I submitted the following letter to the Aberdeen American News on Wednesday; my local paper runs this letter on today’s opinion page. I copy the letter here, with links added for more Internet enjoyment.
A Rapid City PAC and an anonymous Aberdeen Facebook group have circulated the claim that I have endorsed Mark Milbrandt for Brown County sheriff. This claim is false. I endorse no one in the Brown County sheriff’s race.
I have not endorsed Mark Milbrandt and will not. Sworn testimony in court last December from Milbrandt and from DCI agents indicate loyalty to a good-old-boys network that treats sexually offensive conduct as joking around that women shouldn’t complain about. Former DCI agent Laura Zylstra Kaiser was sexually harassed by two Brown County deputies; Sheriff Milbrandt punished neither of his deputies, and after the second complaint, he pushed DCI to get rid of Zylstra Kaiser.
I have a wife and a daughter. I support equal rights for women. I thus cannot endorse a public figure who, far from taking sexual harassment seriously, treats the complaining victim as a lying trouble-maker.
However, I am not endorsing Dan Kaiser for sheriff, either. Kaiser promotes another ugly strain of discrimination, against new Americans. He proudly attends local anti-refugee hate rallies. At the May 9 candidates’ forum, Kaiser mischaracterized these ugly propaganda programs as “educational” and implied that Muslims threaten America with widespread support for pedophilia.
I am dedicated to promoting Brown County, telling the truth, and defending the Constitution. I thus cannot endorse a public figure whose religious and thinly disguised racial discrimination harms our community’s image and economic development and runs counter to fact and the 14th Amendment.
Both Milbrandt and Kaiser express regressive views that leave many of our neighbors wondering if local law enforcement will provide them equal protection under the law. Neither candidate deserves our votes for sheriff.