Education secretary, GOP failed state

You would hope that if government officials in Pierre saw a house on fire they would at least call the fire department. However, Education Secretary Melody Schopp failed the test. The “fire” was the Gear Up program financial thievery. We now have learned that she was told as early as 2011 that the program had financial irregularities. She took no action until August 2015 when she finally cancelled the state’s contract with Gear Up. But it was too late. Scott Westerhuis, whom the authorities have now determined embezzled over a million dollars, apparently decided that he was not going to “face the music” and murdered his wife and four kids and committed suicide.

Melody Schopp failed to take action when she should have. Why? I would guess because it was a “Republican” matter. Republicans are loath to report on fellow Republicans doing bad things. In fact, in the final report from the Legislature, five Republicans on the Legislature’s Government Audit committee voted not to include the sentence stating that Department of Education leaders “disregarded” employees’ warnings about financial wrongdoing at Gear Up.

If you think this is disgraceful politics, start thinking about voting out the Republicans in 2018.

Reed Richards

Spearfish

America needs to agree on something

How many ways can our country be divided? There are big splits like between the political parties all the way down to smaller divisions such as driving age in different states.

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Sure, debating on what age gets you behind the wheel seems like a minute issue, but it stands for much more than what's on the surface; it signifies how many ways the "United States" can seem more like the "Divided States." In South Dakota, you can man a vehicle at 14. In Nevada, that age is 15-and-a-half. In Indiana, without driver's education enrollment, one must be 16 before going behind the wheel. These age differences aren't significant, but what makes a S.D. teen safer than that of Indiana? State lines, religious views, driving age — the United States faces divisions upon divisions. If we can't agree on permit age throughout our 50 states, how are we ever going to agree on bigger concerns such as abortion, the death penalty or who's president of this country?

Being opinionated isn't a bad thing, but there has to be some agreement.

Kasey Savoy

Rapid City

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