Candidate Profile: John Mogen for District 10 House

One of the new candidates running for the State House of Representatives this year isn’t truly a new candidate, as he has run in the past. But the time might be right for this tremendously busy man who was recently recognized for his contributions to music and education in South Dakota.

John Mogen had previously ran for State House in District 13 in 2008, when the districts were configured much differently, coming in third in his House race when Democras had swept the District. A little older, and a little wiser, this long-time musician and retired teacher is giving it another go. I’ve had the pleasure of talking with John – when you can catch him sitting still. He’s constantly in motion and out in the Sioux Falls Community.

What’s he busy doing?  Much of it has to with the arts and music community in Sioux Falls. Indeed, he’s found all over the state.

Most recently Mogen was recognized and inducted into the South Dakota Rock & Roll Hall of fame for the second time. Originally inducted in 2018 as part of the group “Mogen’s Heroes” after 40 years of consecutive playing, 2022 found John Mogen indicted individually in 2022 for lifetime achievement. As noted in the biography for his induction:

It was while teaching elementary vocal music in Parkston, South Dakota, that rock and roll played a bigger part in his life. He and Bob Carlson, Dan Hills, and Joel Wudel formed Spur of the Moment. That put the bug to play music full-time in his head. John joined the Upson Downs, a Las Vegas-style show band, in late 1975. That group included Terry Klein, Rusty Davis, Kevin King, and Gary Swanson. They toured the Midwest, playing nightclubs and bars. Mogen decided that eating restaurant food and staying in motels wasn’t the greatest life, so he returned to teaching music in Lennox, South Dakota, in the fall 1977.


Mogen taught vocal music in South Dakota for 34 years (including 22 years at Patrick Henry Middle School in Sioux Falls) and has taught hundreds of piano students. He loves composing piano pieces for them to play. His radio jingles have won several Addy awards. He has been sought after as a clinician and as an adjudicator. His choral compositions have been performed by the University of Sioux Falls Concert Choir, Sioux Falls Master Singers, and Madison Master Singers. He has been honored to play piano for two U.S. Presidents. Leading worship at several churches has been an important part of his musical and spiritual life.

Read that all here.

While all of this is going on, John found himself running again for the State Legislature, this time for State House in District 10.

As noted in his campaign, Mogen is running as a candidate concerned about people, and supporting education and teacher salaries in the state, recognizing how education contributes to economic development:

“As a lifelong educator, I have invested in the lives of thousands of Sioux Falls students. Teachers are critical to the education of our children and they should be properly rewarded. I will work diligently on funding competitive salaries for dedicated educators. Education at all levels is key to driving our states continued economic development.”

”It is our duty to keep the youth in our state by maintaining and developing our universities, colleges, and technical schools. I will work to advance higher education throughout South Dakota.”

So far, 2022 has been bright and active for John professionally. With a new District seating two new House members, it may also translate into a win for for this genuinely good guy.

On November 8, keep John Mogen in your thoughts for District 10.


Thune, Ernst Introduce Bill to Prohibit Government Monitoring of Livestock Emissions, Block Radical Climate Policies

Thune, Ernst Introduce Bill to Prohibit Government Monitoring of Livestock Emissions, Block Radical Climate Policies
Senators’ legislation would safeguard livestock producers from overreaching methane monitoring

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today introduced a bill that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from monitoring methane emissions from livestock. Specifically, this legislation would prohibit the EPA from using any of the new methane monitoring funding provided in the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending spree to surveil livestock methane emissions in South Dakota, Iowa, or anywhere else in the country.

“Farmers and ranchers – the people who work tirelessly to help feed America and the world – should not be subject to government surveillance as part of a broader effort to implement radical climate policies that would threaten their ability to operate,” said Thune. “This common-sense legislation would protect South Dakota livestock producers and their operations from government snooping.”

“Democrats are seeking to weaponize the EPA against our farmers by spying on their operations. I’m not going to let that happen on my watch!” said Ernst. “With this effort, I’m fighting to protect Iowa’s livestock producers from the Left’s radical climate agenda and costly government overreach that will only fuel higher food costs and more reckless spending in Washington.”

