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Stace Nelson Wants Us to Elect the Governor’s Cabinet

District 19 Senate candidate Stace Nelson looks at the EB-5 and GEAR UP scandals and offers a clear, simple proposal for tackling corruption in Pierre: put Cabinet secretaries up for election!

Nelson said he can help eliminate similar situations in the future before they occur with the help of new legislation.

“When you see corruption this brazen, this blatant, where people are ending up dead under mysterious circumstances because of state corruption, I don’t know how much more evidence you need that we have a problem here in South Dakota,” Nelson said.

If elected, Nelson will fight to make cabinet positions subject to public vote. Nelson said officials serving in the governor’s cabinet should be elected to two-year terms at the hands of the people rather than selected by the governor. He believes this could help eliminate the “negligence” and apparent lack of oversight over programs like GEAR UP.

“One way to combat that cronyism is to put that position in the hands of the people,” Nelson said, referencing what he believes to be a failure to supervise the GEAR UP program by Secretary of Education Melody Schopp [Evan Hendershot, “Comeback Candidate: Stace Nelson Mounts a Return to Politics,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2016.03.25].

Subjecting Cabinet positions to biannual public vote wouldn’t make those positions any more partisan than just letting the Governor pick friends of his party. Thirteen states elect their chief education officer.

Now I like having more stuff to vote on as much as the next person. I’d love to see our current Secretaries of Education and Economic Development face public debates over their job performance. But Nelson’s proposal would put 22 new officials on the statewide ballot. Here’s the current Cabinet:

Cabinet Position Current Office Holder
Finance & Management Commissioner Jason Dilges
Economic Development Commissioner Pat Costello
Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen
Agriculture Interim Secretary Dustin Oedekoven
Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman
Game, Fish, and Parks Secretary Kelly Hepler
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Steve Pirner
Corrections Secretary Denny Kaemingk
Military Adjutant General Tim Reisch
Public Safety Secretary Trevor Jones
Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist
Housing Development Authority Executive Director Mark Lauseng
Education Secretary Melody Schopp
Information and Telecommunications Commissioner David Zolnowsky
Human Resources Commissioner Laurie Gill
Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti
Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon
Human Services Secretary Gloria Pearson
Administration Commissioner Jeff Holden
Revenue Secretary Andy Gerlach
Tribal Relations Secretary Steve Emery
Veterans Affairs Secretary Larry Zimmerman

Holy cow! Could we find enough candidates to compete for all of those seats? It would be interesting to hear whether Nelson would want candidates for these seats to gather signatures to qualify for the ballot or leave it to parties to nominate them at convention as we do for statewide posts below Governor.

And could we get voters to sort them all out? We have a tough enough time getting people to pay attention to the current down-ballot positions of State Auditor and Commissioner of School and Public Lands; do voters have the bandwidth to make good decisions about 22 more Cabinet positions? Of course, if I believe voters can handle ten or more ballot measures, why not trust them to make decisions about important state executive positions?

Republican Stace Nelson is offering a fundamentally democratic reform, allowing the people to have more of a direct say on who runs their government. It would make for a long ballot, and perhaps voters would pay only cursory attention to most seats (readers, I invite you to find an example of anything Commission Jeff Holden has done in the Bureau of Administration to deserve a good electoral coal-raking). But when issues like EB-5 and GEAR UP arise, making Commissioner Costello and Secretary Schopp answer directly to the people every couple years would be one more way for the public to get answers and demand better practices.


  1. 96Tears 2016-03-26 10:30

    Stace Nelson isn’t boring. I like the idea of some positions being subjected to public approval or disapproval, but not all of the cabinet positions. I also think a new governor ought to pick her/his own management team.

    How about some kind retention election at mid-term? It would act as an opportunity to issue a vote of confidence or disapproval after a governor is in office for two years, and would involve public input to decide if a course correction is needed.

