Rep. Kevin Killer Attends White House Speech; President Challenges GOP Myths

Rep, Kevin Killer (D-27/Pine Ridge) was at the White House yesterday, hearing from our Commander in Chief:

(L) Rep. Kevin Killer and (R) President Barack Obama, at the White House, 2015.09.30. Photos from Kevin Killer, Facebook posts.
(L) Rep. Kevin Killer and (R) President Barack Obama, at the White House, 2015.09.30. Photos from Kevin Killer, Facebook posts.

Rep. Killer is in the nation’s capital for a program sponsored by the State Innovation Exchange, which is working to rally progressive legislators to fight ALEC.

Hey! There's Rep. Killer, right in the center of the audience!
Hey! There’s Rep. Killer, right in the center of the audience!

Here’s the speech President Obama, a former state legislator himself, gave to Killer and a few dozen colleagues from around the country:

Sounding an awful lot like our state Democratic party vice chair Joe Lowe, the President treated Rep. Killer and company to a frank assessment of his opponents’ disconnect from fact:

Somehow they’ve invented a reality that everything was terrific back in 2007–2008, when the unemployment and the uninsured rate were skyrocketing and when our economy was shedding hundreds of thousands jobs every month and we were mired in two wars and hopelessly addicted to foreign oil and Bin Laden was still plotting. Apparently those were the good old days before I came in and messed things up.

But there is this pesky thing called facts. And here are the facts.

When I took office, the unemployment was on its way to 10%. Today it is at 5.1%.

When I took office, we were losing up to 800,000 jobs a month. Today our businesses have created jobs for a record 66 months in a row, more than three million jobs overall. There are more job openings right now, in fact, than any time in our history.

When I took office, more than 15 [percent of] Americans were uninsured. Today only 9.2% are uninsured. If we can get a few more states to expand Medicaid, then even fewer will be uninsured. For the first time on record, more than 90% of Americans have health insurance, and for the first time, insurance companies can’t discriminate against you because of a pre-existing condition, which is helping all of us.

And by the way, despite the predictions, we’ve done all this and cut the deficit by two thirds since I took office [President Barack Obama, remarks to State Innovation Exchange, White House, 2015.09.30].

The State Innovation Exchange is bringing together even more progressive state legislators with donors and activists in D.C. to build more support for their anti-ALEC fight. But their focus is less on helping Kevin Killer and friends win elections and more on passing good legislation:

SiX doesn’t help Democratic candidates win elections, although regaining control of state legislatures in 2020 ahead of congressional redistricting is certainly on the minds of Democratic donors hoping to win back the House of Represenatives. (Republicans’ success in influencing redistricting after the 2010 census is widely credited with helping the GOP maintain control of the House.)

Instead, SiX works with the liberal state lawmakers to craft bills that promote liberal priorities, including paid sick leave, boosting the minimum wage and reducing the prison population. The group has also fought against conservative bills, Rathod said, such as versions of Indiana’s controversial religious freedom law that have been proposed in other states. The conference includes sessions titled “Reproductive Rights in 2016,” “College Affordability and Student Debt” and “Clean Energy Economy,” according to a copy of the agenda provided to POLITICO, as well as a lunch with leaders of the Black Lives Matter Movement and a keynote address by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio [Theodoric Meyer and Kenneth P. Vogel, “Lawmakers and Donors Plot Strategy Against GOP in the States,” Politico, 2015.09.30].

SiX’s top ten progressive policies are good ideas:

  • Closing the Wage Gap for Women & Minorities
  • Accommodating Pregnant Workers
  • Earning Sick Leave
  • Expanding Access to Higher Education
  • Tackling the Student Debt Crisis
  • Reducing Carbon Emissions
  • Modernizing Voter Registration
  • Repealing the Death Penalty
  • Increasing Police Accountabililty & Public Safety
  • Keeping Guns Away from Abusers & Stalkers

…but SiX’s policy-focused strategy may not do much for Rep. Killer and other progressives in Pierre, where passing progressive legislation is nigh impossible until we deflate the Republican supermajorities in both chambers. Bring those good ideas to Pierre, Rep. Killer, but tell your SiX friends to bring some campaign donations as well!

11 Responses to Rep. Kevin Killer Attends White House Speech; President Challenges GOP Myths

  1. Great speech by the President. What is so frustrating is that Democrats shied away from him and his policies which they KNEW were better because they were afraid of their opponents. It’s like they’re not going to like you anyway so you might as well stick up for policies you believe in. Don’t distance yourselves from President Obama when he could have accomplished so much more with help from our side of the aisle and probably wouldn’t have lost so much in the mid-terms.

  2. Porter Lansing

    I ❤ SiX. ~ A political machine is dismantled the same was it was built. Starting at the foundation, we attack “one brick at a time”.

  3. Deb Geelsdottir

    I agree with you, Rita.

    SiX is a much needed organization. Good, good, good on them!

  4. “But there is this pesky thing called facts.” Republicans think if they ignore that pesky thing it will go away. GOP politicians and GOP voters are conspiring to ignore the facts together as if they can invent some alternate reality.

    GOP politicians are like televangelists, slinging BS for their own fun and profit knowing their audience will eat it up. Rank and file Republicans are the audience that knows deep down that Benny Hinn didn’t just cure that lady’s cancer or make a quadriplegic walk. But they look around and the rest of the crowd seems to be buying it. And darn it they want so much to believe they guy with the mullet and to fit in with the Amen crowd that they are unwilling to question the flim flam.

  5. Deb Geelsdottir

    Excellent analogy Rohr.

  6. The Democrats must be scraping the bottom of the barrel if they sent Kevin Killer. I’m sure he is diving deeply into legislative issues as we speak. Addressing the issues above requires a pretty big leap from pushing a red button after being told how to vote by his peers to actually drafting effective legislation. Yes, I have seen the “strategy emails.” I felt so bad for the Democrats for confusing Spencer Cody for Spencer Hawley that I did not bother to forward them on to the GOP, not that it would have mattered, anyways. You are going to need more than a majority. You are going to need competent people with actual ideas…basically, Bernie Hunhoff and a new slate of Democrats. If Kevin Killer is really going after the political machine, is he hinting at a resignation announcement in the near future? Let the speculation begin.

  7. It is very impressive indeed that young Mr. Killer was able to stand on the stage with the President and address the crowds. It is my hope he brings this new speaking power home to the legislatures and passes a few more productive bills. He is one of the young leaders of the legislatures and this year is probably his year to step up into leadership and position himself for a big role in maybe a statewide office. I, for one, think he would make a great auditor of the state or maybe treasurer of the state. Maybe even a utility commissioner.

  8. Blue living in a red state

    Rep. Killer is brilliant! He could be leadership if he spoke up more.

  9. Deb Geelsdottir

    Yes, congratulations to Rep. Killer having that wonderful opportunity to go to DC and for making the most of it. Thanks for representing the state of SD so well!

  10. spencer u are such a troll, i mean, negative young person

  11. Spencer, we’d love to see those strategy e-mails. Blow the lid open on Killer’s confusion!

    The Republicans have gotten by just fine with a majority saturated with less-than-competent button-pushers who do the bidding of leadership; why would Democrats need anything more than that to push their agenda?

    I’m not ceding Spencer’s contention that Killer is incompetent; I suspect he’s a much more skilled organizer than Spencer’s one anecdote suggests.