Governor Daugaard’s Weekly Column: Caring For Those Who Have Borne The Battle

Caring For Those Who Have Borne The Battle
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

daugaard2Last year at this time, the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs launched Operation Reaching All Veterans. Seeking new ways to assist those who have served, the Department began an unprecedented effort to reach out to veterans all across the state.

Historically, American veterans haven’t always received the kind of support they deserve. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress did not have the authority or the money to pay soldiers, so payment was left to the states. Though General Washington and many of the Founders stressed the importance of justly compensating those fighting for liberty, the states just weren’t able to afford it. Only 3,000 out of the 200,000 who served in the war actually drew a pension.

By the time the Civil War began, a federal veteran pension system was in place, and by the end of the war – at the urging of Abraham Lincoln – veterans’ hospitals were opened.

We’ve come a long way since then. But even with all of our progress, there’s still more to do. As Lincoln put it in his second inaugural address, we must always strive to “care for him who shall have borne the battle.”

Today we have a new generation to care for. Since 9/11, each of South Dakota’s 22 National Guard communities has experienced a unit mobilization in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn and Noble Eagle. To date, the South Dakota National Guard has deployed more than 7,200 Soldiers and Airmen in support of the Global War on Terror. Thankfully, for the first time in more than a decade, none of our National Guard soldiers or airmen are currently deployed overseas.

With a new generation of veterans to serve, the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs launched Operation Reaching All Veterans last January with the goal of reaching out to every single veteran in South Dakota. This campaign was a first for the Department and a first in the nation.  Their objectives were to educate veterans and their families about benefits, programs and services; to listen to concerns, provide key contacts to assist on a local level; and, most importantly, to say “thank you.”

The Department anticipates that there are 75,000 veterans living in South Dakota. Over the last year, staff and veterans service officers estimate they have already made contact with about two-thirds of those veterans by making phone calls, staffing a booth at the Capitol and holding 153 open houses in 63 counties. One veterans’ service officer, Tom Sparrow of Turner County, personally contacted over 11,000 veterans.

Larry Zimmerman, South Dakota Secretary of Veterans Affairs, says that this was just Phase I. Phase II will involve trying to reach those that they couldn’t reach by phone.

I know there is no way to fully repay our veterans for all they have sacrificed to protect our freedom. They left the comfort of their homes and the embraces of their loved ones to put their lives on the line for us. Still, I believe Operation Reaching All Veterans is making a difference, and it’s one step toward repaying just a small part of the debt we owe to those who have borne the battle.


Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Beating Heart Disease

Beating Heart Disease
By Rep. Kristi Noem
January 30, 2015

kristi noem headshot May 21 2014A few weeks ago, a friend of mine suffered a heart attack.  Thankfully, he received the medical attention he needed in time and is now recovering at home, but the whole experience was extremely sobering and made me hug my family a bit closer that night.

Each year, 720,000 Americans have a heart attack.  While many think about heart disease as something that primarily impacts older men, about half of heart attacks are suffered by women and 35,000 a year impact individuals who are under 55.  But while anyone can develop heart disease, those who smoke, have diabetes, are overweight, eat poorly, or don’t get enough exercise are at a greater risk.

Regardless of age or gender, the most common symptom of heart disease is chest pain or discomfort.  Sometimes this pain is sudden and intense, but in most cases, it starts slowly.  Women may also experience a shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain – although men can display these symptoms as well.

Acting quickly if any of these symptoms occur is critical.  The American Heart Association recommends waiting no longer than five minutes before calling 911.

The best treatment, however, is prevention.  Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure.  Have your glucose levels checked regularly.  Kick the smoking habit.  Get up and get active.  Experts say improving your health could take as little as a ten-minute walk, three times a day.

We’ve learned a lot about heart disease – especially as it relates to the disease’s impact on women – over the last decade or so.  That knowledge is saving lives.  Between 2000 and 2010, the rates of death for heart disease fell by an average of 3.8 percent annually.  While advances have been made, far too many lives are lost every year to the disease.

February is American Heart Month.  I encourage you to do something today to reduce your risk.  Take a walk.  Dish up some extra vegetables.  Schedule a doctor’s appointment.  Quit smoking.  Take control and make just one change.


Still light posting, and a computer in pieces.

FullSizeRender I still anticipate slow/light posting here at the SDWC for another few days with my computer on the fritz, as you can see in the picture to the left a multitude of disconnected hard drives, as I try to limp it along enough to do some basic posting.

I think I managed to salvage all of my design work files, but more importantly I salvaged about 275 gigabytes and over ten years of photos off of the drive giving me the most trouble.

So, bear with me. Parts start arriving tomorrow for a rebuild and upgrade, so I should be back up to 100% in short order.   (Just in time to do my taxes. )

Cook Political report updates Congressional baseline analysis: Noem can likely hold this seat as long as she wants.

The Cook political report (Subscription required) recently updates their baseline analysis for several states including South Dakota. And what they had to say shouldn’t come to any shock for SDWC readers.