    From the list above, I think the list up for a retention vote would include agriculture, tourism, economic development, GF&P, education, transportation and environment.

    Stace, I like the politics of this but it falters quickly when you think of the practicality of your proposal. This hits in the right direction and flags attention at the horrid corruption of the Rounds/Daugaard administration. Rethink it and seek some advice on it. I would hate a good idea to die quickly because the impracticality of it makes it simple to dismiss.

  2. jake 2016-03-26 11:00

    I’m thinking it’s too much for the voters but a recall ‘vote’ of consideration I could see.
    But, what really bothers me is that we the public knew nothing much about EB-5
    or Gear-Up until the deaths. What else is or has been going on with all the other Federal (and state) moneys? The public took it in ‘the shorts’ so to speak badly with these two but what else is in play? With the concern shown by Republican’s in power last year over EB-5 in their investigations badly lacking in substance one can easily wonder…………………..!

  3. Stace Nelson 2016-03-26 11:24

    Folks, remember.. An interview is just a brief snapshot of the conversation.

    Mr H provides a picture of state government that has grown, grown, grown to give more and more power to the executive branch.

    I do not advocate making all of these positions elective.

    Take a serious look at all of these departments, tell me there are some that should not be abolished and some that should be consolidated with others to streamline and cut government.

    There is one on here that is 100% UnRepublican and who the crony capitalist will scream with the Democrats about cutting. Hint: Actual Republicans do not believe the govt should be picking winners and losers, Republicans believe in the free-market.

  4. mike from iowa 2016-03-26 11:44

    Out of iowa nosiness,would Pam Roberts,who has spent her career at the public teat, be inline for more than one gubmint pension at the end of her career?

  5. Donald Pay 2016-03-26 11:46

    Well, this would only make things worse, and more costly. It would create too many little fiefdoms headed by political hacks. The affect will be to disaggregate government, and make it much more difficult for citizens to access and control.

    I think it would be far better to institute reforms in open records and open meetings, and vastly increase citizen oversight. How can state government entities participate in submitting an application for a deep borehole disposal test to the federal government, and refuse to disclose any information to anyone in the public? A government this secretive and manipulative could absolutely have killed off a lot of folks to hide their corruption.

  6. mike from iowa 2016-03-26 11:49

    Maybe the guv’s management team should be forced to have hands on experience in the cabinet they get selected to run.

  7. mike from iowa 2016-03-26 11:51

    Is there an easy,convenient way to crosscheck these names with other administrations to see if these are retreads picked to receive a paycheck just for going along?

  8. 96Tears 2016-03-26 12:06

    I agree, Stace. State governments jumped too hastily into the business of creating winners and losers with pots full of payola for pals, a.k.a., economic development grants and cheap loans. It puts states like South Dakota into a high-priced bidding war that makes instant losers of small states. That game got accelerated by George S. Mickelson and that’s where the train started to jump the tracks. It has led to cronyism and lawlessness, as evidenced by the Rounds Racketeering Scam. I believe tax breaks and incentives are best raised by and implemented by local jurisdictions.

    The more I think about retention elections for key cabinet spots, the more I like them. I also agree that the list of cabinet positions can be shortened by half through consolidations, deletions and down-grades. As it stands now, it looks like a full employment set-up for political buddies who enjoy six-figure salaries for doing little or nothing. When Dick Kneip entered office in 1971, GOP expansion of state government was spread among more that 100 offices. It was clunky, expensive, nontransparent and unaccountable. Kneip reorganized state government into several departments and fought to make the system transparent and responsive to real needs in the state.

    A similar coup is needed in Pierre, Stace, and I hope you lead it.

  9. Jeff Barth 2016-03-26 12:52

    Why do we have a Revenue Department and a Finance & Management Department?

  10. Jeff Barth 2016-03-26 12:54

    How about Senate confirmation for nominees Senator Nelson?

