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National party vs. state party

It has helped me stay hopeful about South Dakota and about politics that our state government has been relatively accessible to me and is about South Dakota.

Kristi Noem is already showing her role as a puppet to the national party with her last minute Washington strategy attempts to smear her opponent with expensive and skewed daily mailers, tactics we’ve all been complaining about at the national level. I fear that if she were to win she would be a pipeline for the national party to infiltrate at a grandiose degree into the state’s capital. She is already showing how good she is at telling us nothing about what she stands for other than who is behind her, the national party, setting her up to take us over.

Billie Sutton, meanwhile, has chosen a running mate from across the aisle, an unprecedented act of reconciliation and example of civility. Noem’s tactics speak loud and exposingly clear. How exciting it is to have the opportunity to vote for a gubernatorial team like Sutton and Lavallee for South Dakota.

Thomas Thorson

Custer

Dems perpetuate a false history

Politicians always lie but the numbers never do. In the last 100 years Democrats have built the Republican reputation for despising the poor, giving the farm to the rich and every other problem that exists in America.

In the last 100 years, Dems have had control of the Senate for 66 years, a 65-year reign in the Congress, 57 with the House and Senate, and 35 years when they had complete power over the government. Republicans have had 34 years holding the Senate, 35 in Congress, 29 years of both and 16 year with Senate, House and presidency.

So this raises the question: How did the Republicans do so much damage to America with so little control? This has been the greatest disinformation campaign in the history of mankind. From Detroit to Camden, New Jersey, to San Francisco, every Democratic-run city or state has failed. They cannot defend or run on their record. They result to faux attacks to outright slander against their enemies to create a storyline that doesn’t involve you reviewing or asking about that disturbing 100-year record. You can reject failure on Election Day.

Patrick W. Schubert Sr.

Box Elder

Trump earns every bit of bad press

President Trump, the media is not being mean to you. They are doing their job when they report when you lie to us; or when you incite your followers to chant "lock her up;" or when you take action to deny civil rights to transgender people; or when you tell your followers to "beat the crap" out of somebody protesting at your rallies and that you will pay their legal bills for doing so; or when they report you blaming others (almost always Obama or the Dems) for things you don't like even when those are things we like.

What is causing your "bad press?" It is your often very hypocritical behavior and your very bullying behavior you exhibit on a daily basis. The media is reporting, factually I might add, on you. The media would be failing us if they did not report what you are doing.

The U.S. Constitution, which you took an oath to defend, guarantees their right to report on your behavior whether you like it or not; and the citizens of the USA have every right to know what their elected leaders are doing. Our democracy depends on it.

Douglas Erickson

Rapid City

Rossknecht a real Republican?

Did Ron Rossknecht have an epiphany or is he just an outright opportunist? Why the question? According to records held by the Pennington County auditor, Ron Rossknecht became a Republican on Sept. 13, 2017. Shortly thereafter, he announced his candidacy for Pennington County commissioner as a Republican not as a Democrat, which records show was his party of choice in 1988 and again in 2004.

Most everyone knows that running for any elected office in Pennington County as a Democrat is likely to be futile. Rossknecht not only switched from Democrat to Republican but went so far as to call himself a “conservative Republican.” Odds are quite good that Rossknecht is not acquainted with the Republican platform.

Jim Schumacher

Hill City

Ryan Ryder clear choice in District 33

District 33 voters have a clear choice in the Senate race. Ryan Ryder is an experienced attorney and a military veteran. He has the personal ethics be an effective legislator. He will listen to your concerns and weigh the facts when considering legislative issues. He realizes that your tax dollars pay for state government and will not waste these dollars. He supports Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms, and can be trusted to look out for the taxpayers’ interests.

His opponent, Phil Jensen, claims to be conservative but he voted to increase his own legislative salary by 66 percent this past session. Jensen claims to support the Second Amendment but refused military service when he received his draft notice during the Vietnam War, instead claiming conscientious objector status. It is totally hypocritical to refuse military service and then claim to support your gun rights. This is someone who cannot be trusted. He has been in the Legislature for 10 years and it is time for him to go.

Ryan Ryder will be an honest senator in District 33. He will actually listen to your concerns and respond to your questions. Vote Ryan Ryder for a positive change.

