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Brown County Republicans Reagan Lunch had plenty going on this last week

February 16, 2014

Ross Erickson of the Brown County Drug Enforcement Task Force

This last week there was a lot going on at the Brown County Republicans Reagan Lunch. There were three guest speakers this week. First there was Ross Erickson to speak about drug enforcement in Brown County. Then US Senate Candidate Jason Ravnsberg spoke for a few minutes. Finally Aaron Pilcher of US Senate Candidate Larry Rhoden’s campaign spoke on behalf of his candidate. It was a very informative meeting.

Ross Erickson spoke on behalf of the Brown County Drug Enforcement Task Force. Mr Erickson works for the Brown County Sherrif’s office. Also on the task force is Detective Bunke, an officer from the Aberdeen Police Department. Erickson said there is quite a problem with marijuana in the area, possibly because of its legal availability in Colorado. But he considers Meth to be a worse problem overall.

Personally I think the war on drugs has created more unintended consequences than it has ever helped. But I keep an open mind on everything and thought Erickson did a good job during the Q&A session. Here are some of Ericksons takeaways from his Q&A:

  • When asked about illegal uses of prescription drugs he acknowledged that has become a large problem. Erickson said it is very hard to build a case against illegal prescription drug trade.
  • Erickson was asked if he thinks marijuana or alcohol is worse. He answered by saying none of them are good for you.
  • When asked about industrial hemp Erickson said he had no opinion on the matter. But he did say a new industry could be good for South Dakota. He didn’t even seem worried about hemp growers hiding marijuana in their fields. As he says, it will be grown no matter what.
  • A question came up asking whether Brown County has more or less drugs than other counties in South Dakota. Erickson stated that Brown has about equal or higher drug related cases than counties of similar size.
  • Erickson was then asked if most of the meth was made locally, or imported. I was surprised to find out very little of the meth they find actually comes from local sources. Apparently most of the illegal meth comes from Mexico.
  • One questioner asked if middle schools or high schools had a drug problem. In his view the high school is a “breeding ground’ for drug use.
  • When asked about synthetics drugs (designer drugs very similar to cannabis) he said these types of drugs are on the up-rise. Synthetics are particularly sought out by those on probation because they don’t stay in the blood as long. Governor Duagaard had just signed HB 1024 into law, adding even more ‘designer drugs’ to Schedule 1 prohibited drugs.
US Senate Candidate Jason Ravnsberg

US Senate Candidate Jason Ravnsberg

Next up was US Senate candidate Jason Ravnsberg, who currently resides in Yankton. Ravnsberg started off quoting from Reagan’s famous ’64 speech “A time for choosing”. Opening like that can never go wrong at a Republican event.

Ravnsberg said that while traveling the state he has been meeting many voters frustrated with the current politicians in DC. He also noted that few people he has met with had chosen a favorite candidate in the Republican primary. He didn’t speak directly about the other Republicans in the race, but did speak about Weiland and Pressler. I agree with Ravnsberg when he said choosing Democrat candidate Rick Weiland would be the same as choosing status quo politicians. He also said that Pressler being in the race will divide voters. Personally I don’t think Pressler will have any impact on the race.

As to specifics, Ravnsberg said he supports the Mack Penny Plan. I think the penny plan is an interesting idea. Unfortunately it won’t work with status quo politicians. They can’t even show the backbone to keep spending under the debt ceiling. There is no way they would have the fiscal willpower to cut all spending (even if it really is such a small amount).

Some other takeaways from Ravnsberg:

  • He is completely against Obamacare, but does support the Patient CARE Act that was proposed by Burr/Coburn/Hatch. I haven’t looked too much into the Patient CARE Act (PCA), but it is MUCH smaller than Obamacare and less intrusive on the free market. The PCA includes parts of ACA that many say are ‘essential’ such as covering preexisting conditions and covering children up to age 26. I’m not really sold on the PCA, but it is another idea out there.
  • Ravnsberg says businesses need stability, and that Obamacare has created too much instability for businesses to expand.
  • He is a huge proponent of government accountability and a balanced budget.
  • He also said it is very important for Republicans to take back the Senate in 2014. That would balance the overreach of power from a president that overuses mandates.
  • He also said after the primary all Republicans needs to come together to meet that goal of taking back the Senate.
  • When asked about the farm bill Ravnsberg said he was glad it was passed, but was not happy it was filled with so much pork.
  • Finally he said he was not asking for people to vote for him, rather was asking to earn votes from people.

The last speaker was Aaron Pilcher, representing the Rhoden for US Senate campaign. Pilcher kept it very short and got some key bullet points from the Rhoden campaign out there. Here are some of the takeaways from Pilcher’s portion:

  • This is a ‘important election’. I would agree with that…
  • He said the EPA is hurting farmers and ranchers.
  • Rhoden supports a Balanced Budget Amendment
  • Rhoden would suspend all pay for congressmen until a budget is passed.
  • He would also support a lobbyist ban  after serving in Congress. Daschle in particular was brought up as an example.

Overall it was an interesting meeting. Also of note in local news, Tom Wanttie was in attendance asking for signatures to run for Brown County Auditor. I would recommend anyone in the Aberdeen area attend the Brown County Republicans Reagan Lunches. They are held on the second Thursday and usually have some great guest speakers in attendance.

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  1. Merlyn Schutterle
    February 16, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I like them there fellers what gets all slicked up in them nice suits and tells me how wonderful they are, and if we just give them power, they will solve all the problems

    .Is Oprah on? Damn! I think I may have missed something important while reading what these dudes said which was pretty much nuthin’.

    • February 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Never expect to hear anything profound at these meetings. Just passing on what they say for other constituents to hear.

  2. Reagan Republican
    February 18, 2014 at 11:21 am

    You are a good man Ken. I wish that more people advocated for their beliefs like you.

    What I wish for most in life is that everyone who believes in making this country better acted on that passion. I wish that the people who find the time to listen to talk radio or educate themselves about politics and found themselves concerned about the direction of our country would find the time and desire to get involved in a campaign for a candidate they believed in (at any level). Cynicism is the most dangerous attitude we can have. It leads to giving in or thinking we can’t make a difference. There are too few people involved in politics at every level in every state in this country. No matter how frustrated people are the only way to change anything is to get involved.

    “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” RKF Capetown 1966

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