  11. David Bergan 2016-03-26 13:02

    It’s an interesting idea, and all interesting ideas have merit. But here’s my thought experiment… pretend Al Capone is elected as the tourism guy. Once the governor discovers his crookedness, can he fire him? Or is he forced to work with whomever the people elected… no matter how cantankerous, incompetent, uncooperative, or unqualified that person is?

    And if he can be fired, where do we get a replacement? By governor’s appointment?

    Kind regards,

  12. John Kennedy Claussen 2016-03-26 13:11

    Given the fact that the Democratic Party in South Dakota struggles to find candidates for all of the current constitutional offices on the ballot, the last thing we should be advocating or supporting as Democrats is to democratize the executive branch as far as electing goes. Such an idea can only be appreciated in theory, but not practicality.

    I dream of a Democratic governor someday, a governor who could appoint not only the current appointee opportunities, but he or she should also be able to appoint the current constitutional positions which are up for election every four years. Because a Democratic governor without control of state government, a Democratic governor who just barely wins on his or her own without much or any coattails most likely will never really be a “Democratic” governor if he or she does not have the cooperation and policy control or direction of the rest of the executive leadership in Pierre……..And for those who thing that allowing the governor to appoint the AG, the SOS, and all the others down the line as scary or potentially scary from a partisan standpoint, well I must ask, can it get any worse than it is now with our current “election” process?

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-26 13:18

    “Stace Nelson isn’t boring.” Put that on a campaign button!

    Actually, 96, how about we brand our aspiring new Senate caucus, “Not boring, but not ridiculous”? :-)

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-26 13:22

    Stace, are you telling us you’d like to abolish GOED? Don’t you do it until we get to talk about where to move that money. Shall we transfer those funds to knock down the regressive sales tax increase? (Total GOED funding this year: $46.2 million, but $9.47M of that is federal. Still, that’s about a third of our half-penny tax increase.)

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-26 13:22

    Mike, I think you get only one pension, no matter how many different state positions you’ve held.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-26 13:24

    Recall that Tourism and Economic Development used to be under one roof, when Rounds got EB-5 going. Daugaard split ’em up into separate posts.

    Another campaign slogan: “No school consolidation until Cabinet consolidation”?

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-26 13:25

    Jeff, Senate does confirm Cabinet nominees now, doesn’t it?

  18. John Kennedy Claussen 2016-03-26 13:40

    Do they “confirm” or rubber-stamp?….;-)

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-26 13:44

    David, good question about firing corrupt officials. If we did go down the Cabinet-election road, I’d feel very uncomfortable with the Governor being able to fire an elected official. But now we’re stuck in a situation where the Governor won’t fire a Secretary of Education who was apparently aware of problems at Mid-Central for six years.

    John KC also raises a point about the difficulty of recruiting candidates. But how does the Governor find appointees? Suppose we elect Herseth-Sandlin in 2018—where we will she find her Cabinet? People are out there. A strong Democratic gubernatorial candidate could recruit more down-ticket candidates. We don’t back away from electing legislators just because we Dems have trouble all the slots (39 petitions filed, 66 to go! Hurry up, Dems!).

    Mid-term retention election… would that be a straight yea or nay, with a majority nay forcing the Governor to pick a new person?

    I understand the need to combine the Governor’s authority to pick his or her own management team and public accountability through elections down-ticket. But the Governor’s Cabinet/Staff roster already lists 20 people (policy advisors, counsel, fiscal officer, etc.) whom he picks to advise and carry out his orders. Maybe those staffers are enough to satisfy executive authority that subjecting the Cabinet posts to election would provide better balance.

    I don’t think I can roll John KC’s direction on making AG and SOS appointed positions. I’d like to imagine a healthy two-party system (or three! four! Libertarians and Greens, get your bums in gear!) in which all of those offices would be contested and provide a healthy check on each other rather than concentrating more power in the executive branch’s hands in the hope that our party will someday win that gubernatorial race.

