Republican elitism at its best: tired of catching earfuls from regular citizens at public crackerbarrels, Rapid City-area legislators organized an invitation-only “Legislative Roundtable” to hear from “community leaders”:
One of the event organizers is state Rep. David Johnson, R-Rapid City. In an interview with the Journal, he said the “reverse cracker-barrel” concept arose from a desire for calm and nonpartisan discussions of issues, rather than heated political arguments.
“Our purpose is to get ideas from community leaders and business leaders in the Rapid City area,” Johnson said. “It’s not to debate social issues or hot-button issues or firecracker issues. We want to talk about things like economic and community development.”
…The other six legislators who are participating in the event are also Republicans from Rapid City: Reps. Sean McPherson, Craig Tieszen and Kristin Conzet, and Sens. Alan Solano, Terri Haverly and Jeff Partridge.
Johnson said 107 invites were distributed, and 40 RSVPs had been received by Thursday morning [Seth Tupper, “Legislators Pledge to Shute Mouths and Open Ears at New Event,” Rapid City Journal, 2017.09.08].
Legislators have the right to host private events. But in casting this invitation-only event as a form of legislator-constituent interaction superior to the free and open crackerbarrels we get during Session, Rep. Johnson is showing the South Dakota establishment Republican aversion to being held accountable by the people who elect and pay them.