Paula Hawks’ campaign still a work in progress with rewrites and new exclamation points.

Remember the other day when I released Paula Hawks’ bio from her web site (about a week before she would admit running). Since then, many things have changed.

now with excitement

Since that day, her “I am running for US House” titled video had an exclamation point added to it to make it appear as if she’s enthusiastic about the process.   I can imagine that after it got out looking unenthusiastic and boring, her “get” from the SDDP, Zach Nistler, took her aside and said Paula – this video with the twinkling lullaby piano music just isn’t exciting enough. I have an idea which will put you over the top of those Republicans. Add an exclamation point to the title!! And if that doesn’t work, we’ll pull out the big guns AND GO ALL CAPS on them!!

As I said, I can only imagine that was the conversation.

In a similar manner, Hawks’ bio which we’d noticed after her brain trust put it up live a week before the announcement also seems to have been completely re-written.

But, now that the announcement is out, they aren’t re-writes for an already floundering campaign. They’re the “New Exciting Version!”


Hello, I am Paula Hawks and I am running to represent South Dakota in the United States House of Representatives.

While growing up north of Flandreau, I was exposed at an early age to the hard work, dedication, and state pride that makes South Dakota such a unique home. My parents, Hugh and Jane Hagel, raised four children on our family farm. We learned early on that to keep the farm running we each had to share the workload. We raised hogs and cattle, and planted and harvested alfalfa, corn and soybeans.

New Exciting Version:

Growing up on the family farm north of Flandreau, I helped with the cattle and the hogs, baled hay and harvested corn and beans with my sister and brothers.  The 80s farm crisis hit us hard, but we kept the farm intact, though not without experiencing serious financial hardship.  That struggle left an indelible mark on my life and development.  I developed a deep understanding and respect for the incredible dedication and hard-work it takes to make a family farm work in South Dakota.

Reason for the change?

It seems as if Hawks is trying to make herself look “faIMG_1941.JPGrm-ier” than Kristi Noem who has a far more compelling Ag background, in addition to being one of the people who brought home the farm bill. The new version also sounds better to people in the Ag industry than I grew up on the farm.But I still kind-of farm in my backyard.


Having grown up in rural South Dakota, I knew how transformative teachers could be to the students of their communities, so I attended college at South Dakota State University where I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Biology along with my teaching certificate.  While I was at SDSU, I was lucky enough to meet my husband, Steve Hawks, a young rancher from Faith South Dakota. We married in 1997 and are now raising our children in Hartford, South Dakota.

After teaching at West Central High School in Hartford for 10 years I realized that the life I had built with my husband and my career as an educator were being impacted greatly by the decisions taking place hundreds of miles away in Pierre. I decided to lend my voice to the process by running for the South Dakota House of Representatives.

New Exciting Version:

My high school science teachers really inspired me to follow my passion for science and when I graduated, I chose to study biology in college.  Following in my father and my sister’s footsteps, I headed to SDSU to earn my degree.  While attending SDSU, I worked part-time as a nursing assistant at the nursing home in Brookings.  Working with the seniors in my care, I developed strong relationships with them and learned to appreciate the special concerns faced by our senior citizens.

I met my husband, Steve, at SDSU, where he was a physics major.  Steve grew up on his parents’ ranch near Faith.  We got married on my parents’ farm, and started our life together as we were finishing our last year at State. After our first daughter, Ruby, was born I got my teaching certificate.  I spent 10 years teaching at West Central High School.  During that time our son, Tristan, was born.  Also during that time, I attended USD to get my master’s degree in Technology for Education and Training.  I lost my mother to cancer just months before I finished my degree and three years before our youngest daughter, Amelia, was born.

I left my classroom in 2012, and decided to run for the South Dakota State Legislature.  I have served in that role for three years now, and have worked diligently for my constituents in District 9, and for all of South Dakota.  Because the legislature is a citizen-legislature and not a full-time job, I also work as a training specialist in the banking industry.  I develop and deliver compliance and leadership training, as well as federal banking regulation training.  This experience in the business world has rounded out my understanding of the many facets of the South Dakota economic landscape.

Reason for the change:

I suspect this portion of the bio got far longer after I’d busted her out over skipping over her current job as corporate trainer for METAbank, where she likely sets up people behind a computer screen and has them run through an online tutorial on banking regs.

I had to laugh at the part where she makes it sound to her Democrat base that she was forced to work for the dirty bankers when she says “Because the legislature is a citizen-legislature and not a full-time job, I also work as a training specialist in the banking industry.”  So, if she had her druthers and could work full time as a legislator, she wouldn’t imagine working for the dirty bankers.

She also puts some filler in there about a college job to make the paragraph bigger.