    Education strikes me as a uniquely good office to subject to statewide vote. Just as we have separate elected school boards to run this one basic public function (we don’t elect local police boards, and we only elect boards to run road, fire, and sewer districts when we are serving areas that don’t have munis to serve those needs), we might benefit from having a top cop for schools who has to get our vote (or maybe put the entire state Board of Education up for election? Elect reps from clusters of 7 Legislative districts?). Candidates for Education Secretary (or, as it’s called in other states, State Superintendent of Schools) would be in a great position to lead public conversations each year about public education, curriculum, funding needs, etc. That elected ed boss could then be the people’s voice for education in the Legislature, our top lobbyist for teacher pay and good reforms.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-26 13:45

    John KC, there will be no rubber stamp on my desk. :-)

  21. Stace Nelson 2016-03-26 14:16

    Mr H, Education, Veterans Affairs, (Tribal Relations, native only elective?) and maybe several more, are ripe to be converted to constitutional elected positions.

    You hit the nail on the head, GOED is crony capitalism and the antithesis of free-market, limited government, Republicanism. I brought bills in the past to try and cut the tax that feeds it and wasn’t even able to get them moved the cronyism was protected so strongly.

    Some of these others clearly need to be consolidated which would eliminate some appointed positions and relating levels.

    I’m sure these ideas will be a raving success with all of he many limited government, free-market, conservative Republicans campaigning in SD over the next couple months. At least in campaign rhetoric for many.. ?

  22. grudznick 2016-03-26 15:12

    Mr. Nelson, who likes to make veiled threats against old men that he might pound sand up their arses which any respectable ex-Marine would not do, is right that Education, Veterans Affairs and Tribal Relations departments should be abolished.

  23. John Kennedy Claussen 2016-03-26 15:14

    Cory, if a Democrat is ever elected Governor. I think it is safe to say that it would be easier for the Democratic Party, or the Democratic governor, to find Democrats willing to be appointed to a cabinet position as opposed to having to run for it…. especially really qualified candidates.

    It is true that a stronger Democratic gubernatorial candidate is more likely to find or field a stronger slate for all of the constitutional offices, but historically such coat tails from such a slate are few and short lived – especially for Treasury and AG.

    As far as your concern in the lack of a strong two party system to justify or make necessary the idea of appointing the AG, SOS, and other cabinet members, and thus you use the word “image,” does not this concern purely demonstrate that this entire debate over this issue and its potential to bear fruit is academic at best and that is why I used the word “dream” to begin with and this concept and debate only serves to the interests of the South Dakota Republican Party and not the people nor the South Dakota Democratic Party?….

    It appears to me, that Mr. Nelsen’s idea in theory serves all, but in practicality merely serves the energy of the Republican Party. Because as you pointed out correctly, the absence of a true two party system in South Dakota, and in imagination only, makes Mr. Nelsen’s proposal a political reality of relevant efficacy only to be found within the constraints of the continual battle between the purists and the “Rhinos” within the South Dakota GOP itself, while for Democrats it would only be a continuance of political entertainment at best. Unless from time to time, a hotly contested GOP primary could lead to a given Democratic victory in the fall…. Which we could only hope for, or should we call that “trickle-down” at best, too?….

    In terms of your idea to elect the Secretary of Education, well, putting the health of the two party system issue aside for a moment, is not your logic apples and oranges given that your analogy to school boards involves non partisan elections, while I fairly assume that the election of a SOE would be partisan in nature and such educational debates at the state level on education would take on more partisan qualities, than genuine discussions of educational issues, which often can only be found at the local level?

    At the local level, I often notice as a voter that good Democrats and good Republicans work together to elect good school board members. A state wide race on education, partisan in make-up, I am afraid, however, would be nothing but like “a noun, a verb, and a common core debate” into perpetuity complements of the GOP and their political interest in “wedge issues” with no mention of teacher salaries as an example….

