Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > Rounds and Krebs at the Victory Office Grand Opening in Huron

Rounds and Krebs at the Victory Office Grand Opening in Huron

July 8, 2014
Ribbon Cutting ceremony for the Victory campaign office in Huron. Photo by Ken Santema

Ribbon Cutting ceremony for the Victory campaign office in Huron. Photo by Ken Santema

Yesterday in Huron there was a Grand Opening for the James River Valley Republicans Victory Office. This new office (which is just north of the Crossroads) will act as a volunteer center for those in the Huron area. Since both US Senate candidate Mike Rounds and SOS candidate Shantel Krebs were confirmed to attend I thought it would be worth the drive down to Huron and hear what they had to say.

The event opened with Joshua Haeder, of the Beadle County Republicans, making a few standard party GOP remarks. He mentioned people are tired of Reid controlling the Senate (I sure am), the fact that Obama is the least liked modern President, and that a Senator Weiland would side with Obama on all issues. I find some irony in his third statement because Weiland actually seems to be distancing himself from Obama. And earlier today David Montgomery noted former Republican Senator and current Independent Senate candidate Larry Pressller is actually trying to attach himself to Obama. I wonder if Rounds should be running against Pressler instead of Weiland…

Most of Rounds speech centered around building a good campaign team across the state. He wants to keep the race clean and get his message out to voters. There were also some standard GOP lines, which I won’t bother reporting on. Instead I will focus on his statements regarding education.

While speaking Rounds gave the standard GOP (and libertarian) line of getting rid of the federal Department of Education (DOE). He said block grants could then be sent out to the states for education. Later I spoke with Rounds about this and asked if he had any more specific plans as to what would happen if the DOE could actually be disbanded. Specifically I wanted to know about the block grants. He didn’t have a specific plan, but he said the federal government already uses formulas to distribute transportation funding to the States. Such a method could be created and utilized to distribute education block grants. Rounds also noted such a method would save taxpayers millions of dollars by eliminating the vast amount of DOE jobs; a good majority of which are $100,000+ per year positions. He also leaned on his experience as an ex-Governor to note that the state equivalents of the DOE are over-staffed because of federal DOE requirements. By getting the federal DOE completely out of the picture it would not only reduce federal spending, but allow states to better focus their education dollars on actual education.

I can understand why Rounds is going this route. It is unlikely Congress could ever get rid of the DOE without a replacement plan for the federal dollars in place. Personally I would rather get rid of the DOE, and force states (including South Dakota) to completely fund public education on their own. But, at least going down the path Rounds proposes would get public education closer to local control than it is now. It was also good to hear him be specific about the grants being “block grants”. Block grants would be preferred in this case because they wouldn’t come with specific requirements; only general provisions are allowed with block grants.

Rounds also spoke with me about Common Core. He believes Common Core is state initiated and that the federal government came in after it was gaining popularity and has been trying to take control of the education initiative. Rounds also stated he believes states (including South Dakota) can pull out of Common Core anytime they wish. I don’t agree with Rounds assessment. But at least he isn’t running away from the topic. I really expected him to avoid talking Common Core.

I also spent a few minutes speaking with Secretary of State (SOS) candidate Shantel Kreb. I plan on doing more in-depth interviews with all three SOS candidates later this summer, so this is not an in-depth report of what Krebs would do as SOS. Overall she wants to focus the SOS office on better customer service. Krebs has been talking to voters, business owners, county auditors, gun owners, and many other stakeholders that utilize the SOS office. She has been compiling lists of what people think are wrong or could be improved at the SOS office. At the same time she has been going to the County Auditor meetings and taking their same training. Actually she is so immersed in the SOS job that it almost seems as if she has the office already. Hopefully the Democrat candidate Angelia Shultz and Constitution Party candidate Lori Stacy are taking the race serious. If not this election may be a complete domination by Krebs. Right now she looks like a good SOS candidate, but without more info from all three candidates it’s too early to say which candidate would best fit the office.

Overall my conversation with Rounds and Krebs went pretty well. I still don’t like Rounds on a lot of issues, but at least he is willing to speak with bloggers such as myself that have opposing viewpoints. Hopefully he will be accessible after he wins the Senate race this fall. And as for Krebs, well.. All I can say is that Schultz and Stacey are going to have to work hard to bring the energy to the race that Krebs has (The Energizer Bunny comes to mind).

PS. If anyone knows of any political events of any type in NE South Dakota please pass it on to me. I can only go to events and do posts about them if I find out about them!

  1. Individualist
    July 8, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Nice reporting Ken. The North East region is lucky to have you covering political events.

    • July 9, 2014 at 3:46 am

      Its fun traveling to these events. Candidates in this state are so much more accessible than in other states I’ve lived in over the years.

  2. Joshua Haeder
    July 8, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Thanks for coming to our grand opening. It was a pleasure meeting you and having good conversation.

    • July 9, 2014 at 3:46 am

      Yeah, it was a good night. And now I know where to get a good sandwich while vising Huron.

  3. Donkey Hunter
    July 8, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Rounds most certainly impressed me at the event, I had been leaning towards Rounds before but am on board now! I was happy to see the Governor take a constitutional/conservative stance on several issues he discussed including education and the 2nd Amendment. Also he mentioned some of the intentions of the founders and how we need to get back to those principles. I think Mike will be a huge improvement from what we have now with Johnson.

    • July 9, 2014 at 3:48 am

      I’ve talked with a few fence-sitters lately that have decided to go with Rounds after meeting him. I’m not there. But I do think he has really focused himself in a conservative direction that will allow Republicans in South Dakota to rally behind him.

  1. August 5, 2014 at 11:12 am
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