I believe that the strength of America starts with hard working people and that our economy grows when hard working South Dakota families are given the chance to succeed. I have never been one to shy away from a challenge, and I firmly believe that for our state to prosper in the adverse conditions we are facing as a nation, we need a strong voice in our Nation’s Capital. We need a representative who is not afraid to be an independent voice for our state and we need a representative who is willing to cross the aisle to work for solutions, instead of working to secure political points for the next campaign.

South Dakotans have been telling me that our politics in Washington are broken, and honestly, I agree. But, when machinery was broken on our family farm, we knew that it was worth trying to fix before scrapping it all together. I am announcing to you today that I am ready to get to work and that I am prepared to give it my all to fix the mess. It may not be easy, and it may not be fun, but it is necessary. Join our team today. Working together we can bring much needed leadership to Washington D.C.

New Exciting Version:

I am running for the U.S. House because I believe it is imperative to restore opportunity and fairness to our system of government. A system that has gotten off course, and needs to be redirected so it can work for all of us.  A system that works for my father in his older years and for my children as they grow.  A system that works for my husband and me and the rest of the hardworking South Dakotans making their lives in our great state.


Reason for the change:

WOW! That portion with her raison d’être on why she’s running in the first place got pared down fast. Any direct reasoning got much, much shorter.

She had claimed that we need a strong voice in our Nation’s Capital ….And then that part went away.

Was it the fact that she realized that there’s no way on earth she’s going to be seated on the Ways and Means Committee or have a front row seat on the farm bill as Kristi Noem did that had her suddenly ignoring that whole “strong voice” line which there was no way she could deliver on?

And how about “South Dakotans have been telling me that our politics in Washington are broken, and honestly, I agree.“?   I had jested that ‘Mike Rounds called, and wanted his campaign theme from 2014 back.’  He must have actually put that call in, because his theme is no longer being aped by Hawks.

And by the time all that was done, the “New exciting” justification as to why Hawks is running found itself evaporated down from 2 big paragraphs of direct statements to one with offhanded, throw away lines.

Between all the revision, and drinking the ultra-liberal Democrat Kool Aid on issues (See standing with Planned Parenthood while they’re harvesting body parts) it’s going to be a long campaign for Paula Hawks, But not necessarily a successful one.

Republicans, Democrats Agree: IRS “Delinquent” With Treatment of Tax-Exempt Organizations

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressRepublicans, Democrats Agree: IRS “Delinquent” With Treatment of Tax-Exempt Organizations

“The Obama IRS was grossly incompetent, it improperly targeted groups for political reasons, and it stonewalled various investigations”

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the IRS, issued the following statement after the Finance Committee released the findings of its bipartisan report on its investigation into the IRS’s treatment of organizations applying for tax-exempt status:

“I applaud Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden for conducting this bipartisan and in-depth investigation of the IRS’s behavior with respect to its treatment of certain conservative organizations that applied for tax-exempt status,” said Thune. “This report confirms what a lot of us already knew – the Obama IRS was grossly incompetent, it improperly targeted conservative groups for political reasons, and it stonewalled various investigations into reported misbehavior. Most importantly, this report confirms that the IRS let down the American people and lost what little trust and confidence taxpayers had left in the agency.”

Bipartisan findings of the report include (courtesy of the Senate Finance Committee):

  • During the years 2010 to 2013, IRS management failed to provide effective control, guidance and direction over the processing of applications for tax-exempt status.
  • Top IRS managers did not keep informed about the applications involving possible political advocacy and thereby forfeited the opportunity to provide the leadership that the IRS needed to respond to the legal and policy issues presented by these applications.
  • Lois Lerner, who headed the Exempt Organizations Division, became aware of the Tea Party applications in early 2010, but failed to inform her superiors about their existence.  While under Lerner’s leadership, the Exempt Organizations Division undertook no less than seven poorly planned and badly executed initiatives aimed at bringing the growing number of applications from Tea Party and other groups to decision.  Every one of those initiatives ended in predictable failure and every failure resulted in months and years of delay for the organizations awaiting decisions from the IRS on their applications for tax-exempt status.
  • The Committee also found that the workplace culture in the Exempt Organizations Division placed little emphasis or value on providing customer service.

o   Few if any of the managers were concerned about the delays in processing the applications, delays that possibly harmed the organizations ability to function for their stated purposes.