    As far as “rubber stamp(ing)” goes, I, too, am confidant that State Senator Cory Allen Heidelberger would not be a stamper…;-)

  24. owen reitzel 2016-03-26 15:25

    Interesting idea. Could i play devils advocate here?
    If you have Democrats elected to some of these posts or visa versa could we have end up with grid-lock?
    More likely if we have a Governor such as Daugaard and elect some from the far right of the Republican party, could we have the same thing?

  25. Rod Hall 2016-03-26 15:27

    Stace, zero in on the Sec. of Education and Cultural Affairs. The State Supt of Public Instruction worked well for about a hundred years until Kneip abolished it primarily because Dr. Don Barnhardt, the last elected State Supt. stated “That no Governor was going to lead him around by the nose”. I do not know what part of her anatomy Duagaard has her by, but Schoop is way too close.

    If you took the education dept and MidCentral in particular, then examine every dollar spent on every individual and expose all the lies that have been condoned with the appointed Sec. of Education, you could get overwhelming support. The Sec. of Education should be elected by the people not appointed by the Governor.

  26. owen reitzel 2016-03-26 15:54

    How about the office of Economic Development Rod?
    Figures Education would be the first targeted

  27. grudznick 2016-03-26 16:14

    I’m sure this Mr. Holden fellow is a fine gentleman, but instead of electing his replacement maybe we should be getting rid of more administration. Why do we need an entire office full of administration?

  28. Mark Winegar 2016-03-26 18:39

    Nelson provides an intriguing idea but we still needs an ethics commission and limits on lobbying and campaign finance. Vote YES on IM #22.

  29. grudznick 2016-03-26 19:55

    This all seems to me another of Mr. Nelson’s ideas to create a more dysfunctional government. I think Mr. Nelson and grudznick have more in common than some might thing. We are both fans of chaos, Mr. Nelson gravitates towards it pathologically and grudznick enjoys it for the entertainment factor. Put me down for a Nelson sign, please.

    Big Nelson fan, I am.

  30. grudznick 2016-03-26 21:22

    Mr. H, I tried to click on some of your blue links to read about these people but your web pages seem to be missing or broken. I thought somebody should tell you in case others are trying to read about Ms. Schopp like I was.

  31. Donald Pay 2016-03-26 21:46

    Wisconsin has an elected Superintendent of Public Instruction. The office is elected in the nonpartisan spring elections, and technically the office is supposed to be insulated from political machinations. It generally worked that way until Tommy Thompson became governor in the 1990s. That was a time when Governors were puffing themselves up as education gurus. Thompson was no different, and he instituted a funding formula similar to the South Dakota formula passed in the 1990s.

    So, although the state Superintendent was supposed to be independent, she or he came under increasing pressure to respond to political pressures, and the funding pressures of a bad funding formula. rather than making schools run well and helping students learn.

    Thompson, of course, started “school choice programs” mainly so he could carve out a power base in the education area. It was all ego. I do give Thompson credit. He taxed to increase school funding. That stopped with Walker.

    Wisconsin’s choice schools, except for previously running parochial schools, have been a disaster, siphoning money from public schools while not improving education one bit. Now we have one and a half school systems to fund, and because the parochial schools now depend on the funding, it’s become a nightmare. Test scores are in public schools are suffering because of a lack of funds and a demoralized teaching staff.

    The Superintendent of Public Instruction now spends most of his time dealing with the know nothing Repubican Legislature, and trying to keep them from totally wrecking schools.

    I’d say the real problem is in the Legislature, more than the executive branch. Legislators tend to be dumb, gullible, and lazy. Cut the Legislature to a 33 member unicameral. That would vastly improve things.

  32. David Bergan 2016-03-26 22:55

    “Cut the Legislature to a 33 member unicameral. That would vastly improve things.”

    Small, unicameral, and non-partisan… just like Nebraska.

    At the national level we have 2 chambers as a design compromise to give populous states more influence in the House, but all states equal influence in the Senate. That made all of the founders happy.