Thune recently spoke at a Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing about his related bill, the Livestock Regulatory Protection Act. Thune’s legislation would prohibit the EPA from issuing permits related to livestock emissions. Specifically, the bill would amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit the EPA from issuing permits for any carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, water vapor, or methane emissions resulting from biological processes associated with livestock production.


Michael Moore Announces for Circuit Court Judge

Michael Moore Announces for Circuit Court Judge

Huron, SD — Michael Moore, Beadle County State’s Attorney, has announced his candidacy for Circuit Court Judge for the Third Circuit, Position E. Moore currently serves as Beadle County State’s Attorney, to which he was first elected in 1997.

“My experience as an elected State’s Attorney making decisions daily that impact individual liberties and rights has uniquely prepared me to be a Judge,” said Moore. “In making decisions, I work hard to ensure they are fair and consistent. I consider all the facts, the interests of society, and an individual’s constitutional rights. As a prosecutor, I have an ethical obligation to see that justice is served. I strive to do this in every part of my practice.”

Circuit Judges are elected every eight years. The State of South Dakota has 7 Judicial Circuits. Moore is running for Judge in the Third Judicial Circuit, which includes 14 counties: Hand, Jerauld, Beadle, Sanborn, Clark, Kingsbury, Minor, Grant, Codington, Deuel, Hamlin, Brookings, Lake, and Moody. The Third Circuit has 6 Circuit Court Judges and 2 Magistrate Judges. The Circuit Judges are each designated a position A – F. Moore is running for position E.

“I have dedicated my life to public service. I am honored to have served the people of Beadle County since 1994. Every day I am grateful for the responsibility the people have given me, and I work hard to meet their expectations,” said Moore.

Moore was selected as South Dakota Prosecutor of the Year in 2010 by the South Dakota State’s Attorney Association. In 2012, the SD Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee honored Moore as the Prosecutor of the Year.

Additionally, Moore has extensive experience in legal writing and research, including preparing several South Dakota Supreme Court briefs and presenting oral arguments before the SD Supreme Court.

“Based on my experience, I have gained valuable respect for the law, specifically the rule of law,” said Moore.

In 2014 Moore was elected President of the National District Attorney’s Association, an organization with nationwide membership representing over 2500 elected and 40,000 active prosecutors. Moore was the first ever President of NDAA from the State of South Dakota. Moore is also an active member of the American Bar Association, where he was elected to serve on the Criminal Justice Section Council. According to Moore, “People who know me professionally know that I am open, honest, and transparent. I have always been open and willing to discuss my reasoning with the parties involved in the case. I work for the people of South Dakota, and I am accountable to each one of them.”

Due to Moore’s extensive prosecutorial experience, he has presented at numerous training events in both South Dakota and nationally.

“I am excited about this opportunity to continue to serve the people of South Dakota as a Circuit Court Judge,” said Moore. “I invite you to review my background and qualifications that have prepared me to serve our state as Judge. I would appreciate your vote on November 8, 2022.”


Governor Noem Successfully Treated for Back Injury at Mayo Clinic 

Governor Noem Successfully Treated for Back Injury at Mayo Clinic

PIERRE, S.D. – Today Governor Kristi Noem announced that following several weeks of medical treatment in South Dakota for a back injury, the Governor underwent successful back surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Her treating surgeon, Dr. Mohamad Bydon, described the treatment: “Governor Noem developed an acute condition impacting her lumbar spine. She underwent successful surgery and is well on her way to a full recovery. The Governor is in excellent health.”

Dr. Bydon is a neurosurgeon at Mayo Clinic and the Charles B. and Ann L. Johnson Professor of Neurosurgery.

“Surgery was successful, and I am thankful that I am on the road to making a full recovery,” said Governor Noem. “As part of that recovery, I have to abide by certain limitations on my activity in order to allow my back to heal properly. In the short term, this will include amount of standing I can do and the amount of travel that I can partake in around our great state.  I am grateful for the doctors’ and nurses’ steady hands – and God’s grace – as I am now back home in Pierre and on the mend.”

“I will continue to carry out my duties as your governor. I’ve always strived to be a hands-on governor, who works directly alongside all of you to make South Dakota the greatest and freest state in the nation,” Governor Noem continued.  “We will continue working towards that goal together. I ask for your continued prayers and hope to see you all soon.”


