Another petition is street-ready! Doug Kronaizl announces on Represent South Dakota’s Facebook page that Secretary of State Shantel Krebs has approved his group’s South Dakota Anti-Corruption Amendment for circulation. This measure writes key campaign finance, lobbying, and ethics reforms from the voter-approved, Legislatively repealed Initiated Measure 22, plus measures to protect ballot measures from Legislative meddling, into the state constitution. The Anti-Corruption Amendment does not include IM22’s “Democracy Credits,” the public campaign financing plan. Read the full text of the measure online here.
Represent SD will have petitions to sign and training for circulators at kick-off events this weekend: Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Madison Saturday; Brookings, Huron, and Spearfish Sunday, and Vermillion Monday.
Speaking of Democratic candidates, we have another declared contender for the U.S. House race. A month after his final day as circuit court judge, Tim Bjorkman has announced he wants to go to Congress.
The Canistota man hasn’t put up a website yet, but he did reserve the domain TimBjorkman.com late Saturday night (03:14:49 Zulu Time Sunday morning, says the ICANN WHOIS record). The campaign has put up a Facebook page for the official campaign kick-off, which is Thursday, 6 p.m., at the Canistota Public School Veterans Memorial near 4th and Main. The event promises a “non-partisan, thoughtful, outside-the-box advocate who will be a strong voice for South Dakota and against corporate Washington.”
Lt. Gov. Matt Michels will present the Governor’s Ag Ambassador award at the summit lunch Thursday. Past Ambassador awards have all gone to individuals (past winners: Dr. Dan Gee, Jim Woster, Mike Held, Brad Greenway, Dr. Bob Thaler, and Michelle Rook), but this year the state is giving the award to Lake Area Technical Institute.
Yes, yes, Lake Area has all sorts of good programs supporting agribusiness. But since it already receives state tax dollars and is now run by a state board, isn’t this award just sort of a pat on the state’s own back?
Dakota Free Press hits the road tomorrow! The District 22 Democratic Forum has invited me to speak at their noon lunch at the Huron Event Center attached to the Crossroads at 100 4th Street Southwest downtown.
I’m open to suggestions—if there’s another topic you’d like me to work into my 20-minute oration, let me know here in the comment section. Or if you’re within driving distance, come have lunch with the District 22 Democrats in Huron and grill me during the question-and-answer period. I promise to be more fun and informative than Kristi Noem was in Rapid City today!
*Update 2017.07.01 13:22 CDT: The original notice I received said the Noem town hall would start at 10 a.m.; eager reader Susan below reports the time has been changed to 9:30 a.m. Arrive early, get a good seat!
Back to SoDak, a new initiate launched by the Foundation, aims to tout the recent changes to the area in addition to a business and family friendly economic environment to lure young professionals back to the area, beginning with JazzFest this July. “For them to get a good look at how Sioux Falls has changed in the last 2-5 years, we just may get some of them to decide to relocate,” said Lon Clemensen with the Development Foundation….
Those attending JazzFest as part of the Back To SoDak program will have access to special food vendors and samples of local beers from Fernson. A brunch will also be held at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center on Saturday, July 15, with special gift bags for attendees featuring “Explore Sioux Falls” coupon books, t-shirts and surprise gifts [Mike Leischner, “Sioux Falls Development Wants Former Residents Back,” KELO Radio, 2017.06.28].
Snaford Health, Lemonly, Avera Health, Fernson Brewing Company, and Gunderson Jewelers are sponsoring the Back to SoDak event. The Eventbrite ticket registration does not appear to perform a background check asking ex-pats to prove their past Sioux Falls or South Dakota residence… but hey! I’m sure Sioux Falls Development won’t mind if some totally new faces come for beer and hear the pitch to homestead in our prairie metropolis.
Join LEAD at the Oak View Library in Sioux Falls to hear from our state Legislators. They’ll be sharing how they work across the aisle and put partisan politics aside in the name of serving their constituents and the interests of our state. Come on out and get an inside look at how it all works! This event will be moderated by Megan Myers of the American Heart Association of South Dakota.
Representative Karen Soli
Senator Deb Soholt
Senator Kris Langer [LEAD, Facebook event post, retrieved 2017.06.24]
It’s good to see legislators getting out during the interim to keep us informed about the work our government is doing.
The information at this session will be presented by civil rights and immigration attorney Taneeza Islam Esq. Prior to moving to Sioux Falls she fought Islamophobia and empowered communities in Saint Paul/MN for four years. She conducted Know Your Rights Trainings and well as Workplace Trainings. She was instrumental in leading a coalition to persuade a Minnesota legislator who introduced a head covering ban for government ID’s which would have negatively impacted Muslims and people of other faiths requiring head covers based on religion (nuns, Hutterites wearing headcovers, Jewish men who wear yarmulkes, all forms of hijab etc.). The legislator withdrew his bill. Since January 2017 Taneeza has led a coalition to fight against two Islamophobic resolutions and an anti-refugee bill. This coalition is now 3-0 in winning this fight [Indivisible Rapid City, Facebook event details, retrieved 2017.06.20].
This program is free.
If you want to burn up $8 and part of your soul Wednesday evening, anti-Muslim paranoiacs ACT for America and Big Horn Canyon Church are showing Faithkeepers in downtown Rapid at the Elks Theatre Wednesday at 7 p.m., which, for the sake of fluffing those comfy right-wing slippers of Christian persecution complex and scapegoating of all Muslims, gets history and interfaith relations wrong:
This matter was dramatically brought to a U.S. audience three years ago by eight patriarchs of the Eastern Christian churches — representing the majority of the Middle East’s Christians — who appeared together before a conference in Washington, D.C. Their message was poignant and direct: We need your help, but the help we need is not for you to vilify Muslims. Demonizing Islam may generate applause in some circles in Washington, but it does not help Christians in the Middle East.
That simple message was clearly not heard by the makers of the film “Faithkeepers,” which is to be screened nationally May 23. While purporting to be in defense of Christians in the Middle East, “Faithkeepers” is a not-so-subtle attack on Islam. The film mixes real stories of Christians and others who have suffered at the hands of ISIS with the insidious insinuation that such persecution is at the heart of the Muslim faith.
Adding insult to injury, the film falsely conflates disparate historical events — the Armenian genocide, the Jewish exodus from Iraq and other Arab countries, and the atrocities committed by ISIS — as if they were all the result of Islam’s “inherent” desire to purge all non-Muslims from the region.
What “Faithkeepers” ignores is the fact that the Armenian genocide was perpetrated by a secular movement in Turkey that attacked all non-Turks, including Muslim Kurds; and the horrific anti-Jewish pogroms in Arab countries that followed the 1948 war were in reaction to Israel’s horrific “ethnic cleansing” of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Christians and Muslims from what became the “Jewish state” [James Zogby, “‘Faithkeepers’ Film Is a Not-So-Subtle Attack on Islam,” Religion News Service, 2017.05.18].
I’m getting annoyed that we have to spend this much time countering these ill-informed, bigoted, and cowardly anti-Muslim programs in South Dakota. These non-stop cries of terror against our fellow humans are un-American and un-Christian, as dwellers of the greatest country in the world and followers of the Christian God alike should know better than to live in fear and ignorance. Such fearful people could benefit from listening to Taneeza Islam’s presentation… but I fear the people who need to hear her message most will see her name and be afraid to walk in the door.