County Commissioners take offense at legislator’s comments

Uh oh.  Someone made County Commissioners mad.

Despite arguably being the highest paid part-time elected officials…. who are also known to vote for taxpayer paid health insurance for themselves…  County Commissioners took offense when State Rep Don Haggar noted that they may be spendthrifts.

(I’m not sure if that’s in comparison to austere State Legislators who have measures in this year to raise their own salaries.)

During the regular weekly meeting, Dick Kelly, who has been a commissioner since 2009, scolded Don Haggar, a legislator in his second term, for comments Haggar made to the House of Representatives in Pierre. Kelly said Haggar owes an apology to South Dakota’s 325 county commissioners he insulted with his remarks.

Haggar compared funds given to county governments to candy and implied the more a county is given, the more it will spend. The House was debating HB 1216 at the time. That bill, which failed on the House floor 22-46, had the intent to “repeal the limitation on the total amount of revenue payable from taxes on real property for all taxing districts, except school districts.”

In his prepared remarks, Kelly said, “I don’t normally comment on statements made by other elected officials on the floor of the legislature, but remarks made on the House floor by State Rep. Don Haggar last Wednesday during debate on HB 1216 pertaining to the restriction on property taxes deserves an answer. He state the proposed amendment to 10-13-25 was tantamount (his words) to putting a jar of candy on a representative’s desk and expecting it to say full, though I can’t understand why you would put it there and not expect people to partake if they feel the need. He then went on, and I quote ‘those county officials are going to find ways to spend the money. Their appetites will rise to the level of the candy available. That’s what will happen.’

Read it here.

Basically Don illustrated his point by saying they’d gobble up all the candy, Don Kelly says “I can’t understand why you would put it there and not expect people to partake if they feel the need”  and then he grumbles because he doesn’t like the comparison.

Come on guys – can’t we all just get along?:

Big mayoral race in Brookings this year.

As I was signing a candidate petition today, I was reminded that yesterday, current Brookings Mayor Tim Reed announced via twitter in an exclamatory manner (using all caps for what might be his slogan) that he was running again for election:

This came shortly after an announcement by current City Commissioner and Brigadier General Keith Corbett in the last week or so that he was throwing his hat in the ring as well:

Keith W. Corbett, a Brookings city councilor for the past 4 1/2 years, has announced his intention to seek the mayor’s office. There are three council vacancies this year, the mayorship and two council seats. While current Brookings mayor Tim Reed has indicated he’ll seek re-election, Corbett insists that “I’m not running against anyone I’m running for the office of mayor.”

Read that here.

I know both, and actually worked for Keith many, many moons ago when I was a SDSU Student, and he was the chief of the university police.   I think they’re both good people.

It’s going to be an interesting contest, as there doesn’t seem to be open discontent among the populace. Reed has been mayor since 2007 after being appointed when Scott Munsterman stepped down. Reed didn’t have a subsequent race in 2009. And if memory serves when he was up again in 2012, I don’t recall he had a race then, either, due to the cancellation of the election.

So after all of this time, Tim Reed, a Republican who describes himself a political moderate, after 8 years will be facing his first actual election campaign as mayor against City Councilman Keith Corbett, also a Republican.

This could be an interesting one to watch.

Hughes County Lincoln Day Dinner tonight. So is the Democrat’s senior coffee group

Have you got your ticket yet? The annual Hughes County Lincoln Day dinner is being held at the Ramkota tonight with guest speaker incoming GOP State Chair Pam Roberts. This is usually the first big event of the political season, and is usually very well attended.  Social hour is 5:30 p.m. and dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30.

Apparently the Dems are going to try to get in on the act as well. They’re meeting at the Ft. Pierre Senior Citizens center, led by their chairman Ann Tornberg starting at around 6, where Democrat Legislators will give updates about session.

I’m thinking that’s going to take about 5 minutes, Just long enough for the coffee to get cold.


Rounds Announces Internship Opportunities in Washington, South Dakota Offices


Rounds Announces Internship Opportunities
in Washington, South Dakota Offices

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today announced internship opportunities in his Washington, D.C., Pierre, Rapid City and Sioux Falls offices for the summer 2015 semester. The summer semester will run from May to August 2015. College credit is available.

Duties in the Washington, D.C., office may include tracking legislation, researching bills, attending committee hearings and briefings, leading tours of the U.S. Capitol, handling constituent phone calls, sorting mail and providing legislative support. Duties in the South Dakota offices include researching constituent inquiries and requests, participation in outreach activities, assisting staff on special projects, handling phone calls and constituent requests and sorting mail. In all offices, students will work closely with constituents and staff, polish their research and writing skills and gain an in-depth understanding of a Senate office.

