You’d think unchecked power would have more appeal. Senate Majority Leader Tim Rave (R-25/Baltic) and Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dan Lederman (R-16/Dakota Dunes) commanded a Republican supermajority in the Legislature, theirs to corral into all manner of anti-democratic, corporate-colonizing policies. Neither faced unruly Democratic House counterparts from their home districts.
Yet they give all that up. Lederman does it to make up for family failures, Rave to get a big promotion in the health-industrial complex that rules Sioux Falls. Rave may actually be stepping up in power as VP for public policy at Sanford Health.
The departure of arguably our two most powerful Senators suggests the job doesn’t offer much to keep people around. Lederman and Rave are perhaps manifesting more quietly the frustration that Senator Phil Jensen expressed on the last day of Session at the Governor’s dominance of the Legislature.
And as Rave and Lederman step aside, they open the door for Governor Daugaard to appoint two more replacements (bringing the total to ten) who will owe their legislative careers to his grace. Anyone ready to question the proper separation of powers yet?