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Video of the Brown County Dems Front Porch Forum

November 7, 2015 Comments off
Front Porch Forum hosted by Brown County Democrats. Photo by Ken Santema 110515.

Front Porch Forum hosted by Brown County Democrats. Photo by Ken Santema 110515.

On November 5, 2015,  the Brown County Democrats held a Front Porch Conversations Community Forum in Aberdeen. This was a chance for the public to interact with various Democrat personalities. The forum was moderated by Sharon Stroschein, who was a long-time staffer for Senator Johnson and perhaps could also be called a local Democrat celebrity.

The Front Porch panel consisted of the following five individuals:

  • Cory Heidelberger – Dakota Free Press blogger
  • Ann Tornberg – South Dakota Democratic Party (SDDP) Chair
  • Susan Wismer – 2014 Democrat gubernatorial candidate and former District 1 State Representative.
  • Kathy Tyler – Former District 4 State Representative.
  • Sen Billie Sutton (D, Dist 21) SD State Senate Minority Leader

Due to other events going on I won’t likely have any time to blog about the front porch event. But I was able to attend and capture the event on video. The event can be viewed on YouTube or in the embedded video below.

PS. Going forward I may end up posting more videos like this. Especially for events where traditional media doesn’t show up.

Guess who won the Brown County Democrats raffle for a gun?

September 11, 2014 6 comments
Brown County Democrat chair Jennifer Slaight-Hansen presenting a gun to libertarian blogger Ken Santema.

Brown County Democrat Chair Jennifer Slaight-Hansen presenting a gun to libertarian blogger Ken Santema.

At the Brown County Fair the Democrats booth had one heck of a raffle drawing. The prize in this raffle drawing was a Ruger Red Label Over Under 12 Gauge shotgun. Last year the gun being raffled was a Stevens Model 512 Gold Wing 12-gauge shotgun. That gun was won by Brown County Republicans Chair Jason Williams. This years the raffle drawing was won by none other than the author of this blog!

The Chair of the Brown County Democrats, Jennifer Slaight-Hansen, was very gracious about the fact that a Democrat once again failed to win the drawing. When I received a voice mail from Slaight-Hansen earlier this week I figured it was to let me know about a candidate event coming up. Nope instead it was to let me know I had won the raffle and a time needed to be setup so the gun could be transferred to me.

And yes, being a good Democrat she made sure a licensed dealer handled the transfer and made sure I am legally able to receive the gun.

Now I have proof for my wife that it pays off to hang out in the political booths at fairs!

PS. To make this even more of a coincidence with last year. Jason Williams happens to be my wife’s cousin. It is a small world.

PPS. Too many jokes about the Democrats arming a libertarian came to mind…

Brown County Democrats Dollar-a-Month Club Meeting on Sept 12

September 11, 2014 1 comment
Louie Liebig & Dennis Feickert at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema.

Louie Liebig & Dennis Feickert at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema.

Since I tend to bring attention to Brown County Republican events I thought it would be only fair that I bring attention to Brown County Democrat events as well.

Tomorrow, September 12, the Brown County Democrats will be hosting their Dollar-a-Month Club Meeting at the Pizza Ranch in Aberdeen. This luncheon will start earlier than normal, candidates will begin speaking at 11:15, so if you are attending I would plan on being there at 11:00. The special guests at this event are three Democrats running for Brown County Commissioner: incumbent Tom Fischbach, incumbent-like Paul Dennert, and newcomer Louie Liebig. This is a race to watch on the county level. Dennerts entry into the race makes it very competitive for the Democrats.

I would urge Aberdeen area voters that support Democrat candidates to attend this event. Actually I would imagine they would welcome anyone willing to listen to their candidates. The political process works best when more voters are actually engaged!

