Entries Tagged 'District 13' ↓

Rounds Turns it up a notch

All of sudden, Mikey becomes Mr. Glass half empty;

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Mike Rounds says next year will bring the “worst budget scenario that we have seen,” and he doubts there will be much of an increase in state funding of schools.

But Bill Thompson is ready to set him straight,

Democratic state Rep. Bill Thompson of Sioux Falls, who is on the House education committee, said education is an investment.

“In the House, there are too many people who see education as an expense, and that’s the basic philosophical difference,” he said.

It would make no sense for Rounds to cut education even if the budget is tight, according to Thompson, a retired teacher.

“My question to the governor would be, ‘Is education your No. 1 priority?’ It should be, in terms of economic development and in terms of how much of the state budget that goes toward education,” he said. “Education is not frosting; it’s absolutely crucial and should be the last area for where we look in terms of cuts.”

I’m gonna say it, it is time for the minority Democrats to grow a sack and go after this Governor like pitbulls, without lipstick. Bill has a good start, and he is respected enough to take the bull by the horns.

Do something that actually helps the children of our state.

I would like to congratulate Kevin Killer, Martha Vanderlinde and Scott Heidepriem on their victories last night. They all are good people and will represent our state well. Kevin and Martha are very progressive minded people, and they will bring a fresh and LIBERAL perspective to the State Legislature, which we desperately need.

I would also like to thank all the people who voted NO on 11. It was an unconstitional, intrusive law. The morality police need to let this one drop. If they are concerned about children, I suggest they ADOPT a lower income family in this state and buy their groceries for a year or help serve food at the Banquet. Do something to actually help the disadvantaged kids that already born and alive in our state.

I think about all the good that $3 million dollars spent on both campaigns could have done for  the hungry children in our state, and just makes me shake my head.

I propose two new initiatives for the next election cycle.

1)      Eliminate the food tax (something that actually does more good for ALL the children of the state)

2)      Ban the Unruhs from the legislative/initiative process, or better yet, from the state (and take Janklow with you).


Phyllis Diller Heineman for District 13

After watching Phyllis’ TV commercial I could’nt help wondering if she used the same producer as Scott, her opponent. She seemed to be walking around the same neighborhood talking to the same joyful senior citizens happily doing yardwork and yucking it up. But fancy leather blazer and Mayberry neighborhood aside, there was one line in the TV commercial that worried me, and I am paraphrasing here;

I am the only candidate running in District 13 that will work with our Governor in Pierre.

Well if I was undecided before, that pretty much sealed the deal for me (I already voted for Scott anyway). I didn’t realize people ‘worked with’ our governor. I just thought he did what he wanted and the Republicans rubberstamped it or complained about it to the media after the legislation went through. Marion Rounds doesn’t work with anyone, that is part of the problem in Pierre and if Phyllis is going to be a rubberstamper, thanks but no thanks, we already have enough of them in Pierre.

Q & A with District 13 Senator Scott Heidepriem

I feel if government uses common sense in solving problems they often are solved faster and correctly. Are there any common sense solutions to big problems facing the legislative session this year.

I agree with your premise.  To me, using common sense is the same as street sense, it is what we all possess.  Unfortunately, when some folks get to Pierre they see their role as a partisan in a political process.  That means leaving your street sense behind, and pretending to be like the folks in Washington.  That is unfortunate…there are plenty of opportunities to disagree, what we need to focus on are the opportunities to agree.  My view of the legislative process is probably a little different: I don’t care what party you are a member of, if you have demonstrated that you are trustworthy, and that your heart is in the right place, and you feel passionately about a subject on which I am otherwise indifferent, I will be inclined to support your efforts.  The only way progress occurs is when people put aside petty bickering and look for common ground.

What is your number one priority in this year’s legislative session?

The highest priority this session has got to be education funding.  Before April 10, 2001, SD was last in teacher pay, last in state effort to fund K-12 education, etc.  Then the people went to the polls on that date and approved the Education Enhancement Trust Fund, which now holds nearly $400 million available to revolutionize our education system.  But guess what?  We are still last in teacher pay and state effort to fund K-12.  The only difference is that we now have $400 million in the bank to do something about it.  We simply lack the political will to take the resources and apply them to the problem.

If you become the senate majority leader this year it will obviously give you more leverage in brokering deals with the governor. Do you think he’ll work with you easily or do you think it is going to be an uphill battle? Perhaps a cage match will be in order?

