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No One Better: Blogging on the Radio, Talking Legislature

District 3 legislators are having a hard time with transparency this Session. Not only are Senator Al Novstrup, Representative Drew Dennert, and rookie Representative Carl Perry all conducting public business on private e-mail servers, but they are AWOL from the press. Dakota Broadcasting has launched a series of extended interviews about and analysis of Legislative action, yet in two weeks, not one of our local legislators has found time to call in and inform constituents about what’s happening in Pierre.

Senator Susan Wismer found time to visit with Dakota Broadcasting’s Adam St. Paul about CBD. Lobbyist Jenae Hansen found time to call and discuss bills. And this week, Adam St. Paul squeezed me in for a lunch break interview:

Check out our conversation about Noem’s lazy budgeting and legislators’ early-Session dinking around, the need for a serious conversation about holistic civics education, and the fact carrying a pistol in your pants is not a Second Amendment right and won’t clear the snow off your sidewalk or take care of other daily practical problems.

And in a completely unsolicited quasi-endorsement, St. Paul reported that state Chamber of Commerce exec David Owen used Dakota Free Press information in his pre-Legislative public briefing last fall and said “There’s no one better than Cory Heidelberger” at writing about the Legislature… and then said I’m wrong about every issue.

Right or wrong, at least I’m writing and speaking about the Legislature, unlike the folks we elected. Our legislators will get a chance to break their silence this Saturday morning at our first District 1-2-3-23 crackerbarrel, 10 a.m., Northern State University Student Union.


  1. grudgenutz 2019-01-24 08:02

    Cory reports: Chamber of Commerce exec David Owen used Dakota Free Press information in his pre-Legislative public briefing last fall and said “There’s no one better than Cory Heidelberger” at writing about the Legislature… and then said I’m wrong about every issue.

    I wonder how CAH can be unexcelled at writing about the legislature and still be wrong about every issue. Unless no one is publishing views Owen considers correct. That may say more about Owen than about CAH.

    But then, I’ve been in Mexico since the SoDak legislature convened this year. I don’t have much desire to return, either.

  2. Steve Pearson 2019-01-24 10:48

    Right or wrong? LOL, more like you will look for ANYTHING against the guy that keeps beating you. HA, you still aren’t in the legislature. Hopefully never because that will just be a crazy show.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-01-24 12:38

    David Owen and I have many civil disagreements. I’m willing to grant that an objective observer could logically say, “That author writes better and more informative articles about the Legislature than anyone else, yet that author advocates policies that I oppose.” It’s akin to my saying that Senator Nelson speak with an unparalleled passion, sincerity, and sense of principle about every bill he brings, yet nearly every bill he brings is bad policy.”

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-01-24 12:39

    Steve P., instead of trying to make another personal attack, tell us, do you consider it good practice for legislators to avoid talking to the press while the Legislature is in Session? Please explain your position, without reference to any one personality.

  5. David Owen 2019-01-24 13:04

    To offer some clarification – I used one your slides that showed voter participation on ballot issues to make a point on which we both agree – that voters do participate in ballot issues and that suggests to me that they are supportive of the process.

    I commented that your blog has some great information and analysis and I read it because it is very thoughtful (I would shy away from the phrasing in the quote but that’s getting picky).

    The line that “Cory does great analysis but has a 100% record of coming to the wrong conclusion” was a great laugh line. So, it is true that I find the information and analysis found in Dakota Free Press to be high quality and worthy of reading. It is also true that I come to different conclusions that Cory does nearly all of the time.

    It should be known that Cory and I have had several enjoyable discussions and that his opinions/blog are essential to a complete contemplation about the issues of the day – a good service to the public dialog.

  6. Roger Cornelius 2019-01-24 13:15

    Legislator not communicating with the public is a frightening prospect, you have to ask them why the public scares them.
    Shutting out the public is not just a South Dakota problem, it is a national problem. Trump and Sarah Sanders are no longer briefing the press, the press office is literally closed and surrogates like Kellyanne Conway are briefing the press outside the press office.

  7. Roger Cornelius 2019-01-24 13:20

    David Owen is right, Cory provides the only coverage of the state legislature and provides an excellent service.
    In the morning I check all the South Dakota political blogs and none have in depth coverage like Cory. You don’t have to like Cory and you can take issue with him, but he is the only blogger informing you of state business.

  8. Eve Fisher 2019-01-24 17:01

    Way to go, Cory!

  9. Ryan 2019-01-24 17:36

    Steve, I would love to hear about any of your accomplishments that you think are either impressive or have impacted anybody other than yourself in a positive way. What have you done to make your father proud? And I mean honest and secret pride, not the phony pride he might have mentioned when he felt obligated by one of your pedestrian milestones. What have you ever done for anyone?

  10. grudgenutz 2019-01-24 18:05

    Ryan! Way to go Samuel L. Jackson on a dude. Dig it!

  11. Ryan 2019-01-24 18:08

    He’s quite rude to the host.

  12. Kal Lis 2019-01-24 18:27

    Great interview, Cory.

