Greetings from flyover country. The Fastest Squirrel has invited me to contribute to his blog, so here is my first post. I live in South Dakota…truly flyover country. I am a veteran and once served as an Infantryman in the cold war days after the end of the Vietnam War. I work in Information Technology and post as “JD.” I wish there was a cool story about why I am JD, like Matt is Blackfive, but JD is simply my initials. I thought that it would be good to pass on what the coming election looks like from out here.
So what is important to the people of South Dakota? Go to the website of our lone member of the House of Representatives, Stephanie Herseth and you will find that she is a member of the Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, and Resources committees. She knows her state and focuses on ranches, farms, hunting, fishing, and veterans. The NRA thinks she is okay. Lots of kids out here join the military. When I walk around work, I see lots of pictures of kids in uniform. I see kids in blue Air Force Uniforms. I see a picture of a kid in desert camo with a SAW slung over his shoulder in front of palm trees. But it is not just kids, the Air Guard from Sioux Falls is deployed to Iraq. One of my coworkers went with them. Congresswoman Stephanie has a good record with vets.
Anyway, Stephanie is a Democrat. She is being opposed by a Republican named Bruce Whalen. Bruce is a political newcomer, an American Indian who has spent ten years in the Army National Guard. Stephanie is running a good campaign. Bruce is running a low key campaign. For a while the link to his web site from the state GOP website had the url to his website misspelled. Stephanie has a good record sponsoring and co-sponsoring legislation on Agriculture and Veterans affairs. She has also expressed support for Nancy Pelosi for speaker. She supports her state(which is very conservative), but she also supports Democratic Party initiatives. I can’t help but wonder if the House goes Democratic and starts anti-military foolishness like refusing to fund certain military operations, what will Stephanie do? And this is a big question for all politicians, but particularly Democrats, do you do a good job of supporting your state only to turn your back on National Security?
I think that it would be cool to have an American Indian that had served in the Army Guard for our Representative, but he is certainly an underdog and I have no way of guessing at the sort of voter turnout he may inspire on the reservations here.
Ballot initiatives are a big deal out here, too. This will probably draw more people to the polls. Up for a vote are: a ban on abortions (note: there is only one abortion clinic in the state), at tax on cigarettes, a repeal of the tax on cell phones, a proposal to repeal the video poker lottery(4th try), and a judicial accountability law that would allow people to sue judges(this appears to be aimed at controlling activist judges, possibly a test for similar legislation in other states).
So, as the election approaches here in South Dakota our Representative to the House is saying all the right things about local issues. We also have the prospect of a Democratic takeover in the House of Representatives as a possibility and we don’t know if our Democratic Representative will support House initiatives that go contrary to what we believe is the best thing to do. This shadows a national question. If the Democrats have the right answers on many local issues, but are completely wrong on a big one like National Security what do you do? It seems to me that if you don’t do National Security correctly, then the local issues won’t matter.