Michael Saba Would Bring International Experience, Sensibility to Legislature

Michael Saba
Hey, Mike! Steve Hickey won in District 9 with a goatee like that. Grow it back!

Stu Whitney gives District 9 Democratic House candidate Michael Saba the kind of press every candidate wishes for. World traveler, development consultant for the Avera McKennan Foundation,promoter of international clinics, Peace Corps veteran, published author, escapee from Saddam Hussein (moral of that story: study foreign languages!)… Whitney’s story of Saba as “international man of mystery” shows a man who would bring unique experience and vision to the South Dakota Legislature.

I won’t attempt to retell all of the remarkable encounters Whitney gets from Saba. I will focus on Saba’s two astute political observations. First, Saba, who now substitute-teaches in Sioux Falls, pokes certain legislators for their misaligned priorities:

“When some legislators are more concerned about daylight savings time than taking care of education for our kids, it worries me” [link added; Michael Saba, in Stu Whitney, “Michael Saba’s Last Stand,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.04.15].

Yet Saba looks at the very legislators whose policies he criticizes and sees a path to finding common understanding and working together, just as he’s done in his vast international experience with far more diverse partners:

During the past legislative session, Saba said he was disturbed to see so many bills that critics viewed as discriminatory against the LGBT community.

“I’m a fixer,” he says. “I build bridges, and this is just another cultural issue as I see it. Rather than picking fights and pointing out the enemy, we need to talk to each other in more meaningful ways and find out exactly where each side is coming from. That’s what I think is lacking” [Whitney, 2016.04.15].

With that experience and outlook, Michael Saba will be hard to beat. Even as a freshman legislator, he would make a fine elder statesman.

31 Responses to Michael Saba Would Bring International Experience, Sensibility to Legislature

  1. owen reitzel

    “Rather than picking fights and pointing out the enemy, we need to talk to each other in more meaningful ways and find out exactly where each side is coming from.”

    I agree with Saba on this. However it’s easy said then done. It takes 2 to tango and the far right conservatives in the legislature won’t “compromise” at all. They’re to busy calling Democrats names and believing that they are the only ones with the answers to our states’s problems.

  2. I’d be pleased to serve with Michael Saba. South Dakota could benefit from his global perspective and experience.

  3. There is plenty that Democrats can get done in Pierre. A person who opposes you on 5 issues may agree with you on 10 other issues. The number doesn’t matter. What matters is that someone who understands the concept can find friends and allies in even the unlikeliest of places. The legislature needs a few more “fixers.”

  4. Darin Larson

    Michael Saba is a visionary who has devoted much of his life to making the world a better place to live. The fact that he is willing to put his experience, wisdom and talents to work to make South Dakota a better place to live and work is a great opportunity for us all. He will raise the intelligence and discourse level immeasurably in Pierre. I’m proud he is a Democrat!

  5. mike from iowa

    Unfortunately,South Dakota’s big tent isn’t big enough to include diversity. They prefer simple , bland vanilla. Education scares the hell out of wingnuts.

  6. Steve Hickey

    Impressive. I just ordered his Armageddon book and perhaps will look him up for coffee in May when I return for a few days- he can try to temper my Zionism – I can brief him on representing district 9. Why is one of his caliber not running against Thune or Noem? Or is this the path to that outcome? That he was a Sanford recruit to the area gives me pause. But looks like he shifted over to the light side, Avera. As I’ve said 100 times Sanford is adrift on the sea of profitability and at least Avera is morally rooted in the Presentation Sisters.

  7. Porter Lansing

    Talent rises like cream. It just happens, naturally.

  8. Roger Cornelius

    Not to throw a damper on Saba’s extraordinary qualifications to serve, but I am reminded of Matt Varileck (sp) qualifications over Kristi Noem in a congressional race a few years back.
    Matt was well traveled, well educated, and well experienced and republicans made it all a negative, South Dakota voters wanted a homespun girl with an R behind her name.

  9. Douglas Wiken

    Jim Williams has more than enough experience and education to be magnitudes better than Noem, Thune, or Rounds.

  10. Is Jim Williams related to Jay Williams? Sounds to me like Thune’s opponent has a lot of work to do, and he better start from the beginning.

  11. Roger, your point is well taken. What look like brilliant qualifications to us may like like uppity outsider intellectualism to a cranky conservative electorate. Let’s hope District 9 is smarter than that… and let’s hope that some Noem voters have been persuaded by Noem’s visionlessness, as well as the avalanche of corruption here in South Dakota, that we need smarter people at the helm.