    Now in SD, what’s the point of having 2 chambers when we use the same legislative districts for both? SF metro has 12 Reps and 6 Senators… which is a 6/35 proportion of influence either way. Extending the national model, Senate districts should not have been based on population, and definitely not the exact same districts as the house… instead we could elect one Senator for, say, each county. That way we would have a proper Senate chamber where the small guys are on equal footing with the big guys… Jones County would have the same proportional influence as Rapid City and the part of Sioux Falls north of 57th.

    But if we’re going to reform, for a state our size, I think unicameral makes the most sense. One Rep from each of our current legislative districts.

    Kind regards,

    P.S. Just curious, which two districts were you planning to cut, Donald?

  33. leslie 2016-03-26 23:02

    of the governor’s appointees:

    schopp (education-Historical Society), haugen (tourism), hultman (labor), hepler (gfp), pirner (denr), berquist (transportation) either personally, on behalf of their office, or thru their representatives below, voted against the BLACK ELK PEAK name change because of a few signs, fear of confusing tourists (about what, history?), or likely general racism or ignorance:

    I do not know if SD State Historical Society is a cabinet position, but they sure have a beautiful if biased building dug into a Pierre hill side.

    SDBGN flip/flopped voting for name change/then against it, as follows. they laboriously covered the state taking comments and testimony. While the proponents’ support was overwhelming, then a SECOND comment period drew vitriolic attack from largely white residents.

    Eileen Bertsch – Department of Tourism representative

    Steve Emery – Secretary, Department of Tribal Relations (emory suggested Hin Han Kaga Paha and was the sole vote for the name change in its final form)

    June Hansen, Chair – Department of Transportation representative

    Joe Nadenicek – Department of Environment and Natural Resources representative

    Jay D. Vogt, Vice Chair – Director, South Dakota State Historical Society (representative)

    This is one reason why a republican governor’s appointments, like Robert’s appointment to all powerful, political Regents (in another thread) is so important. Whether Stace is headed in the right rigid direction he champions remains to be seen, imo.

  34. leslie 2016-03-27 04:20

    does a governor’s cabinet of appointees speak up like this with out his consent? I don’t think so.

    “vote” was not the best word choice.

    a call from kristie in support of the name change, in coordination with her bid to assist in the effort against suicide contagion on the reservations, could show daugaard what leadership is.

  35. mike from iowa 2016-03-27 07:29

    David Pay, what did Snott Wanker and wingnuts do to the independent state ethics committee in Wisconsin?

  36. Jake Cummings 2016-03-27 10:11

    Cory, looks like the Senate voted to approve Dr. Schopp’s reappointment in Feb. 2015 with Phil Jensen the lone nay vote (Jason Frerichs, Phyllis Heineman, and David Novstrup were excused):, so it does seem the Senate approves executive actions like Cabinet (re)appointments.

    I focused on Dr. Schopp because some prior comments referenced SDDOE, and I was too lazy to attempt to navigate the LRC’s byzantine records (speaking of transparency, I think we could stand to improve the navigability of that site).

  37. Roger Elgersma 2016-03-27 10:23

    If South Dakota values would produce honest people we would not have a problem. But ever since all the young people learned that a bully like Janklow would get lots of respect, we blew that possibility except for those who had values of their own.
    But Stace sees a problem and wants to do something about it. That is good logic. But 22 more spots on the ballot is a lot of campaign financing and lots of people who will not get around the state enough for most of us to make a wise vote. Maybe putting a few on the ballot is very good.
    We have a bad situation when people have to be in office a long time before they wake up and realize that they need to do the job they were elected for rather than just try to cover up all the problems. Jackley is a prime example of being there a long time and now finally realizing that he needs to investigate for the purpose of charging someone with a crime rather than just covering up the problems. Alan Greenspan is another example of someone in a top position for twenty years and finally realized after the whole world economy fell that maybe ‘good’ professionals will not always make the right decisions all the time without any guidance on what is right and fair and appropriate.