    I should know better than to offer the troll a snack, but ..

    I have tried and failed to do daily blogging at least 4 or 5 times over the past 10 years. During my best efforts I rarely got more than two posts a day. When I started to miss days, I didn’t even post press releases. Blogging is hard damn work. The amount of work it takes to read, analyze, and research for the amount of posts Cory is worthy of respect not the dismissive attitude that the troll expresses.

    The idea that conservatives disagree with Cory, so his opinions are invalid and offer no service to South Dakota reflects a stubborn unwillingness to think. Whether one agrees with Cory’s analysis or not, it is coherent and clear, something trollish comments rarely are.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger 2019-01-24 18:34

    Roger, I won’t say “only” coverage. Bob Mercer, Sarah Mearhoff, and SDPB do lots of articles on the Legislature as well. But I like to think that my coverage is the most fun. :-)

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger 2019-01-24 18:37

    And thank you, Kal Lis, for your recognition of the challenge of regularly reporting on and analyzing South Dakota policuy, and for your attention-worthy efforts to add to the conversation. Your voice has always added intelligence and wit worth reading.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2019-01-24 18:39

    Cory, that’s true, but they aren’t accessible as Dakota Free Press.
    SDPB is readily available, but it is difficult to find Mercer, whom I used to enjoy.
    Maybe my mind is programed to Dakota Free Press.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger 2019-01-24 18:41

    Ryan, I am far less interested in Steve Pearson’s personal achievements and personality (which, I will admit, as you note, appears to include an inclination to rudeness) and far more interested in whatever defense he cares to offer for an elected official saying little to nothing in the press about his work in the Legislature during the first two weeks of Session. How does silence mark effective representation?

    Despite his rudeness, I’ve offered Steve Pearson (and the rest of South Dakota) far more reporting an information about bills before the Legislature than Al Novstrup and the rest of the District 3 delegation put together have… and they’re guaranteed much more pay for their labors than I am here.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger 2019-01-24 19:05

    You’re right, Roger: KELO TV isn’t spotlighting Bob Mercer’s work as much as the newspapers did. I don’t have cable, so viewers, tell me: do they put Bob on camera on the 6 or 10 newscast? Do the on-air reporters omote his articles on the KELO-TV website?

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger 2019-01-24 19:10

    Roger mentions accessibility: there lies a key difference between me, our legislators, and the regular media. Bob and Sarah do good reporting, but they don’t do comment sections. They don’t come out and discuss their articles with their readers. I can understand their mostly one-way communication: it takes time and effort to write good news articles. It is a full-time job. To then spend another couple hours a day banging outresponses and moderating discussions in the comment section would take overtime, and they’re already working extra hours reporting without enough pay. Their job is different from mine in that very important regard: the minastream media don’t do much interaction, at least not on the record.

    I put my interactions with you right here in public, right alongside my ery clear biases and political desires. We are all journalists, but I am a journalist and something else.

  19. Jake Kammerer 2019-01-25 08:22

    OK everyone, including you Mr. Owen, ring that ‘Tip’ jar! David, answer me this plese; 40 some 40 Mr. Owens, 40 years of GOP rule in SD and still we are at the bottom of the heap so to speak. Having been so ‘business friendly’ anyone would think that much more progress would have been made under different-more progressive policies designed to help people, not business! We do one hell=of-a-job at educating our people and instilling a desire for them to leave the state and make a decent living where governments and businesses are far more progressive. Our legislature seems to waste far too much time ‘sucking up to the federal tit’-for it’s sustenance! 1.75 billion of our next budget comes from the Feds! Our business friendly environment has been designed to be ‘friendly’ to certain handpicked businesses in SD!!

  20. marvin kammerer 2019-01-25 10:10

    thanks jake!excellent observation.

  21. jerry 2019-01-25 10:12

    Could not agree more Mr. Kammerer, ring that BELL!!!

  22. jerry 2019-01-25 10:30

    The news reports have not gone unnoticed. Washington Post writes”

    Wednesday was a bloodbath for journalists. BuzzFeed said it would lay off 15 percent of its employees, and Verizon Media announced it would cut 7 percent from its newsrooms at HuffPost, AOL and Yahoo. Worst of all, a wave of layoffs tore through Gannett newsrooms across the country that day, hitting staffs that had already been thinned by years of nearly annual cuts. In December, Gannett’s USA Today Network president, Maribel Wadsworth, told her employees that the nation’s largest-circulation newspaper chain “will be a smaller company” in the future and, well, the future is now. Wadsworth is facing a lot of pressures: Print revenue is down, digital and mobile revenue aren’t nearly enough, and now a hedge fund promising even deeper cuts wants to acquire the company. If the future of corporate news operations looks bleak, that’s because it is.”

    Without reporting, then we are all in the dark about the shenanigans that the political along with the professional elites will pull over our eyes without so much as a blink.

    Support this blog, to keep a dedicated reporter doing his job. You can set up monthly payments into the tip jar, like I proudly do. Come on folks, dig in and ring that bell for more reporting on matters that matter. This is an investment worth the effort.

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