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What Role for Daugaard and Mickelson in Changing Sexist Culture in Pierre?

South DaCola says we shouldn’t have to wait for more women to get elected to clean up the sexism in our State Capitol; Governor Dennis Daugaard and House Speaker G. Mark Mickelson should be leading the charge:

Maybe the Governor and Mark Mickelson need to take the lead on this ‘sexual revolution’ going on in Pierre and own up to their own skeletons in the closet. Mark is fortunate he lives in Sioux Falls and has a buffer from the day to day operations, but Dennis should know these things are going on….

His cheesy dumb farm kid persona won’t cut it on this issue. And while Mickelson is worried about outside money on petition drives he should be more concerned about inside pocket pool going on in our capital city. Address the real issues going on in Pierre for once [Scott Ehrisman, “Maybe the Governor Should Take the Lead with the Sexism Problem in Pierre,” South DaCola 2017.10.22].

I don’t think the Governor has spoken to this unseemly issue directly, but he did go to Connecticut weekend before last to watch a woman smash a bottle of Belle Joli against a large phallic symbol named for our state.

Following the initial accusations of sexual harassment and assault in the Capitol, but before the weekend’s big article from Ferguson and Raposa, Speaker Mickelson told Pierre’s radio news, “We are comprised of human beings, and there’s going to be human error from time to time, but do have a zero-tolerance policy. My heart goes out to those that have been affected by this.” He feels the Legislature has the rules in place to address sexual harassment and other misogynist behavior in the Legislature.


  1. Dana P 2017-10-23 09:59

    down playing and denying are typical with sexual harassment and sexual assault. (ex – human error. Sigh) And then the ole, “we have things in place to address and address we will” attitude. Sigh. Another denial tactic.

    If Pierre has created an environment where people don’t feel comfortable coming forward, then no, they don’t take it seriously. comments like “it is a good ole boys club”, makes me think the environment there isn’t very “reporting sex harassment friendly”

    Plus, the state has a big event (Sturgis rally) once a year where it is full stop objectification of women. I don’t see anyone calling a halt to the rally. Drive up and down I-90 and see the billboards that also objectify women. They won’t yank down any billboards anytime soon.

    And before people lump me up for my rally comment, and will more than likely say, “women are participating willingly.” Yes, they are. The woman that cuts my hair, signs up to be a waitress (scantilly clad, because that is what the boss requires) for two weeks in addition to her hair cutting job. She told me that she doesn’t like dressing up like that, and she gets touched inappropriately and the comments are grotesque. But she puts up with it because the money is amazing and that job alone, pays her bills for almost two months. She feels that is the only way that she can “make it” a little more comfortable as a single mom because South Dakota wages are so bad. For this reason, she is willing to “put up” with things for two weeks at the rally.

    I sort of got off of the Pierre issue that Cory’s blog entry is trying to address. The reason I added my rally comment is this – as we have learned in the last few weeks, sex harassment/sex assault isn’t just a hollywood problem, nor just a D.C. problem. It is a problem we have across the entire country. It is happening in Pierre, because it happens in Sturgis, because it happens in……etc etc etc. We have a “look the other way” attitude and a “she is making it up” attitude that doesn’t allow for these things to be addressed and nipped in the bud. And as long as those attitudes continue, sex harassment will continue and we won’t make any progress.

  2. Dana P 2017-10-23 10:11

    And by the way, Fred Deutch’s (sp?) comment to Dana Ferguson, via twitter, was ridiculous. And it showed that denial isn’t just a river.

    Or, if I was Mark Mickelson, I would be seeking out Fred right away and asking if he has a complaint about sexual harassment in Pierre.

  3. Roger Cornelius 2017-10-23 16:18

    Angie Buhl O’Donnell posted the following Twitter comment on her Facebook page.

    Pastor and former legislature Steve Hickey, “Bizzare only Dem women have these experiences. Go boozing – get ogled.
    During day I saw infrequent flirtatiousness and rolled my eyes at M&F.

  4. Bob Newland 2017-10-23 17:36

    Hickey is bizarre. He thinks the world was created as it is three years ago.

  5. grudznick 2017-10-23 21:53

    Mr. C, you can’t be serious.

    Mr. Hickey actually posted on the facebooks that only Democratic Party women get boozed and ogled? That’s just bizarre.

    I wonder, where are these people in Pierre from who are doing all this stuff? Are they from…Sioux Falls? Should we be accosting the attitudes in Sioux Falls? Or is there maybe a fellow from Hot Springs who has done this? grudznick says we should ban this stuff from Pierre and make the town of Hot Springs keep their insaner people in that town. In Rapid we have many insaner people, and maybe we should have rules to stop sending those insaner people over to Pierre. I count a half dozen in a split second from Rapid City who need to be banished, perhaps to Hot Springs where they can cavort with Mr. Russell on golf course corruption. I’m just sayin…

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-10-24 05:34

    Agreed, Roger and Bob—Hickey’s comment is morally appalling and false.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-10-24 13:13

    For the record, here’s Gov. Daugaard’s statement to Raposa/Ferguson, published after I put up this post yesterday morning: “I don’t believe in stereotyping, and I know most people in Pierre do not behave in this way or approve of this…. Individuals who behave in this way should be held accountable.”

    Reasonable response to bad behavior, but still an effort to minimize its extent.

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