Video: Paula Hawks McGovern Day Speech, Sioux Falls, April 30, 2016

Team Hawks has finally processed and posted the video of the rousing speech Democratic candidate for U.S. House State Rep. Paula Hawks made at McGovern Day in Sioux Falls on April 30.

The April 30 speech is the strongest public performance I’ve seen Rep. Hawks deliver. She gets better every time she takes the stage. Rep. Hawks struck all sorts of high notes in this address to the party faithful. Most encouragingly, Rep. Hawks made clear that she ready to challenge our incumbent Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem on numerous fronts, such as Noem’s support for shutting down the government right before the October 2013 blizzard, Noem’s abdication of her House Ag committee seat, and Noem’s inaction on Indian health care.

I noted a handful of key lines:

On reëngaging discouraged Democrats, Rep. Hawks told the audience to stop waiting for a savior and realize that winning back Congress and the Legislature is everybody’s job:

[1:49] The hard truth: George McGovern is not going to walk through that door. Jim, Tom Tim—they are not going to run for office again. And Stephanie—well, let’s just say we’re going to keep working on her. The point is George taught us the work is hard. The work is long, and sometimes it feels like there is no light at the end end of the tunnel, but we cannot get discouraged.

Rep. Hawks said Democrats do have to work harder than Republicans to win in South Dakota, but that makes us better leaders:

[3:55] This level of commitment and investment, the hard work required, the necessity of being able to see both sides of an issue if you hope to win as a Democrat in South Dakota, ultimately, it isn’t just how we win elections, it’s why we are effective leaders.

Seeing both sides of issues helps us get past partisan disagreements to build the coalitions necessary for practical government:

[5:45] We need someone who can form working relationships with those on the other side of the aisle and understand that just because you don’t agree on all of the issues doesn’t mean you can’t work together on the ones that you do.

On one of her signature campaign issues, student debt, Rep. Hawks challenged the notion that today’s Bernie Sanders-loving youth are freeloaders:

[8:00] Young people aren’t looking for a free ride, just the same opportunity that generations before them had…. In 1975, it took just six weeks working full time at the minimum wage to pay for a year of public college tuition in South Dakota. Today it would take 27 weeks working full-time at more than the minimum wage without any other expenses. When I get to the U.S. House, I will be a leader. it is time to give future generations a helping hand, not an insurmountable burden.

Rep. Hawks called the crisis in Indian health care our Flint Michigan, our Hurricane Katrina. She then challenged Kristi Noem’s Congresswoman-come-lately schtick:

[11:58] [Rep. Noem] is correct when she states that Indian Health Service has been facing unresolved problems for over ten years. And she has been an elected official for every one of them. How many years do you have to serve in Washington before you own the dysfunction? How many years can you tout your own obstruction before you yourself become the problem. Omission is Commission. The things we don’t do are just as important as the things we do. Priorities matter. Leadership matters. And that’s what Kristi Noem isn’t providing in Washington D.C. We need to remove and replace politicians who say one thing and do the other, and I am running for the U.S. House to solve problems. We need results, not excuses, and results are what I intend to deliver.

The only downside I saw in the entire speech (and here the speech coach may be nitpicking) was her regular retreat during applause from fiery orator to shy, smiling farm gal. Some might read that pausing smile as a comfy aw shucks grin, but that smile hinted that Rep. Hawks is still a little surprised to hear such strong words come from her mouth and to hear people stand up and cheer for those words.

She shouldn’t be surprised at her ability to talk tough: she’s a teacher and mom.

And if she’s surprised at the applause, well, Paula, get used to it. Say the things you said April 30, and South Dakotans will stand up and cheer, more loudly every time you take the stage.

14 Responses to Video: Paula Hawks McGovern Day Speech, Sioux Falls, April 30, 2016

  1. Still worth watching … and re-watching.

  2. Mike Kokenge SR

    A lot of trump republicans in SD have had it with their do nothing, accomplish nothing reps. This could be the year corporate welfare queens like noem are shown the door. Maybe this blog could use a little update to keep noems rolling welfare totals up to date. The 40 conments are also worth the read.

  3. Roger Cornelius

    Good job of giving the republicans the what for, Paula.

  4. “…own the dysfunction.” Good line to keep bringing up.

  5. Right on, Paula. Right on!

  6. Don Coyote

    Seriously? It’s like listening to a freshman speech class. I want my twenty minutes back. It’s watching some cooking show on television where the audience applauds every sentence. Here’s a clue Paula, you aren’t gonna do anymore in Congress than anyone else because you are only 1 of 435 representatives. And when you’re still in the minority that means you’ll do even less. This is the best the Dems in South Dakota have? It’s no wonder you are on the hind teat.

  7. Seriously, here is a speech by some idiot from California that only a Democrat could have such a wonderful rebuttal. Me, I would listen to Ms. Hawks as she speaks with enthusiasm as opposed to Ms. NOem who speaks like a widdle Koch robot.

  8. Douglas Wiken

    Paula Hawks mailed propaganda, fund-raising appeals really suck. They are filled with wordy passive sentences. I doubt many people finished reading them….if they even opened an envelope with a candidate logo that looks like it is for a hockey sports logo. If she is campaigning, it is hard to tell where.

  9. mike from iowa

    The best the Dems have is light years ahead of the slop wingnuts keep re-upping for gubmint welfare to the tune of $174,000 a year plus farm subsidies and other perks.

    Of course the electorate in South Dakota feels right at home with corrupt cronyism the do nothingness in Washington, DC. There is no other explanation for why wingnuts win every election and have for the last 40 years. Sub-mediocrity in gubmint must be a palpable thing in the hearts and minds of Dakota voters.

  10. coyote-that is 8 sentences of pure bunk. I was there. she had the audience, the choir, on its feet, genuinely, several times. I have NEVER seen Christie do anything genuine except get her picture taken on the great wall w/frmr rep. arron schock. your final sentence is an insult to us all.

  11. Don, I challenge you to find any speech delivered by Kristi Noem, as a candidate or as a member of Congress, that is objectively better.

  12. mike from iowa

    Universally famous orator dumbass dubya got standing ovations for some of the worst speeches? ever. Wingnuts popped out of their congressional seats like they had springs attached to their bums. Oz our children learning? Apparently not so much in South Dakota’s gubmint.

  13. True, Mike. Politicians get easy crowds all the time at controlled party events. But even in those settings, speakers can rouse the crowd or leave them stuck offering dutiful applause. Believe me, I can tell the difference between roused and dutiful.

  14. grudznick gives odds of 23-1 against young Ms. Hawks. She seems a nice lady, but she’s playing checkers with just 5 marbles.