  38. Roger Elgersma 2016-03-27 10:25

    Can you imagine what a disaster we will have if a bully like Trump gets elected. We will produce millions of little bullies.

  39. owen reitzel 2016-03-27 10:44

    I believe that SD State Historical Society is under the Dept of Tourism Leslie and you should go check the building out.

  40. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-27 15:13

    John KC, zeroing in on the analogy to local school boards and your concern about partisan elections—if we pass Amendment V, all statewide elections will be non-partisan, just like school boards! Even absent that reform, I see no reason candidates for State Superintendent of Schools would have to compete on a partisan ballot. We could have them (and maybe others in the Nelson Cabinet reform?) run like judges on non-partisan ballots.

  41. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-27 15:21

    Owen, gridlock within the Executive Branch? Interesting prospect. Gridlock can’t happen now, because the Governor is the boss. Cabinet members serve at the Governor’s pleasure and carry out the Governor’s orders. Electing Cabinet members would change that hierarchy, just as it changes the relationship between the Governor and the AG and SOS. But even if we elected our Cabinet members, they still would not be in a position to promulgate policy. Their duties would still be administrative, carrying out the orders of the Legislature and the Governor. We would be electing good managers and advocates, but they would still have to carry out their duties effectively. Thus, it doesn’t seem that there’s much chance for gridlock. We just have watchdogs in place who can blow the whistle without fear of losing their position immediately by the Governor’s order.

  42. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-27 15:24

    Let’s do the whole shebang, Mark! State ethics commission, non-partisan elections, independent redistricting commission, and an elected Secretary of Education!

    And to keep with Stace’s conservative ideals, we won’t bother with electing a GOED commissioner; we’ll just eliminate GOED completely and fold the funding into teacher pay (because the best investment we can make in economic development is offering competitive salaries that draw the best teachers in the region to teach our kids).

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-27 15:25

    Hey, Donald! Why 33 in your unicameral Legislature instead of the current 35 Senators? Are you going one for every two counties?

  44. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-27 15:28

    (Jake, on LRC archives: how about we get enhanced committee and floor debate archives, with a more navigable media player to better zero in on specified timestamps and attached searchable text transcripts, as I’ve seen sometimes on C-SPAN?)

  45. John Kennedy Claussen 2016-03-27 19:43

    Cory, I agree that if “V” is passed or you have a non-partisan election system to begin with of any sort you are talking about a whole different ballgame politically with this concept, well, potentially.

    Louisiana has had on the books a law similar to “V” since 1975, but I also notice they still have active state Republican and Democratic parties, too. Although, I know it is the one key selling points for “V,” that it establishes non-partisan elections, I question if it really does that beyond the non labeling of the candidates. I think the true selling point of “V” is that it encourages individuals to run for office who might not be the favorite or even in favor with the establishment of the political party they identify with….If “V” had already been on the books back in 2014, I think it is safe to say that Daugaard would have still won with 50+ % of the vote in June instead of November, but Lowe I think would have taken 2nd instead of 3rd, which may be academic at best, but if you recognize how that empowers or encourages candidacies or potential candidacies which are perceived in time or place as not being the establishment candidate then such a potential reality I think is very healthy for our political system – and intended or not, it offers a greater vibrance to our two major political parties through the reality of new blood within those political parties….

    Now that said, how do I explain that often local school board elections seem to go beyond partisan bickering, which in theory is the claimed goal of “V.” I would argue the lack of partisan history in such elections aides that reality and the smallness of the universe naturally pulls voters to vote more on familiarity, character, and stature than partisan mantra. The fact that Louisiana still has Republican and Democratic parties suggests that “V” does not offer the ability to trump partisan bickering with familiarity, character, and stature in a larger universe, but at least it empowers more to run and represent their party even without a ballot label, which I think is a positive progression worthy of merit that would promote a renewed attitude toward civility in our political system and policy-making through candidates who would have the ability to reach out across party lines to find solvency to our many challenging issues of the day.