Brown County Democrats holding a meet and greet fundraiser with a full lineup of candidates

June 18, 2014 4 comments
Democrat gubernatorial candidate Susan Wismer speaking in Brookings

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Susan Wismer speaking in Brookings

This upcoming Tuesday, June 24, the Brown County Democrats are holding a Meet and Greet Fundraiser that includes a full lineup of candidates running for office this fall. I think this a great chance for those of us living in the NE portion of the state to meet with some of the candidates. It is also a chance to show support (give money) to candidates that are worthy. I plan to attend the event and hope to see a good crowd show up to hear from the candidates. I may not support many (if any) of these candidates; but I do support people getting involved in politics and actually interacting with candidates. I’m hoping the Brown County Republicans can do a similar event this summer!

Here is the info released by the Brown County Democrats:

You’re invited to the Brown County Democrats General Election Campaign Kick-off Meet and Greet Fundraiser

Tuesday, June 24th
5:30 – 8:30 pm
at the Eagles Club
316 S Second Street, Aberdeen

No admission will be charged.
Instead we ask that you contribute to the individual candidates.

The Eagle’s Grill will be open for you to order of the menu.

We will bring the dessert!
Candidates will be addressing the group beginning at 7 pm.

Please stop by to wish them well, give them some political advice, or talk about the issues facing South Dakota.

These wonderful candidates are up for the challenge but they will need your help!

If you cannot attend the kick-off, please mail your campaign contribution. If you make checks to individual candidates, we’ll distribute them for you. Or write one check to the Brown County Democrats and we’ll divide it among the candidates.
Mail checks to:
Brown County Democrats
PO Box 1092
Aberdeen, SD 57402

Candidates expected to attend include:
Susan Wismer, South Dakota Governor Candidate
Chuck Welke, Incumbent State Senate, District 2 Candidate
Natasha Noethlich, State House, District 2 Candidate
John Graham, State House, District 2 Candidate
Mark Remily, State Senate, District 3 Candidate
Burt Ellliott, State House, District 3 Candidate
Pat Hale, State House, District 3 Candidate
Tom Fischbach, Incumbent, Brown County Commission Candidate
Paul Dennert, Brown County Commission Candidate
Louie Liebig, Brown County Commission Candidate
Maxine Fischer, Incumbent Brown County Auditor Candidate

The regular monthly meeting of the Brown County Democrats will precede this event beginning at 5:00 pm at the same location.

What political professions do people think are more honest

December 17, 2013 1 comment

Gallup has posted some interesting poll results relating to honesty and ethics for professions. There are results for 22 professions broken down by party line and also broken down by age. The whole list is interesting but I will highlight a few political professions I think are worth noting.

galluppoliceofficers

There is a 24% difference in the honesty/ethics of police officers between Republicans (68%) and Democrats (44%). It isn’t surprising that many view police officers as being dishonest. Over the last few years there has been a notable increase in the number of stories about police raids gone wrong, places such as New York City doing stop and frisks on minorities, and police unions protecting officers when they are caught doing wrong. Personally I believe most police officers are honest and truly wish to serve and protect the public. I don’t find it surprising then than Republicans would generally believe police officers are more honest. Yet I am surprised that so many Democrats find officers to be dishonest or ethically lacking. Police officers do not make laws or create the system that is abused by a few amongst them. The job of police officers is to enforce laws and ordinances created by bureaucrats within the very government that Democrats profess to want more of. I find this probably the most interesting divide in this poll.

gallupofficeholders

The difference between local officeholders and state officeholders in another interesting poll finding. But in this case I would focus more on the independent numbers. Independents are more likely to think any local or state officeholder is dishonest. This is especially true for state officeholders. Only about one in ten independent respondents believe state officeholders can be trusted. It would be interesting to see this poll done in South Dakota with the current GOED/EB-5 investigation going on? I wonder if even 10% of independent or Democrat respondents would have faith in the honesty of state officeholders. Also worth noting is that people age 55 and older are less likely to believe local and state officeholders are honest.

