should take from all of this.

Unless you’re going to pay for it yourself, let it be what it is going to be. And find a way to just simply enjoy it as it is.