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Senate Lacks Power, Independence to Keep Leaders

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?


  1. Nick Nemec 2015-04-01 10:00

    In his new position as a VP for public policy will Rave lobby his former colleagues to support Sanford’s positions, including expansion of Medicaid?

  2. MD 2015-04-01 12:36

    That was a pretty quick acceleration from Operations Manager at Rural/Metro Ambulance, to Client Service Manager at Avera eCare, to VP of Public Policy at Sanford, all in less than 2 years.

  3. Les 2015-04-01 12:51

    It’s not the power keeping them around, Cory. It’s that power advancing them on. Of course timely resignations have kept the dead voters society voting properly.

  4. MOSES 2015-04-01 13:48

    Rave its all about me and not about you.

  5. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-04-01 20:10

    Wait. Daugard will be appointing 10 legislators? I said TEN members of the state legislature via Appointment, rather than Election by popular vote of the citizens?! Holy moly! That sounds like a handy political scam to create Republican incumbents. Democratic (small “d”) elections anyone? Jeeeez!

    Has that become routine in SoDak?

  6. Wayne Pauli 2015-04-02 05:03

    well at least in Dist 8 his appointment was defeated when he ran last fall. Guess his coat tails are just not that long and strong everywhere. I keep thinking that Minnehaha and Lincoln counties will wake up one of these days and stop sending puppets to Pierre (P2P)

  7. Richard Schriever 2015-04-02 08:30

    Not so different to the typical small town city council then, where the tendency is for many council members to have been appointed to fill a spot vacated by a retiring member, and subsequently running unopposed. Seems to be to work a lot like “peerage” systems of old more than an electoral structure. There are of course some exceptions.

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