Lest We Forget

by Nick Reid

This primary election is about more than just whose face is attached to the Republican agenda. It’s about more than a simple preference of style. This primary, in particular, will decide what kind of state we want to live in. The primary voters will decide whether deceit, subterfuge, and crony capitalism is acceptable in South Dakota state government.

The statement made in the voting booths will send a message to our children and fellow citizens what we truly value as South Dakotans, but also as Americans, friends, neighbors, and purveyors of a positive vision for the future. When all is said and done, what do want to say to those coming behind us?

The race, thus far for Democrats is largely meaningless. The choice for the soon to be vacant US House seat is also all but wrapped up. The choice for the Republican nominee for governor is all that hangs in the balance for the state at large.

The choice before the voters is one of a popular US Congresswoman whose record is clear for the world to see. Agree or disagree, that’s all you have. Kristi Noem is a devoted wife, mother, and a tireless fighter for South Dakota. Her personal life, as well as her business dealings, are beyond reproach. If you are going to vote against her, you are doing so on the basis of her record.

That’s fair and understandable, in context. I have disagreed with some of her votes, and can easily make a case for how I would’ve done it differently in her place, but the fact is, I’m not. If there’s anything I respect about Rep. Noem, it’s that any vote I have disagreed with, she can give a reasoned explanation as to why she went the way she did.

She has been repeatedly attacked by her opponent as out-of-touch with South Dakota and a product of a flawed DC establishment. She doesn’t understand how things work here in the state, they say. She doesn’t know how to get things done.

That charge is as ridiculous as it is self-convicting. The fact that Kristi has been outside the corruption and cover-ups of the last 8 years is political armor.

The EB-5 scandal, the Gear Up scandal, the Richard Mette case, the Laura Zylstra-Kaiser lawsuit, the outright thievery of Global Aquaponics, and the millions of dollars, as well as 7 lives, that have gone with them all are an absolute indictment on “the way things are done” in South Dakota.

There’s no question that Attorney General Marty Jackley knows very well how things are done. He has been in the middle of every scandal that has arisen in his tenure. For some, like the removal of 39 of 40 charges against serial rapist and child molester Richard Mette and his wife, Jackley has clearly been a pivotal figure. The same can be said of the $1.5 million awarded to Laura Kaiser from her sexual harassment case.

For EB-5 and Gear Up, the best that can be said is that the AG’s head was deeply buried in the sand. Alarms were raised and improprieties were not hard to see, but Marty Jackley chose through ignorance or something more nefarious, to look the other way. In the wake of those quagmires, he has come up with exactly one plea deal with no jail time and no one, but the 7 people who allegedly took their lives, being punished.

Dereliction of duty is a kind description for these actions (or inactions).

Do not forget the much too recent past as you head to the polls. Do not forget the weight of the choice before you. Do not take the truth lightly.

This choice is about who we want to lead the state, but it is also about what we will no longer tolerate.

With this on mind, remember these four words as you step into the voting booth.

Kristi Noem for Governor.