Finally, you mention my being majority leader.  I don’t know that we will take the majority, though I hope so, but I also have to tell you that there are many members of the Democratic caucus who would be exceptional leaders.  No one is indispensable to this process.

I think many citizens of South Dakota were confused about the ethanol blender tax that Governor Rounds proposed. I’m not going to ask you to explain the details of the tax, but I want your view on the issue and what you would have done differently if you were in Mike’s shoes?

The Governor asked the legislature last session to change the law to allow him to charge a tax based on the blend of ethanol.  As things stand now, the blender gets the benefit of the E-85 rate as a part of the blend.  The legislature said “no”.  The Governor said “ok, I’ll do it anyway”.  And that is what he did.  This is one of those areas where I really don’t understand Mike.  The amount of revenue was much less significant than the precedent he has set and reinforced in terms of his relationship with the legislature.

Recently Governor Rounds introduced the open government website, something he vetoed in the last legislative session. Do you think he did this as a ploy to minimize the importance of passing Measure 10? Or do you really believe he supports open government? It just seems to me it was a political move, especially from one of our most secretive governors in the country. Your thoughts?

I won’t doubt the Governor’s motives in the new website, I am just glad to see him do it.  It is clearly a small step in the right direction, and we have to build from there.  Senator Turbak-Berry’s bill from last year provides the best blue print for open government.

Why did you switch your party affiliation? Did you feel sorry for the Democrats in South Dakota?

I changed parties because I felt the GOP, and the right wing, had become indistinguishable. I knew what they were against, I just wasn’t sure what they were for.  That is not to say that the Democratic Party is a model of clarity…it is a party, especially in our state, where the agenda is evolving, and is open to new ideas.  The GOP, in my view, gets more and more closed as time goes by.  I did not like the litmus tests the Republicans applied on social issues and I did not like the attacks on the civil justice system that came mostly from Washington.

Do you think that the rest of the state especially West River think people in Sioux Falls are uppity? What do you see and hear in Pierre? Does Sioux Falls have too much clout in Pierre or do you think we are treated equally? Do you just think they are jealous that we have one the few original duplicates of the Statue of David?

I spent most of my life in Miller, having been born and raised there, educated at USD, then back to Miller to practice law with my Dad for 12 years.  Anyone who knows me knows that I loved my time there.  I honestly do not think folks in towns like Miller think of Sioux Falls people as uppity.  People throughout South Dakota are proud of the progress Sioux Falls has made, and frankly feel like part of the credit is theirs.  The legislature will change profoundly, in my opinion, after the 2010 census.  The folks taking the oath in January of 2013 will be the first urban-dominated legislature in South Dakota’s history.

I find it ironic that Governor Rounds continues to oppose funding education properly but ‘found’ money for the laptop program because he said it was ‘important’. Do you think this was about the ‘kids’ or about making sure a state contract continues with the laptop’s servicer?

Your point about laptops confirms Mike’s view of the legislature, similar to the Blender Pump Tax.  If we don’t conform to his agenda, he simply goes around us.  I do believe the Republicans’ appetite for simply complying with the Governor will be lessened as Governor Rounds enters a lame dock period.

If the abortion ban passes do you think there will be an effort by the more conservative legislators, like Roger Hunt, to strip the exceptions from the law in the legislative session?

I don’t know if Roger will try to strip out the exceptions.

Though I disagree with Senator Gene Abdallah 99.9% of time I did agree that public safety (highway patrol) should be properly funded. Why weren’t Republican lawmakers able to work with the governor on the shortfall of that funding? What happened? What’s your solution? Will we have to read more silly quotes from Gene in the newspaper?

I agreed with Gene completely.

I would also like to remind any other candidates (from any party) running for state office to contact me and I will send you the same list of questions I sent Scott.

Challenge Met – Scott stopped by

I would like to thank Scott for stopping by and talking with me and he did clarify that he does not wear Italian Loafers – Ha, Ha! We had a good talk and Scott seemed confident that the Dems will have the majority in the State Senate this year – good news, lets keep our fingers crossed!

I will also give him credit because it is hard to find my house, ask any of my friends. I live on a street that is only 4 blocks long and dead end on either side so it’s not easy to find.

I applauded Scott for meeting with a political satirist blogger, I think I said “Most politicians are afraid of me, just ask the mayor.”