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Stephens, Webster earn school board votes

I attended the forum hosted by SMSM&T debate team on May 17. I was especially impressed with the moderator, a young student with impeccable listening skills and leadership abilities.

Candidates for Pennington County commissioner, county auditor, RCAS School Board, and S.D. Legislature were invited to participate. I commend auditor candidate Cindy Mohler on her grace in handling the personal attacks made by her opponent, James Bialota, Jr.

Most impressive to me was the dialogue with RCAS School Board candidates. Matt Stephens and Mike Webster were articulate, well-versed and held professional standards over personal agenda. Both are products of RCAS and displayed a vested interest in the children of our community. They uphold the integrity of using research-based, best practices to ensure the success of all students. It’s unfortunate that their opponents didn’t attend as I would have liked to hear how they answered the tough questions asked that evening.

I left with confidence and certainty that Matt Stephens and Mike Webster are exactly what RCAS School Board needs and am ready to cast my vote on June 5.

Connie Godfrey

Rapid City

New arena will be generational asset

As a former banker and member of the Civic Center Task Force, there are a couple observations I would like to point out. Representatives of the Citizens for Liberty have pointed out that the bonding to be used to finance the new arena will be a "generational debt." They are correct — that is the way a "generational asset" ought to be funded.

Traditional lending criteria in days gone by called for having a roughly 20 percent down payment on the purchase or construction of real estate. If you were buying or building a $130,000 house, you would need a roughly $25,000 down payment. The proposed new arena will cost roughly $130 million and we will have roughly $25 million for the “down payment” by the time the project is completed. This project is responsibly financed.

The project you will be voting on next month fits Rapid City and the Black Hills, is a facility that brings our Civic Center into the 21st century, is financed the way a real estate project ought to be financed, and is something we can afford. Please, vote “yes” for the Civic Center project on June 5.

Mark Joneson

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Rapid City

Jackley will be a governor who listens

Rep. Kristi Noem said, "We already have 120 boards." Noem believes, according to a May 10 letter to the editor, that "more (citizen advisory) boards mean more tax dollars spent … and bigger government." Really?

My understanding of how citizen advisory boards work is that these boards are comprised of unpaid volunteers who wish to contribute their time, sweat and expertise to their community, because they care and want to make a difference. Bigger government? No. More tax dollars? No. Citizen advisory boards are a good thing. We owe them our gratitude for their selfless service.

Marty Jackley, in his "Hometown South Dakota Initiative," promises he will always listen. In his words: "It is about listening to communities and understanding what I can do as governor to help them grow and thrive. An effective leader must always listen before speaking." Marty knows the difference between big government and the voices of the people. He will make a fine governor.

Barbara Tracy

Rapid City

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