  46. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-27 21:26

    In John KC’s response may be an answer to Owen’s concern about gridlock. Combine Amendment V with Cabinet elections, and we take a step that helps more people run for office and encourage more accountability and cross-partisan cooperation to get things done in Pierre.

  47. John Wrede 2016-03-27 21:34

    Stace Nelson and I finally agree on something………. at least in part…… If you dive back into history, you might just find some historic laws that were either repealed or heavily amended as far back as Kneip. The Mickelson Administration was crafty at refining the law with the legislatures concurrence, that essentially gave the executive branch a great deal more control over the individual bureaus and Departments in State Government and that effort to consolidate control by the governors office has been an ongoing thing since.
    The following is but one example of the abuse of power. A certain person from Aberdeen was appointed to his first term on the GFP Commission back in 1992, That individual was reappointed to the Commission for two + terms more than the law stipulated (a total of 17 years when the law only allows one four year appointment followed by a second 4 year term at the governors discretion) and when a lawsuit was filed against the State, then Governor Rounds defended the illegal appointment stating that his office interpreted the law differently than plaintiff in the law suit. Under the threat of the potential legal decision, the Commissioner stepped down from the GFP Commission and Rounds appointed him to another Board. I think this is the type of cronyism Stace is talking about.
    Subsequent to that resignation, a bill was drafted for legislative consideration that would have turned the clock back to pre-Kneip and given the public a significant voice in the qualifications and selection of GFP Commissioners. The process would have required the GFP Secretary to receive nominations of individuals from various sources, including the General public in a more or less formal application process that outlined the individuals background, history, qualifications, experience etc. The sitting Commission would have been responsible for reviewing all the names, selecting the top five qualified candidates based upon a set of qualifying criteria, and those names would be submitted to the Governors office wherein he would be limited to the selection of a commissioner/commissioners from that list based upon the vacancies. One more Commissioner would have been added to the Commission; one to Represent the Black Hills Region and two each from each of the 4 GFP management regions of the state. Similarly, the Secretary of the Agency would have been selected in the same way. What must also be looked at is the depth of political appointees within each agency. All too often, state employees on the professional payroll system have been elevated to political appointees that serve at the discretion of the Governor and somebody should research to see how many serve in that capacity in each bureau. There is a lot more to this than just the suggestion of electing people to boards and Commissions. The public can indeed get involved in the selection and accountability process without taking up a bunch of time and spending a bunch of money state government doesn’t have.

  48. leslie 2016-03-28 01:46

    jw-your anecdote of rounds court disputed interpretation, then reappointing a commissioner to a different position, shows the third example of rounds’ arrogance in the face of what the law requires. I will try to remember the other two. i’m beginning to dislike insurance brokers as elected office holders. this shows a serious pattern.

    or-i’m pretty sure I briefly looked it up, surprised but logical to find the hist. society was under Ed. also, in comparison to ND’s capitol museum, SD’s admittedly cool earth-bermed capitol museum, doesn’t have the authenticity, and also gives Indians short shrift, in comparison again to settler history, imo. this was 2 decades ago tho, so I look forward to a serious re-match some day hopefully sooner than later. I have never thought the Cody museum was that good either with respect to Indian treatment. the art gallery, however, whoa…!!!

    I haven’t been to the newer DC museum on the mall yet. I recently heard about the “little chief’s collection”, the haul Gen. Harney and his surveyor Capt. Governour Warren stockpiled from the 1855 Blue Water massacre, I wanna say, which is now archived, what was left after the soldiers’ deaths, at the Smithsonian. Historian Austin, museum of the fur trade, wrote this book. That is a wonderful, wonderful museum at the Bordeaux Trading Post near chadron. Have you seen that collection?

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