Burton Sly

Rapid City

Silence on Trump's actions disappoint

As a longtime registered voter in South Dakota, I believe I have an obligation to protest the implicit endorsement of Donald Trump by our three elected representatives to the U.S. House and Senate. Adolph Hitler was able to take control of Germany through the inactivity and finally the support and endorsement, yes the endorsement, as he began the final horrific murder of his countrymen and women.

Senators Thune and Rounds and Representative Noem have shown a total lack of the sense of the obligations of sworn duty, a complete disregard for the safety of South Dakotans and all citizens of the United States and really all inhabitants of the Earth. Donald Trump is that dangerous and should be denounced immediately. It is completely irresponsible to fail to do so.

Considering the trust the people of South Dakota have in John Thune, it’s shocking to see him stand silently behind Donald Trump, ignoring the racist, misogynistic, derogatory, divisive and hateful rhetoric. What an astounding show of cowardice.

The events of the past week, and really of the past several years, are the direct result of Donald Trump’s normalizing racism, and giving alt-right speech and behavior a semblance of normalcy and legitimacy.

Nyla Knigge

Sturgis

Tim Bjorkman towers over his opponent

There is one candidate that stands head and shoulders above the others in the race for South Dakota's sole congressional seat. That man is Tim Bjorkman. For the last two years, Tim has traveled to 65 of South Dakota's 66 counties making sure that small towns in South Dakota have their voices heard.

For years, politicians have pursued policies that help gain them campaign contributions, not focusing on the people they are representing. That is why Tim is not accepting a dime from PAC's or corporations. This campaign is funded by people like you and me.

Tim is committed to making sure we have the right policies in place for our children. Don't believe me? Check out his website where he has over 10,000 words of where he stands on policy. Tim was a judge who left the bench because he thought that we need true public servants representing us in Congress. I highly encourage you to visit his website, learn about his platform and vote for Tim Bjorkman on Nov. 6.

Douglas W. Miller

Deadwood

Amendment W the solution we need

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Two years ago, the Legislature ignored the voters by repealing IM 22. These elected officials seem to have forgotten that they work for us, not big donors.

Amendment W is the permanent solution we need in order to make sure that South Dakota is led by the will of the people instead of greedy politicians. This isn’t a partisan issue: If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that we need a system that stops lobbyists and big money from controlling our elections and government.

We can no longer let special interests corrupt our Legislature. South Dakotans should support Amendment W to support our democracy.

Rick Stracqualursi

Rapid City

Politicians can't hear; vote yes on W

In 2016, I voted in favor of IM 22 because I believed, with news coverage of the continuing EB-5 and GEAR UP scandals, that our government was either inept or corrupt but, either way, needed fixing. When the Legislature repealed IM 22, I was furious because they decided my vote was unimportant. Now they’re trying to silence voters again with new measures to block ballot initiatives and undermine the will of the people. They instituted an “ethics board,” but it oversees only the executive branch of government. We, the people, wanted an ethics commission that oversaw all of government. Won’t they listen?

Enough is enough. It’s time for the voters of South Dakota to stand up against these politicians and vote to fix our political system. We elected them to represent us, and they clearly don’t get it. Amendment W is our best shot to come together as South Dakotans to hold our politicians accountable, to keep them honest, and I’m ready to make my voice heard once again. Let’s hope that this time they listen.

Karen Hall

Rapid City

Remove those who reversed IM 22

In 2016 the people of South Dakota voted to enact Initiated Measure 22, an anti-corruption law that would create an ethics commission to oversee the Legislature, regulate campaign funding and limit lobbyists' gifts to lawmakers. In 2017, the first and most important piece of business for the South Dakota Legislature was to overturn our vote.

The Legislature is supposed to represent the will of the people. Despite that fact, all of the incumbents on the ballot from Lawrence County and Pennington County voted to override our decision. Our current senators and representatives have decided that they know what's best for us. If we want our Legislature to represent us, we need to vote these people out of office. None of them deserve another term.

Peggy Kvilhaug

Lead

Better solution than Amendment W needed

I appreciate reading and seeing another point of view from the Journal editorial on Constitutional Amendment W. I would like to offer a local elected official perspective as to why to vote no on W. The city council has at the first level its own code of conduct enforced by the city council. The second level of scrutiny is the open meeting laws that keep local government accountable. Lastly we have our oath of office. All of which keep local elected officials accountable to our citizens.