Gov. Noem and Colleagues Oppose Student Debt Forgiveness Plan

Gov. Noem and Colleagues Oppose Student Debt Forgiveness Plan

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem and 21 of her fellow Republican governors sent a letter to President Biden saying they oppose his plan to forgive students their federal loans, saying that debt would then have to be paid for by taxpayers. You can read the letter here.

“Only 16-17 percent of Americans have federal student loan debt, and yet, your plan will require their debts to be redistributed and paid by the vast majority of taxpayers,” wrote Governor Noem and her colleagues. “Shifting the burden of the debt from the wealthy to the working Americans has a regressive impact that harms lower income families.”

The governors in their letter questioned whether the President had the actual authority to forgive such loans. They also said the President’s plan is bad economic policy given the current high rate of inflation and that it also takes away the need for personal responsibility.

“College may not be the right decision for every American, but for the students who took out the loans, it was their decisions: able adults and willing borrowers who knowingly agreed to the terms of the loan and consented to taking on debt in exchange for taking classes,” continued Governor Noem and the other Governors. “A high-cost degree is not the key to unlocking the American Dream – hard work and personal responsibility is.”

Governor Noem was joined by the following Republican governors in issuing the statement: Iowa Governor, Kim Reynolds, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Idaho Governor Brad Little, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Utah Governor Spencer Cox, and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.


Candidate Profile: Ralph Lyon for District 28A State House

I had the opportunity to meet Ralph Lyon a few weeks back, and it was like old home day in South Dakota politics. The son of storied West River legislator Red Lyon, when we spoke, he noted he was brother to PUC Commissioner Laska Schoenfelder, which brought back a lot of memories of painting blue and white 4×8’s in a shed in downtown Pierre in 1988 for Laska’s upset campaign that took Democrat Dennis Eisnach out of office, and placed her there for 12 years.

It might be Ralph’s first run for the State Legislature, but he’s no stranger to politics, as you can read according to his website:

Ralph Lyon is a Republican candidate for the State House of Representatives in District 28A, which includes Corson, Dewey, Ziebach, and Eastern and South Perkins counties. When electing Ralph, the constituency will be sending a representative to Pierre that brings both a strong voice and influence within the majority party. His commitment and intentions are to ensure the voices of his constituents are represented and deliver measurable results back to the district.

A first-time candidate for the South Dakota Legislature, Ralph is no stranger to the service of the state. He served 17 years as a County Commissioner for Ziebach County and four years on the South Dakota Association for County Commissioners, where he served as President of the Association.


When elected, Ralph will work closely with his constituents and dedicate his resources, experience, and energy to act as a devoted liaison committed to driving legislation and public policy. He will not only uphold his civic responsibilities but push the agenda of the people – Ralph has lived in the community long enough to understand some of the needs and recognizes the evolution of what those look like over time, and has no interest in making promises that he knows he can’t keep.

Ralph seeks to protect and preserve historic assets while influencing necessary economic development and community revitalization. He not only believes but lives by the core values of demonstrating a strong work ethic, fairness, community, and respect. By incorporating these values, Ralph hopes to contribute to his community and influence it in a way that will last for generations.

While ranching is a large part of his legacy, Ralph’s commitment to public service also runs in his family. His father, N.F. “Red” Lyon served in the South Dakota legislature for 20 years, and his oldest sister Laska Schoenfelder served as a Public Service Utilities Commissioner for over a decade.

Ralph values family above all else, and he can draw on the grit, determination, and diligence he learned in his upbringing to instill and influence perseverance and tenacity in his family. He and his wife, Shari, have been married for 48 years and share two children – daughter, Tobi, and son, Jade, as well as daughter-in-law, Bryna, and grandchildren, Waycie and Rye. His son, Jade, works alongside his father to manage the operational aspects of the cattle ranch and carry on the family legacy of hard work and dedication to western South Dakota.

You can find out more about Ralph, and donate to his campaign here at

Gay candidate says LGBTQ candidates need to be elected in SD so the transgendered can play on female sports teams.

There’s an article on political website “the Hill” website in the last couple of days where District 10 Democrat legislative candidate Kameron Nelson is declaring that South Dakota needs LGBTQ candidates elected to Pierre to stop the state from barring men playing on women’s sports teams.

Some of those bills, including measures in Louisiana and South Dakota barring transgender women and girls from playing on female sports teams, have already become law.