Interested applicants should submit a resume, cover letter and preferred internship location to Connie Tveidt, intern coordinator, no later than March 15, 2015:

Senator Mike Rounds
Attn: Connie Tveidt
111 W. Capitol St., Suite 210
Pierre, SD 57501

Applications may also be emailed to [email protected].

More information about the internship program can be found at Additional questions can be directed to Connie Tveidt at (605) 224-1450.


Nothing but the drunk and topless back in my little town.

Does this belong under political news… or weird news?  The Buffalo Chip Campground is apparently trying to become it’s own municipality. Why don’t I think it’s not going to ban alcohol sales on Sunday:

Hagg said there currently are 47 eligible voters in the area. State law says qualified voters are either registered voters in the proposed municipality or landowners in the proposed municipality who are also registered voters of this state.

The proposed municipality will cover 600 acres.


So, Buffalo Chip could be a town by this year’s 75th anniversary Sturgis motorcycle rally.

Read it here.

Senator Blake Curd named CEO of Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital

From a Release, it looks as if Doctor and State Senator Blake Curd is taking on new responsibilities:

After conducting a nationwide executive searchled by healthcare leadership solutions firm B. E. Smith, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital (SFSH) in Sioux Falls, S.D., has hired Richard Blake Curd, M.D., as chief executive officer. An orthopedic hand specialist with over 20 years of healthcare experience, Dr. Curd will assume his new duties full-time on March 1, 2015.

“Blake is a visionary and strategic leader with extensive healthcare experience and a strong commitment to delivering high-quality patient care,” said Dr. Peter Looby, chairman of the Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital Management Committee. “Under Blake’s leadership the hospital is positioned to remain the region’s top medical facility.”

Dr. Curd is a partner with Orthopedic Institute in Sioux Falls, S.D, and is a senator for the state of South Dakota. He currently serves as president of Physician Hospitals of America (PHA), chairman of the board for the Surgical Management Professionals and is a board member of Medical Facilities Corporation.

Read it all here.

Mitchell Superintendent writes on the Governor’s proposed education committee. It might be about what spend education dollars on.

Mitchell School Superintendent Joe Graves is writing today in the Mitchell Daily Republic that South Dakota may actually be more competitive in school funding than the education lobby in the state might care to admit – and that part of the solution to teacher pay in the state might be up to schools in how they spend their money:

Yet, today, here I am stuck in the middle on the governor’s recently proposed blue ribbon committee to study the issue of teacher shortages and compensation levels. On the one hand, I view such an endeavor with a cynical eye, wondering if such a political animal is more about finding real solutions to a serious problem or about putting off the pain that such an obvious solution will bring to the political class. What better way to ignore a problem than by studying it one more time, ad infinitum or at least ad nauseam (the latter, quite literally).


State finance officials point out that while teacher compensation may be bottom of the barrel, funding provided to schools compared to other states is significantly more competitive. Which means, if accurate, that either South Dakota schools are spending money on things other than teacher salaries or that we have serious inefficiencies or just alternative choices in our education spending. An example of the former might be transportation, the busing of all those students across wide expanses of our sparsely populated state both to get to school and to the far-flung school district against whose basketball team we are competing. An example of the latter might be the need to pay a teacher and an administrator in a rural school in which class sizes fall below those that could be more efficiently maintained simply because there are no additional students.

Alternatively, there may be other options for increasing average teacher compensation levels other than the straightforward and endlessly offered by educators and their lobbyists: give the schools more so they can pay teachers more.

Read it all here.

I bring it up, as I don’t know those are statistics that we’ve heard much about before – and Graves brings up a valid point. We might very be competitive in what we spend, it’s just going to other expenses, and unable to be spent directly to educators.

And if that’s the case, we might not be excited with the solutions.

Rapid City Journal profiles freshman Republican Legislator Lynne DiSanto

Freshman Republican Legislator Lynne DiSanto is profiled in today’s Rapid City Journal. Here’s an excerpt:

DiSanto said her greatest surprise and a “profound honor” occurred early in the session when she was one of two women asked to speak on a measure urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its decision in Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling upholding a woman’s right to abortion.

“It was a powerful moment for me to be standing in the House speaking on an issue that I feel so passionate about,” DiSanto said. “You really feel in that moment that you have been called to this place. When I sat down I said to myself, `Thank you so much, God, for allowing me to be here and talk about this issue because it really is such a blessing.’”

While grappling with the challenges facing South Dakota — from funding for maintenance and repair of an aging infrastructure, improved education and low teacher pay, and student privacy in a digital world — DiSanto said she had been most impressed with the camaraderie and collegiality of her fellow legislators.

Read it here.