  12. lorahubbel

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_Qpy0mXg8Y some would say Michael Saba is a jihadist

  13. Darin Larson

    “Sell crazy someplace else. We’re all stocked up here.”


  14. Porter Lansing

    Is this the famous Ms. Hubbel I’ve heard so much about? Pleasure to make your acquaintance, ma’am. I’m Porter. Enchanté.

  15. Roger Cornelius

    Darin, that’s what happens when Lora buys a tinfoil hat that is to small for her head.

  16. Porter Lansing

    Educational video, Laura. I love history and as he said … “We don’t get to learn the back story of how Islam grew.” Got any more?

  17. Until December 31, 2015, Saba was vice chair of the SD Commission for National and Community Service (Serve South Dakota).

    See: Governor Nixes Serve South Dakota; AmeriCorps Funding in Limbo


  18. happy camper

    “some would say Michael Saba is a jihadist” It’s become too easy to defame. Slander is not protected free speech.

  19. Roger Cornelius

    Not long ago Lora claimed that there was a secret Jihadist/Muslim air field somewhere around Sioux Falls.

  20. It is incredible the way Ms. Hubbel’s mind works, isn’t it?

  21. Porter Lansing

    Really? Has it been located yet, RCorn?

  22. Porter Lansing

    رجل واحد في كل قرن ونظرا للقوة للسيطرة على الوقت. وقال انه يجب أن يكون لطفاء. وقال انه يجب أن يكون عادلا. وقال انه يجب أن يكون شجاعا.

  23. Nick Nemec

    Captain 11?

  24. Porter Lansing

    I apologize for challenging you, Nick Nemec. You’re worthy of public office, for sure.

  25. Don Coyote

    “I build bridges, and this is just another cultural issue [Transgender toilet law?] as I see it. Rather than picking fights and pointing out the enemy, we need to talk to each other in more meaningful ways and find out exactly where each side is coming from. That’s what I think is lacking”

    Not certain what else Michael Saba can bring to this discussion in his “bridge building” effort. The sides are already well defined and I certainly don’t see any middle ground. You have those on one side who consider the privacy of the genders (especially females) paramount in the use of toilets and showers with their own genders and those on the other who seem intent on carving out exceptions for a narrow sliver of society.

    IMO,his declaration that there is a lack of talk when there hasn’t been, sounds more like a Social Justice Warrior putting on the appearance of an even handed discussion while it sounds more like a door being slammed shut on the discussion.

  26. Darin Larson

    Coyote, the fact that you think there has been enough talk is no big surprise. 1008 did not come out of any discussion between open-minded folks trying to solve a problem. It was not a result of any call for legislation by school officials. It was a law in search of a problem. It was brought forth by legislators without an adequate understanding of the issues that would have benefitted from more discussion.

    The only true dialogue that happened was the governor’s meeting with the transgender community.

    Saba is right on with his comments. When a call for discussion and understanding by Saba is met with disdain by people like Coyote, it exemplifies the current lack of intelligent debate of real issues in this country. Polarizing attacks with no attempt at understanding seem to be the watchword of the day in politics. I back Saba’s fresh approach toward better communication and understanding.

  27. bearcreekbat

    Coyote – “You have those on one side who consider the privacy of the genders (especially females) paramount in the use of toilets and showers with their own genders. . . .”

    Ah, the right of privacy. A constitutional right guaranteed to women by Griswald v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade. An important right, no doubt, since it is guaranteed by the Constitution as interpreted in two 7-2 bipartisan SCOTUS decisions (in contrast to the 5-4 partisan decisions in Heller and McDonald).

    Isn’t it a bit odd that a majority of our current Republican representatives (mostly men) think a woman has a right of privacy when she uses a bathroom, but still pass laws intended to eliminate a woman’s constitutional right of privacy to confer with her own physician and family without forcible state interference when deciding whether another entity (a zygote on up) can use her body against her will in an unwanted pregnancy, or deciding what to do when she discovers her wanted pregnancy has gone horribly wrong.

  28. mike from iowa

    If only they would be as privacy-conscious when they espouse their political views in public.

    BCB, your wish might be granted. Time will tell.

  29. Serve South Dakota—might Saba be able to introduce legislation to bring that program back?

  30. Cory:

    Saba could advocate for it, and introduce legislation if elected, but the Governor would still have to designate a state service commission. That might involve not only passing legislation but also allocating state funds (the previous commission received no state funds or in-kind support – a key factor in its demise) and the legislature overriding a veto by the governor who dissolved the commission last year.

  31. So we need Saba as Majority Leader in the House and election of a Democratic Governor. I’ll put that on my to-do list. :-)