On their way home from their first big week of the 2024 Session, legislators will perhaps ponder this evaluation of Governor Noem’s State of the State speech Tuesday and South Dakota’s “openness” for business from Jeff L. Lassle, South Dakota ex-pat and California businessman. Lassle sent this essay to legislators this morning:
South Dakota legislators:
Upon watching Gov. Kristi Noem’s speech on the “State of the State”, I honestly had to sit back and ponder if this elected official is for real. Her first statements emphasized hunting and trapping as if that is the only reason South Dakota exists—to support a hobby of sport hunting and trapping that few in the United States would understand. The rest of her speech went in the same direction like her efforts to relocate people into a State that is basically dying due to loss of career opportunities and a populace still living in the 1950’s of the United States.
I grew up in Aberdeen and went to the South Dakota colleges and quickly realized, like almost every South Dakota college student, that you have to leave this state if one wants a career. Unless of course, if your father owned a farm or family company. Other than that, there is little chance for college educated engineers, scientists, and other professions to achieve anything in the State as a matter of a career.
I temporarily came back to propose a mega factory on a Chinese technology, MgO (magnesium oxide) building materials to be built in Rapid City, however have been met with a tsunami of disinterest and opposition because of the mention that China would be in the supply chain on their own technology freely given to us to onshore this tech the United States. Bill after bill passed by a legislature that has no clue on what international trade is and its importance to the U.S. economy nor do they understand that the disinformation the Governor and the legislature have been acting upon is nothing but that, disinformation diseminated by ignorance by a state population kept in the dark for decades.
Since the Trump administration decided it needed an enemy to rile up his MAGA base to garner votes, these attacks on China, Canada, and the European Union on trade wars only resulted in 1) Americans are paying for these tariffs unlike what the Donald stated to the contrary, 2) higher inflation due to Americans paying for the self-inflicted tariffs, 3) a reduced manufacturing base in the U.S based on the costs of these tariffs for intermediate and capital goods needed by U.S. factories to be competitive in the world markets, 4) retaliation by China on U.S. exports of agriculture goods to their country while diluting U.S. farm exports to countries like Brazil and Argentina, and 5) a move by MAGA, under the failed Trump doctrines to become isolationists in the world markets that is contrary to the historic platforms of the Republican party of open markets and free trade.
Governor Noem’s importing of workers into South Dakota at a rate of 2000 is not the workers that most all other states enjoy because their states had foreseen the need for career opportunities decades ago and pushed for their economic diversity while South Dakota did nothing. Governor Noem’s actions, however did see a large increase in illegal aliens that flooded into the state to man slaughterhouses and other jobs that most Americans will not do or have left the state for engineering, science, and other careers that are not offered in South Dakota. The question is why the South Dakota’s research universities even exist when most of the students flee after graduation as I did some 30 years ago because of this lack of careers in the state then, as it still is now. We tried bringing these high paying careers to the state and were rejected by lack of interest and foresight. It’s Chinese technology that we were onshoring. Can’t have that per Governor Noem. Anything to do with China, Noem wants no part of it even though China, in this case, is only a supply chain entity.
Hunting, trapping, and the love of guns are not an activity that holds esteem with the the vast majority of Americans and does not promote oneself in the eyes of others. Governor Noem should be promoting new ideas, innovations, and other worthy activities that advance human existance rather than her love of killing animals for sport.
It’s time South Dakota elect their politicians on what they can do to improve their lives (and their low wages), not how many pheasants they can kill on a weekend hunting trip. I, too, grew up in the hunting craze and regret the time lost having been forced by parents to hunt—for sport. It’s time for South Dakotans to enter the 21st century and leave the 1950’s behind them.
My group tried to interest South Dakota on a new technology and industry in the U.S and North American markets that competes in a US $7 trillion dollar building and building products industry. South Dakota would have been a great place to plant this factory due to its lack of a state income tax, its access to large amounts of renewable energy (wind & hydroelectric) for the plant, and access to engineers and scientists from SDSMT and SDSU that need opportunities other than agriculture once they graduate.
It appears it was a wasted effort.
We are now merging with a UK and a Florida company and the decision for factory placement is no longer my call.
South Dakota needs a new governor, one that recognizes the reality that we live in 2023 and not the1950’s America. The Governor reminds me of the Jerry Browns and Gavin Newsoms of California that had caused so much problems for that state and still are. I know these two well while fighting their nonsensical policies. We did, however, win all the battles against their regime in California, but lost the war. The same can be said for South Dakota on the other end of the extreme in governance. I was even invited to witness the last State of the State speech by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for the work in California trying to bring sanity to that extremely left state.
For what it’s worth, South Dakota’s population is .2% of the entire United States and its “values” are not always congruent with the rest of the 99%+ populations where South Dakotans escape to due to lack of opportunities. Think “forward”, not “backwards”.
Jeff J. Lassle