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YOURS: SD has great Democratic tradition

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Recently, the Rapid City Journal Editorial page recognized a Rapid City person as being a great silent leader in the community. I agreed with this assessment as he truly lived out the lessons from Matthew 25, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc. One glowing tribute left out was the fact that he promoted Democrats, Sen. Tom Daschle, Sen. Billie Sutton and Democratic causes.

Democrats have long taken a leadership role out here in Western South Dakota. You only have to look at people like Ted Hustead and his spouse, who founded Wall Drug. They were strong Democrats. How about the founders of Reptile Gardens, Earl Brockelsby and his spouse? He wrote a huge check to George McGovern and this kept George’s political aspirations going. Yes, that was Sen. George McGovern, who was a leading Democrat in this state from 1956-1980. He also was the Democratic nominee for president in 1972. As Democrat, I am so proud of him and Eleanor.

Then, there was Sen. James Abourezk, a Democratic senator from western South Dakota, who lit up politics in D.C. during his tenure.

Or how about Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat. Tim was responsible for millions of dollars worth of Ellsworth improvements. No, Sen. Thune worked hard on Ellsworth,

but it took senators Johnson, Daschle, and Rep. Herseth to save Ellsworth as it did many Republican leaders.

Oh, yes, during the ‘70s, we had three-term Democratic Gov. Richard Kneip. We also had a Democratic-controlled state Senate and were about even in the House. As a result of

that, many economists agreed that period of South Dakota history to be the best economic times the state has ever experienced. The early ‘90s were not too shabby either, as Democrats

controlled the state Senate and were a few legislators shy of controlling the House.

To the new editor of the Journal who decries the fact of 23 or so Democratic presidential hopefuls, I refer you to 1978 when eight Democrats were running for Congress here in western South Dakota with another four Democrats thinking about it. Yes, 12 leading Democrats seeking the congressional seat out here in western South Dakota.

In a couple of months we will honor Sen. Tim Johnson and his wife, as Sen. Johnson will be installed in the South Dakota Hall of Fame. Oh, yes, this is the Democrat that defeated two of the top Republican leaders in the state and went on to bring the beacon back to South Dakota.

I could go on, Mr. Editor, but I do welcome you to the state of Democrats, Republicans and independents. I also challenge you to support all three parties as without them, western South Dakota will never achieve full economic independence and development, but will continue to be dependent on the federal government for economic progress. Oh, yes, please rent and don’t buy. Editors come and go out here in the West.

Bill Walsh is a member of the National Democratic Committee and a resident of Deadwood.

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