“Unfortunately, that’s not going to change until we have representation,” Kameron Nelson, an openly gay man running for a seat in the South Dakota House, told Changing America.

Nelson, 32, a Democrat and South Dakota native, said conservative elected officials in the state have for years been embracing anti-LGBTQ+ policies as a way to ignite their base.

Read it all here.

The problem with Nelson’s argument is that when you start making a campaign about one’s sexual preference, and claiming that electing someone on that basis is going to affect legislation, one really has nothing to do with the other. And it certainly didn’t when the South Dakota legislature previously had someone providing LGBTQ Representation.

In 2013, Democrat State Senator (at the tIme) Angie Buhl O’Donnell came out and declared that she was “first openly LGBT person elected to any office in the state.”  During her tenure, back in 2015 and 2016, is when South Dakota began digging into legislative intervention in addressing how the High School Activities Association should handle boys wanting to play in girls sports.  The measure passed both houses, only to be vetoed by Governor Daugaard because it “did not address any pressing issue concerning the school districts of South Dakota.”

Literally, the passage of the bill through both houses, as well as the Governor’s veto, really had nothing to do with whether someone in the Senate was LGBTQ, versus the Governor making his own decision, and not believing it needed to rise to the level of legislation.

That’s one of the problem with campaigning based on identity politics. Reality doesn’t always follow political posturing.

21 years later, remembering 9/11, and some of the lessons that might be good to remember.

21 years later, remembering 9/11

9/11 is always an odd day for me, as in the midst of remembering one of the nation’s greatest tragedies as one of the few times that our country had been attacked on our own soil, it shares a date with my oldest son’s birth.

A son who is taking a day off from serving our country in the US Navy to enjoy an afternoon of being “of age” in an Irish Pub in Norfolk.  I’m glad to hear him enjoying himself, as it should be a good day for him,  with nothing to look forward to but a future of service and hope.

Because 21 years ago, we were a nation in shock, not knowing what was going to happen next. Our center of trade in New York City was under attack. Our nation’s Capitol City was under attack, and another plane was downed in the midst of another attack.  Yet, for me, it was a time of happiness as much as shock, as I witnessed the birth of my eldest son For me, the story of his birth is forever connected to that day of tragedy, as I repeat this column that I first wrote many years ago.


My kids were at school or at daycare, and my father, who was out of town was expected home that day from visiting a brother and sister in New Jersey. He was to going to be on a flight in the morning out of the Newark, N.J. airport, into Minneapolis. My mother, who had doted on her granddaughters, had passed away the previous November, and this was to be the first child born into the family that she would not see.

As my wife lay there having contractions, I walked out into the hallway where I noticed some floor nurses paying unusual attention to the television. They seemed awestruck, and as I walked over they noted that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers. It seemed a horrific accident until shortly after when another jet crashed into the other tower.

It was unheard of in nearly any of our lifetimes, and every medical professional on the hospital floor was abuzz with what was going on. On television, it quickly escalated when reports were coming in from all over of other possible planes being hijacked, and there wasn’t a soul who wasn’t glued to the television.

The military was on high alert, and planes were being grounded and there wasn’t a second of television that was not fully enveloped with the news. I had some troubled thoughts since my father was also to be flying that day, but my primary concern was for my wife.

I would bounce from attending to my wife, and checking updates of the events. I had noted to her a little of what was going on, but wisely she refused to allow the television to be turned on in her hospital suite, and said she didn’t want to know, because she had other business to attend to. And she was moving into more serious labor.

About that time, it was announced that yet another plane had been flown into a section of the Pentagon. Clearly, our nation was under attack, and there was worry written on everyone’s face.  The OB doctors came into the birthing suite and attended to my wife as professionally as could be, despite the distraction of the historic events of the moment. And all staff was in place as my wife gave birth.

After relatively short session of pushing, the baby was born. As my wife had previously given birth to four girls, a cheer went up from the staff as the Doctor announced that my wife had given birth to a boy. She held her first son in her arms for a moment, and the doctors took care of the rest of the business involved in childbirth.

It was a boy! While I love my daughters unquestioningly, and they give me great pride, I’d always longed for a son.

