Entries Tagged 'South Dakotans' ↓

SD Democratic Party ED confirms it, Elvis has left the building


Wow, I am starting to sound like Pitty Patt more every day, God help me! I got word last week that besides the Chair of the party, there was only one other volunteer at the party office, and only one paid staff, the new ED, Suzie Jones Pranger. The other two paid staffers have left, Pranger confirms it in an email today;

Hello! I am Suzanne Jones Pranger, the new Executive Director of the South Dakota Democratic Party. As we continue to gear up for the 2016 Election, we need your help! The Party is looking to hire two new staff members to help propel us to success on Election Day, but we cannot do this without your support.

The South Dakota Democratic Party is hiring a new Field and Data Director and is planning to expand our staff with the addition of a Communications Director who will interact with the press, produce daily content on social media, spread the Democratic message, and help our candidates win in 2016!
I’m still puzzled how the SD Democratic party is going to rebuild itself with two volunteers and a newly hired Executive Director (who because of her previous Federal job wasn’t involved in the party much over the past couple of years). I will say this, Pranger has a good resume, and Tornberg is a fighter, but you don’t fight a forest fire with 1-gallon pail of water. If there are any Democrats in the state still loyal to the party’s mission, I suggest they join in the fight.
And I am talking about seasoned Democrats, not recent college grads that hop around from job to job to build their resume instead of building the credibility of the party. That has where I have seen the SD Democratic party crumble over the past 5-10 years, paying greenhorns to do the jobs of seasoned politicos, and not making them accountable for their poor results. I would suggest from now on you offer them volunteer positions to prove themselves first before putting them on the payroll.
I’m afraid that 2016 is going to be another disappointing year for the Dems unless they build the party first, from inside out, and stop worrying about petitions and Facebook games.

What will the NEW Executive Director of the SDDP do to build the party?


Besides being unimpressed listening to Suzie Jones Pranger tell us about her resume for 20 minutes at last Friday’s Democratic Forum (her resume is impressive, her speaking and presentation skills are not) She was taken off guard when she was asked very simple questions. I’ll defend her on one front, she had only been on the job for 5 days and probably should not have been thrown into a presentation like this so soon, and the party chair, Ann Tornberg did eventually bail her out.

I wanted to ask Suzie what she would do to get more registered Democrats. James Abourezk beat me to the punch. After himming and hawing for a moment, and pausing, Jim asked again. Suzie said she was going to “pull old lists and start contacting those people” then rambled about Gregory County or something. I left early.

Like I said before, in all fairness, she has only been on the job for 5 days, but she better start educating herself real quick on the reality of party building, because if the Dems continue to lose members at the rate they have been, there may not be a party in SD in a few years.

Three Political Rabble Rousers Unite!


Thanks for the photo Frank!

Open Letter to the Mayor from Prominent Democrats in the State

Don’t ask me how I get these things sent to me, but there is a lot of ‘leakers’ in the state party that have big mouths, how else do you think I got the name of the new ED of the party a day before her ‘big announcement’?

The rumor swirling for several weeks is that the state Dems are fed up with the mayor calling himself a Democrat, when he truly isn’t one. Here are some excerpts from the letter (yet to be sent to Hizzoner);

“Trust us, this isn’t easy to tell you this, but when you recruit Republicans to run for city council and convince the former ED to raise money for them, when you garner most of your campaign donations from Republicans, when you ignore the rising crime rates, when you turn your back on the poor and the handicapped, and when you blatantly ignore the social ills going on in your city and state, you sir, are not a Democrat. Heck, I don’t think you are even a Republican, more of a corporatist that is more concerned about the decisions you make hurting or helping the wallets of your (Republican) friends and your own investments.

Either start acting like a Democrat (in actions, not just in words) or get the Hell out of our state party.”

The letter continues from there basically stating that South DaCola made this whole thing up, but hey, is it that far-fetched? I told several prominent state Dems already they need to apply the Lora Hubbel rule to Hizzoner and give him the boot. While I’m sure there has been some serious consideration, like most things the Dems do in this state (besides initiatives) they have a little trouble pulling the trigger. Maybe if we gave them a 5 foot branch in a grove of trees they could pull it off?

UPDATE: SD Democratic Party’s NEW Executive Director – Suzie Jones Pranger


Suzie and her husband Joel

Not sure when the Dems were going to formally announce their new director, but here she is. She has a law degree from USD.


As Chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party I am pleased to announce that Suzanne Jones Pranger will start as the new Executive Director on Monday, Aug. 3.

Suzie is an attorney with experience in Democratic political campaigns and issues. A proud fifth generation South Dakotan, she will bring political experience, an exceptional work ethic, professionalism and passion for the values of our Party to the ED position.

Suzie graduated with high honors from USD School of Law in May of 2014 where she was the Founding Organizer of USD Law School Democrats. She also holds a Masters of Political Science with American Politics and Public Policy Emphasis (Perfect 4.0 GPA, I might add).  BA (and another 4.0) was also from USD in May of 2011 with Political Science Major and Minor in Business Administration. She was the USD College Democrats President from 2010-2011.

In the summer of 2009, Suzie was a Congressional Intern in Washington DC working for both Sen. Tim Johnson and Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

During the 2010 election cycle, she worked as a campaign headquarters intern for Stephanie Herseth Sandlin where she assisted senior campaign staff with fundraising, media interview prep, volunteer outreach, scheduling, and event planning.