I can't address all the new commission’s functions, but I want to ask: Who are these people accountable to? Who checks them? What accountability does the commission have for the nearly $1 million?

I'm for open and transparent government, but this commission really does not get to the problem. The new commission is an overreach. Let's look for a better solution.

Ritchie Nordstrom

Rapid City

Elect those who can counterbalance Trump

Donald Trump is a president who is a threat to our democracy by alienating historic allies and attempting to build alliances with autocrats and dictators; a denier of climate change and global warming whose EPA has eliminated environmental regulations and whose Interior Department has opened up special and unique places (wilderness areas, national parks, national monuments) to fossil fuel development; a promoter of hate, racism, violence and division through his constant campaigning and appeal to the worst instincts of his political base; a president who fact checkers have said has told over 5,000 lies in less than two years in office; a greedy capitalist who primarily looks out for himself and the 1 percent; a narcissist who puts himself first, takes credit for anything positive and denies his role in anything negative; and according to Washington Post Investigative Reporter Wayne Barrett, was a mentee of disbarred and now deceased attorney Roy Cohn, who early in Trump’s career taught him to “attack, counterattack and never apologize, to demean opponents, to whip up anger among supporters, to insult women and minorities and to despise the IRS and avoid paying taxes.” Vote for candidates to counterbalance this man.

Jerry Meyer

Black Hawk

Vote against Howard in District 33

I’m not fond of taxes. Nevertheless, I understand that as Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Homes said, “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” So when my District 33 Representative Taffy Howard asserted in Saturday’s Journal that “skyrocketing property taxes” is the most important issue facing us, I was dismayed. Taffy preceded her statement by correctly telling us that we need “quality education for our children.”

How does Taffy intend to pay for that? Does she think good schools are free? I was shocked to find out I am represented by someone whose main goal is to save herself some money, to the detriment of our children and society. I will not be voting for Taffy on Nov. 6.

Barbara Wiggin

Rapid City

The facts on water board actions

Several recent articles and letters have been devoid of critical facts. As an engineer who took an oath (order of the engineer) to do public good with my work, I believe facts will lead us to the truth.

Fact: WDWDD sent a letter to the Water Management Board on March 29 requesting a declaratory ruling and received absolutely no feedback. Is that responsible government? Our petition was the next step. Fact: This declaratory ruling we have requested from the Water Management Board affects thousands of property owners in Pennington County – all septic systems installed prior to Feb. 28, 1975, that are functioning properly.

Fact: After sending a petition, we received a letter from an official from S.D. DENR stating “the district will need to be represented by legal counsel.” Fact: On Oct. 9, WDWDD passed a motion: “Hire Chuck Jasper to represent the WDWDD in front of the S.D. Water Board with a cost not to exceed $7,500.” Motion passed 6-3. Fact: WDWDD has funded both DNA and pathogenicity testing of E-coli bacteria in Rapid Creek; reports are on our website. Fact: WDWDD board members scrutinize all expenditures we consider -- tax dollars are your dollars. You should also scrutinize what you read.

Mike Mueller

Rapid City

Clarity on Ferebee and water board

In response to recent letter regarding the West Dakota Water Board, there are several corrections that should be made. First, there is a subgroup that meets Tuesday mornings, and George Ferebee and others, including present board members, discuss West Dakota Water Board business and tune their agendas about what they want to put through. They may not be George’s Ferebee’s minions, but they certainly collaborate with him.

It should also be corrected that the West Dakota Water Board had an attorney of record that was not the attorney hired to represent the water board in Pierre and was in fact Ferebee’s lawyer during most of his wrangle with the Pennington County Commission.

Another item that should be corrected is Denise Livingston’s particular association as administrator for the West Dakota Water Board. She did a very good job but was continually harassed by Ferebee and finally quit after a particularly nasty episode in January of 2014 during the seating of new directors. The company that Livingston worked for was awarded a contract after competing for the work and the subsequent administrator also was awarded a contract, and the present administrator is working by contract awarded through competition, and it is half the amount because the person does a lot less work.

Leon H. Ewert

Piedmont

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