  • The Committee made a number of recommendations to address IRS management deficiencies as follows:

o   The Hatch Act should be revised to designate all IRS, Treasury and Chief Counsel employees who handle exempt organization matters as “further restricted.”  “Further restricted” employees are precluded from active participation in political management or partisan campaigns, even while off-duty.

o   The IRS should track the age and cycle times of applications for tax-exempt status to detect backlogs early in the process and allow management to take steps to address those backlogs.

o   The Exempt Organizations Division should track requests for assistance from both the Technical Branch and the Chief Counsel’s office to ensure the timely receipt of that assistance.

o   A list of over-age applications should be sent to the Commissioner on a quarterly basis.

o   Internal IRS guidance should require that employees reach a decision applications no later than 270 days after the IRS receives that application.  Employees and managers who fail to comply with these standards should be disciplined.

o   Minimum training standards should be established for all managers within the EO Division to ensure that they have adequate technical ability to perform their jobs.

Issuance of the report was delayed for more than a year after the IRS belatedly informed the Committee that it had not been able to recover a large number of potentially responsive documents that were lost when Lois Lerner’s hard drive crashed in 2011.

o   By failing to locate and preserve records, making inaccurate assertions about the existence of backup data, and failing to disclose to Congress the fact that records were missing, the IRS impeded the Committee’s investigation.  These actions had the effect of denying the Committee access to records that may have been relevant and, ultimately, delayed the investigation’s conclusion by more than one year.

A timeline can be found here.


Paula Hawks declares “I stand proudly with Planned Parenthood.” Good luck with that.

And today we have Paula Hawks tweeting that she “stands proudly with Planned Parenthood,” who has been in the news lately for admitting they harvest fetal tissue for medical experimentation.

And Hawks doubles down and goes after Congresswoman Noem for introducing legislation to defund Planned Parenthood for the practice, but also seeking constituent input.

Could the Hawks campaign be the shortest campaign in the history of South Dakota?

Rounds Reaffirms Commitment to Repeal Pay Ratio Rule

RoundsPressHeader MikeRounds official SenateRounds Reaffirms Commitment to Repeal Pay Ratio Rule

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today reaffirmed his commitment to repeal the pay ratio rule embedded in Section 953(b) of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is voting today to adopt the pay ratio rule.

“The pay ratio rule is a waste of time, effort and money, and the SEC is misguided in voting to adopt this duplicative, unnecessary rule,” said Rounds “Repealing the pay ratio rule – as my legislation seeks to do – would allow companies to find more productive uses of their time and money so they can invest in the future and create jobs. I will work to move it forward in the legislative process.”

The statute requires the SEC to promulgate a rule requiring companies to disclose the pay ratio of their CEO compared to a company’s median workers. Section 953 is not only redundant because CEO pay is already public, it would also cost businesses millions of dollars in compliance costs.


My pile of boards leftover from the SDSU Stadium demolition looks like this now! (Not bad for a PolySci grad)

deck4I’ve written more about it on facebook than here, but you might recall that ‘d all but abandoned my hopes of expanding my little concrete pad that passed for a patio this year until I’d stumbled across a pile of lumber at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

And that lumber became the genesis for the biggest project I’ve ever taken on.

ReStore is a great resource for old furniture, light fixtures, building materials, and most anything you can think of in a thrift store, sans clothing. I go out there from time to time to see what they have. And in the latest trip to see what I could see, I went out back to a lumber pile, and noticed that they had a big pile of lumber that at one time had been painted for the SDSU Jacks.

It was explained to me that all these boards of blue and gold had been left over from the stadium demolition. Much of the lumber had gone to stadium benches which were sold to alumni. And they were more interesting, as they had been painted with row numbers. What was in the pile were the more boring or pedestrian boards that they didn’t want, or couldn’t use.

Noticing that it was a big pile of 18 foot long 2×10 lumber, which retailed in the neighborhood of $50 a board for treated lumber at Lowe’s, I asked the ReStore people “how much?”

deck3The reply? “$5 a board.”   And I couldn’t load it fast enough.

The cheap lumber left me to imagine how I was going to put this together from a pile of boards I possibly sat on as an undergraduate student, into a structure that my family could use and enjoy for many years to come.

Here I might mention that I’ve never built a deck before. But, I watch the DIY Channel. I’m game!

I found that my inexperience would crop up from time to time, especially as I was measuring for my decking. On one occasion, I seem to recall exclaiming to myself “Why are these posts 12 feet apart, and these at the bottom are 12’4″?  I measured twice!

deck2 I found myself running back to Habitat ReStore on more than one occasion for “just another couple of SDSU Bleacher boards” for various reasons; whether it was to add support, or to fix my goof-ups.

And in constructing it, I found creative solutions to some of those various goof-ups, such as breaking up the 12ft spans of decking with a board in the middle, masking my post mismeasurement, as well that little thing where I omitted the width of the lumber bolted to the outside of the posts in my calculations.