During the 2010 SD Legislative Session, she was a Senate Democrat Intern where she was aid to Senate Minority Leader Scott Heidepriem and Caucus Chair Ben Nesselhuf.  In the 2011 Legislative Session, she returned to Pierre to serve as the Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary.

Suzie volunteered to help with the original YELL (Young Elected Legislative Leader) programs and drafted all the bills and amendments for our high school student program.  She also has experience with the Native Vote Protection program where she oversaw election officials on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in 2012.

In 2014, she was selection as a DNC Hope Institute Fellow. Suzie was one of a total of 40 fellows selected from a nationwide application pool of several hundred to attend the DNC’s comprehensive campaign training program. This intense training emphasized managing national and statewide campaigns, running for office and fundraising.

She has spent the year since graduating from law school clerking for a judge in Sioux Falls.  Her contract expired yesterday, July 31. Because that employment precluded her involvement in politics, we have waited until now to announce our selection. Thanks for your patience and understanding as we awaited this announcement. If you’ve read through all of her qualifications, I hope that you agree with me that she was worth the wait.

I believe that Suzie will be with us for many years to come and that she will serve the Democratic Party as an exceptional Executive Director.


Ann Tornberg, 

Chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party

Are the PayDay lenders attempting to pull a fast one with the help of the tribes in SD?

A little birdy tipped me off this morning that some of the major players in payday lending industry in South Dakota may have found a new angle to skirting the law and proposed interest rate cap; process the loans on tribal land. I was told that early talks have begun.

So how would it work? As it was explained to me, no matter if you are in Sioux Falls, Yankton or Watertown, when you would apply for one of these loans, the lender would send your application off to a loan processing site on tribal (sovereign) land, I’m assuming it would be legal for them to do it electronically. Since the application is being processed and the loan potentially being approved on tribal land, they would not have to follow the rules of the state. It is similar to First Premier setting up shop in South Dakota because of the lax usury laws here, but marketing their predatory card throughout the nation.

If this is true, it is just another step by the payday lenders to skirt law (that hasn’t even passed yet) and to continue to prey on the poor, with the help of our SD tribes.


Seems our state has plenty of money to fund education

So is the Governor and his administrators lying to the public when they say there is no easy solutions to raising teacher pay? The Mercatus Center disagrees;

South Dakota ranks 3rd among US states for its fiscal health, based on its fiscal solvency in five separate categories.

South Dakota’s strong fiscal position in FY 2013 was driven by very high revenues relative to spending and by low levels of debt. The state’s cash position indicates that South Dakota had between five and eight times the amount of cash needed to cover short-term spending in FY 2013. South Dakota’s revenues exceeded expenses. Long-term liabilities accounted for 9 percent of total assets, and the state had excess assets after meeting its debts. Debt levels were among the lowest in the nation at 1.3 percent of state personal income. Under its own accounting assumptions, South Dakota’s pension system was fully funded. However, when calculating the pension liability on a guaranteed-to-be-paid basis, the unfunded liability amounted to $6.7 billion.

After reading this, I thought I may be living in another state and don’t know it. We often hear the constant drum beat from Pierre that ‘the money isn’t there’ not just for education, but we heard it with road funding also. Unless the accountants at the Mercatus center got their wires crossed, it seems the state could afford more money for education, roads and even sending some of their extra revenue to strapped counties so they don’t have to continue to opt-out. So why is the state hoarding money that could be spent? Isn’t that what we pay taxes for? To be spent on programs to help the residents of our great state. If I knew the state was interested in keeping a savings account, I say just reduce my taxes instead, and I will take care of my own savings.

The Mercatus Center also has a fascinating blog.

Referral 69 and 177 have the signatures and are still rolling

The petitioners plan to turn in the signatures next week to Secretary of State Krebs office. As of today (and they are still collecting) Ann Tornberg reported at Democratic Forum that they have 20,000 for the Minimum Wage (69) and 16,800 for the initiative referral (177). Legally 13,871 signatures need to be verified for them to get on the ballot.


donivin u R ridiculice

Been enjoying all the hoopla over the renaming of Harney Peak (I support it by the way) But you gotta love this opponent’s note. My friend Kristi has this saying I often use when I see stuff like this from my fellow human beings, “I wonder how some people get through life?”


Nursing pay in South Dakota ranks 48th in Nation

Should this surprise any of us? Not really, I have had at least two friends leave SD for better pay in nursing. One of them got her pay doubled when she moved to Washington State. I was also told by both of them, working conditions were not the best either in SD (one had worked at both major hospitals and the other worked for a private surgical center).

It seems while we hear places like Trail King get a bad rap for bad pay, and Denny Sanford kicking in $25 million to train better welders, he ought to be paying the nurses better that work for his name stake.

As I said at a recent city council meeting, we don’t have a ‘jobs’ issue in South Dakota, we have a ‘wage’ issue. Teachers and nurses are not the only ones at the bottom of the pay scale in SD.

South Dakota – $50,000 Rank: 48th
Average Registered Nursing salaries for job postings in South Dakota are 25% lower than average Registered Nursing salaries for job postings nationwide. The average salary ranks 48th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Reflectx Staffing, Avera Health, FocusStaff, and Huron South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation Jobs.