Because Congresswoman Noem is not going anywhere anytime soon, and is ranked as Solid Republican:

SD-AL: Kristi Noem (R) – Entire state

Solid Republican. After skilled Blue Dog Democrat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin held this seat for six years, Republicans finally caught the break they needed in 2010 when Noem, a state representative with farm roots and appeal, capitalized on a great GOP year to beat Herseth Sandlin 48 percent to 46 percent. Noem wasn’t just an ideal image comparison for Republicans. She developed into a serious and aggressive candidate who proved adept at staying on the offensive, hitting Herseth Sandlin on support from EMILY’s List and her husband’s lobbying role. In a year like 2010, any ties to the inner dealings of Washington were toxic, especially in a small town state like South Dakota.


Democrat Matt Varilek, an energetic 37 year-old former aide to Sen. Tim Johnson, sought to turn Noem’s record on ag issues into the silver bullet he needed to beat Noem in a reliably GOP state. Varilek raised a very respectable $983,000, and earned strong reviews on the stump. But Noem wasn’t about to be caught napping: she raised $2.8 million, contested Democrats’ allegations on her committee attendance, and reclaimed the offense by hitting Varilek for earning environmental degrees abroad (Varilek won a scholarship to attend the University of Glasgow) and for advocating cap and trade in the past. Noem prevailed 57 percent to 43 percent.

In 2014, after passage of a new five-year Farm Bill, Noem finally found her footing, defeating 25-year Army veteran Corinna Robinson 67 percent to 33 percent.


Noem can likely hold this seat as long as she wants.

Read it all here. (Subscription required)

Mitt is out of the 2016 Presidential sweepstakes.

From Fox News:

Mitt Romney announced Friday he will not run for president in 2016, after briefly flirting with a third White House run — a decision that only slightly narrows the crowded field of potential Republican candidates.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it’s best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney told donors on a conference call Friday morning.

Read it here.

Having a bad computer day week, but posting straight from Pierre ahead.

There could be spotty posting ahead, especially in the evenings. I think my “bitter computer” might have bit the dust.

My main computer with all of my software, records, e-mail, etcetera and everything decided to inconveniently die. Just because it really hasn’t been turned off in 2-3 years, and is used day and night is no reason to bite the dust. I usually have power supplies give up the ghost and wear out, which is an easy fix, but I think my motherboard went, and that’s major surgery.

I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that the SDWC mothership is up on blocks at the moment, and I’m posting from iPad & iPhone, and a computer that doesn’t have 1/4 of the resources that my main one does.

Actually, it so happens that I would have been on remote anyway, as I’m going to be on the road to Pierre this next week. I’m coming over for some REALTOR things (Thumbs up for the Chili/Oyster feed), and my wife is getting a nice award for being recognized as the Special Ed Administrator of the year.
Hopefully late next week, the SDWC signal will be back at full capacity. But in the interim I’ll be bringing your daily fix of political coverage straight from out state’s Capital!

AFP South Dakota Statement on Senate Passage of the Keystone Pipeline

AFP South Dakota Statement on Senate Passage of the Keystone Pipeline

President’s Attempt to Stop Keystone Running on Empty

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Americans for Prosperity South Dakota State Director Ben Lee released the following statement upon Senate approval of the Keystone Pipeline:

“We congratulate Senators Thune and Rounds on taking bold action to approve the Keystone Pipeline. After years of delays and obstruction led by President Obama – the Left has finally run out of excuses. The American people have spoken clearly: now is the time to build the Keystone Pipeline. This common sense investment will provide relief for middle-class families, create 42,000 good-paying jobs and provide secure energy for the Nation’s future. We urge the President to put aside partisan differences and swiftly sign this bill into law,” Lee said.

Thune: Following Senate Passage of Keystone XL, All Eyes on the President

Following Senate Passage of Keystone XL, All Eyes on the President

“This is the kind of common-sense legislating the American people hired America’s New Congress to do.”

John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressWASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) issued the following statement on the Senate’s bipartisan passage of a bill that would approve the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline:

“Keystone XL would support thousands of jobs and invest billions of dollars in the economy at no expense to taxpayers. This is the kind of common-sense legislating the American people hired America’s New Congress to do. The president is out of excuses. He should support this project and join Republicans in getting Washington working again for the American people.”


Press Release: Senate Passes Keystone XL Legislation

Senate Passes Keystone XL Legislation

MikeRounds official SenateWASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) voted today to approve legislation authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline. It passed the Senate 62-36.

“The Administration’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is long overdue,” said Rounds. “I’m pleased Congress took matters into its own hands and we were able to come together in a bipartisan manner to finally get this accomplished,” said Rounds. “This project will create jobs for hard-working South Dakotans and free up our railways to get more of our farmers’ grain to market.  It’s a commonsense piece of legislation that the President should sign into law as soon as it hits his desk.”

The Keystone XL pipeline will run through South Dakota and connect with an existing pipeline in Nebraska, carrying nearly 830,000 barrels of crude oil to U.S. refineries along the gulf coast. Rounds is one of 60 cosponsors to the legislation.