Did I mention I hadn’t build a deck before?

deck After going on vacation for a week, I returned and dug into the deck once more with gusto, adding railings, 2 sets of stairs, and finally a pergola to outline where my outdoor kitchen will be.

An open corner will hold a plant, or a planter box, so I don’t have to do try to make a post and short railing sturdy enough to weather kids hanging on it all the time.  I’ll cull through the leftovers to see if I’ve got something to make hand rails out of for the stairs. And I’ll add some decorative trim to mask the underside of the deck.

But for now, my deck of SDSU leftovers is looking pretty darned good for an alumnus of the SDSU political science program (versus the engineering or construction management programs), to the point where I’m not afraid to put the family on it

You know, what they say is true. You CAN go anywhere from SDSU.  As far as these bleachers are concerned, you can go from life as seating for thousands of football enthusiasts to a new home and life entertaining and helping a Brookings family enjoy the outdoors for years to come.

Rounds featured in Roll Call Article on “Former Governor’s Caucus.”

South Dakota’s US Senator Mike Rounds is featured in an article on the Roll Call web site about the “Former Governor Caucus,” discussing the difference between running the show, and being one of many:

MikeRounds official SenateJust six months into his Senate tenure, Rounds, who is interested in a biennial budget process as well, is still getting used to his position as a junior member, particularly with crucial legislative deadlines coming to a head in the fall.

“As a new member, not being directly involved with those discussions on a regular basis, it’s frustrating, where as governor you’d be right in the middle of things,” he said.


When King approached Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about the Former Governors Caucus, he told the Kentucky Republican that some suggested the group be called the Extremely Frustrated Caucus.

“Then Mitch said, ‘Well, I’ve found if you have a former governor who’s now a senator and you ask him which job they like better, if they tell you senator they’ll lie to you about other things.’ I thought that was a pretty good way to put it,” King said, laughing.

Read it all here.

So, is the Flandreau pot bus going to pick up people at Public Schools, or up at the SDSU Campus?


I was reading the article in this morning’s Argus Leader, and was just “thrilled” (insert sarcastic inflection here) to read that the Flandreau tribe has plans to bus people from Brookings and Sioux Falls down to their pot parlor in Flandreau when it opens.

Monarch sales director Cory Johnsen said as the lounge gets closer to opening in early December, he intends to do a lot of marketing in the Sioux Falls and Brookings communities. Among other things, they want to promote the shuttle services that will be offered to transport people from those cities to Flandreau and back.

“Our big thing is, we want people to be able to come there, hang out, consume and be safe,” Johnsen said. “That’s our No. 1 objective, so we just want to promote how we’re going to be able to achieve that.”

There are, of course, law enforcement concerns about all of this. Flandreau Police Chief Anthony Schrad can’t believe the lounge is going to attract only law-abiding citizens.

Read it all here.

Thinking about the city bus stops here in the nicest city in South Dakota, I’m left wondering if they’re going to be bringing the pot shuttle directly to SDSU and pick up people right at the dormitories? Or if they’re going to hit the city bus stops, such as the one across the street from Mickelson Middle School?

It’s one thing for the tribe and it’s designees to be promoting the use of illegal drugs in their sovereign territory – but they want to start exporting it to our neighborhoods?

What are your thoughts? Should cities, or state government have the ability to ban the pot transport vans from their community or their campus?

And if they’re going to be this aggressive about pushing it, should the Attorney General be just as aggressive to keep it confined within the boundaries of the reservation?

Thune, Rounds Introduce Legislation to Authorize Permanent Land Transfer for Expansion of Black Hills National Cemetery

Thune, Rounds Introduce Legislation to Authorize Permanent Land Transfer for Expansion of Black Hills National Cemetery

Similar Land Transfers Have Occurred at the Minuteman Missile Site and Wind Cave National Park

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today introduced the Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act, legislation to facilitate a permanent land transfer of approximately 200 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land to expand the Black Hills National Cemetery outside of Sturgis.

“All of the agencies that are involved in this process want to see a permanent land transfer between BLM and the Black Hills National Cemetery,” said Thune. “This transfer is neither controversial nor unprecedented, so I hope our legislation moves through the Senate swiftly so the transfer process can begin as soon as possible. This expansion will help ensure that we can continue to honor our veterans with a dignified burial in the beautiful Black Hills National Cemetery for generations to come.”

“This permanent land transfer guarantees that generations of veterans will be able to rest peacefully in the Black Hills National Cemetery,” said Rounds. “I’m hopeful that this noncontroversial proposal will move quickly through Congress.”

Under current law, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act limits transfers like this one to a lifespan of 20 years. The Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act would make this particular transfer permanent.