531 South Dakotans died of coronavirus this month (at least that we know about). Community spread of coronavirus is raging. We are about to embark on a complicated vaccine rationing regime, and South Dakotans will need reliable, scientifically based information from the state to understand how much vaccine is available, for whom, when and where, and why it will be vitally important, when it’s our turn, for everyone to get that vaccine.
So in the midst of the worst public health emergency in South Dakota in a century, whom does Governor Kristi Noem hire to speak for the South Dakota Department of Health? A D.C. Trump toady:
The South Dakota Department of Health plans to bring aboard Daniel Bucheli next month as communications director.
Bucheli has spent the past decade working in communications roles, mostly in various federal political positions in Washington, D.C., and the neighboring area.
…Since 2010, Bucheli served in roles for three other U.S. representatives, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. House Republican conference, the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy, and a mayor of Annapolis, Maryland.
He holds a bachelor degree in government and world affairs from the University of Tampa and a master degree in public policy political communication from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland [Bob Mercer, “Noem Administration Hires a Former Trump Campaign Staffer as State Health Spokesman,” KELO-TV, 2020.11.30].
No background in science, medicine, or public health, no background in South Dakota (really? job opens just ten days ago, and the Governor can’t think of any South Dakotans with knowledge and skills suitable for this important public servant’s position?)… but he worked for Trump, so he must be good enough for the Noem Administration’s plan to continue downplaying and ignoring coronavirus.