My son was as healthy as could be, and his mother was also doing exceptionally well. As things settled down, and as my exhausted wife began to recover, we turned on the television and discovered that the World Trade Center Towers had fallen. And we also heard the news of a plane out of the Newark Airport that was hijacked had crashed in Pennsylvania.

About that time, I had a call on my cell phone from my father who was noting the absolute pandemonium at the Newark Airport, and his good fortune to get a rental car to travel back to his sisters’. He was safe, and pleased at the news of the birth of his first grandson.

As I got off the phone and the television news recounted and repeated the tragic events of the morning, a lullaby played over the speakers in the hospital. A lullaby. At St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre, after the birth of a child it has been their tradition for a number of years to play a lullaby to announce the joyful event.

It was a bit surreal. Amidst all of the pain and carnage of the day, a lullaby announcing the birth of a child.

For a while, I sat with my wife, and then I’d go back and check on my son. I’d do this for a while, alternating between my two family members. After an hour or so, there was another lullaby played over the hospital. And I believe I heard another one a couple of hours after that.

The thing that struck me about that day, with my son being born between the time the Pentagon was hit, and the twin towers came down was this: Hope is eternal.

And it’s an appropriate thought on this day when we remember when so many people died. It’s appropriate on a day when soldiers are fighting and dying for the right of a country to be free. It’s appropriate to remember on a day when we are only starting to count our dead countrymen struck down from a tragic natural disaster. (At the time this was written, the hurricane had just hit New Orleans – pp)

No matter how bad things seem, they will be better. The lullabies playing a duet with the television newscasts taught me that. So has my son.  Hope is eternal. Please remember that and offer your thoughts, prayers, and moral support today for the casualties of 9/11 and our soldiers.


21 years later, the lesson we should be taking from 9/11 is that no matter how divided we can be, there are times we can come together as a country to support our fellow man. 

That lesson seems to be something that’s been moved to the back of our collective psyche as at times we spend more time bickering than remembering we are one country, and there are far worse enemies than someone across town, down the street, or even next door that we might disagree with over politics.

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: A Slap in the Face

A Slap in the Face
By Sen. John Thune

On August 24, eight days after signing the so-called Inflation Reduction Act into law, President Biden announced that with a stroke of his pen, he would authorize a student loan giveaway of up to $10,000 in qualifying student loan debt for most borrowers and up to $20,000 for borrowers who received Pell Grants. Eight days. That’s how long it took President Biden to completely erase any of the supposed deficit reduction included in Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act.

I want to be very clear about this: Despite what the president and other Democrats might say, not one penny of debt is being “canceled” or “forgiven.” This debt is being transferred from the 13 percent of the country with student loan debt to the 87 percent of the country that does not have student debt. It’s a slap in the face and blatantly unfair to expect Americans who either never went to college, paid off their loans, or paid their way through college to shoulder the cost of other Americans’ loans that they agreed to pay back. What about all the parents who scrimped and saved to send their children to college, or the students who chose a lower-cost college or worked to put themselves through? Not to mention the men and women in the military who fought for this country and earned money for their college education.

The president’s plan isn’t even targeted to the people who need it most. Families making $250,000 – nearly four times as much as the average household – will now be eligible to have their obligation to repay student loans erased. Instead of focusing on ways to control the rising cost of college education, President Biden’s decision will provide a disincentive for colleges to lower costs for students, and it will likely encourage students to incur even more debt, since he has now set up an expectation that the government will step in and write a check. Also, given the fact that student loan debt is expected to be back to its current level in six years, I imagine we will be hearing more Democrat calls for student loan “forgiveness” in the very near future.

Our country is in the middle of the highest inflationary period in four decades, and families are already struggling with high grocery bills, high energy bills, and high rent prices – largely because of Democrats’ big-government, big-spending agenda. Instead of focusing on policies that would help lower inflation for American families, President Biden instead chose to pursue policies, like the unprecedented bailout of student loan debt, in order to appease the radical wing of the Democrat Party. To add insult to injury, according to the Penn Wharton Budget Model, this bailout could cost taxpayers more than $1 trillion over the next decade, which would only pour gasoline on the inflationary fire.

While President Biden’s reckless student loan plan may buy him a vote or two, a lot of other Americans may decide that they’ve had their fill of inflationary spending, soaring prices, and far-left appeasement.