galluplobbyists

The last response I would like to look at is members of Congress and lobbyists. The difference between the groups isn’t as interesting as the overall low numbers both groups get. I do find it odd that Independents would have a little more faith in the honesty of Congress members. This is counter to how they feel about local and state officials. Neither Congress or lobbyists are particularly trusted by these results. There are more Democrats that trust the honesty of lobbyists. I find that odd as I sit here and listen to Senate Democrats deride the new budget deal (which they have already said they will vote for) because it doesn’t remove tax breaks for special interest groups. I know the DC politicians of both party’s understand where these tax breaks come from, but do that many average Democrats not realize these tax breaks come from lobbyists? I find such trust for lobbyists from Democrats to be the most disheartening result found in this Gallup poll. Finally I would note that younger people are more likely to trust both members of Congress and lobbyists.

Overall I would say it is interesting that Republicans are more likely to trust police officers and local politicians. While Democrats are more likely to trust members of Congress and lobbyists. These results mirror the general perception that Democrats support a large central government while Republicans support more local control. It will be very interesting to see this poll again in a year after the 2014 election has completed. Will the divide be greater at that time? If I were a betting person I would put money a much larger divide after a very heated election.

Too bad Obama didn’t follow the Libertarian Platform on International Affairs

June 18, 2013 Comments off

logo_web_gifSince President Bush Obama is riddled with scandals, it appears time for him to enter the United States into a war we have no business getting involved with. It’s not a new move from Presidents. Things are looking bad at home so the President enters the country into a foreign war that will keep all of the Mainstream Media busy reporting on the war. While it may not be a bad move for him politically, it definitely is morally the wrong thing for Obama to do at this time!

For all those in the Democrat party that are tired of war-mongering Presidents I would offer an alternative path. Below is the Libertarian Party Platform excerpt for International Affairs. Notice how different this approach is from that of Bush/Obama:

3.3 International Affairs

American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements.  We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups.

Notice how it starts: American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Peace, it seems like a strange concept. At the very least it is a foreign concept to our current President. Oh well, maybe we will get someone truly worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize elected in 2016.

Democrat opposition to the Working Families Flexibility Act favors public over private employees

June 18, 2013 Comments off

faceless_familyA little over a month ago I posted about the House passing the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 (HR1406). The bill passed with a very partisan vote. Almost all Republicans voted Aye while almost all Democrats voted No. Personally I think this bill takes the wrong approach. Instead of increasing labor law I believe it would be better for employees and employers to reduce labor regulations; thus allowing greater flexibility for employers and employees to come up with such agreements on their own. However since that is not likely I think this bill should pass to equal labor law between the private and public sectors.

I happened to be at a payroll law seminar today and was quite surprised how few people realized this is an option for public sectors. (I’m sure it was a an accidental omission that those speaking out against the Working Families Flexibility Act usually fail to mention public sector employees have this option. Right?) There seemed to be a lot of confusion in this seminar as to why public sector employees should get this flexibility when private sector employees do not. To me there are two possible reasons Democrats are fighting against the Working Families Flexibility Act:

  1. Democrats believe public sector employees are a higher class of citizen and thus get more rights
  2. Democrats are using this bill as a political opportunity to fight against “evil business owners”

I don’t believe the first scenario to be true. However even if Democrat politicians don’t believe that public sector employees are a “higher class” than private sector employees; by the very action of voting against this bill they are continuing the unintended consequence of giving public sector employees more rights.

I do believe the second scenario is true. If Democrat politicians truly believed compensatory time was so “exploitative” of employees they would work to repeal section 7(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (pdf). That would remove this exploitative behavior used on public sector employees. Why aren’t Democrat politicians doing so? Because the backlash from public sector employees that use this right would be tremendous. No, Democrat politicians opposing compensatory time for private sectors is not about saving exploited workers. Rather it has everything to do with getting political points from their base by “fighting evil business owners”. What better way is there for Democrat politicians to gain political points than by standing up to “the man”. The fact Democrats have been opposing private sector compensatory bills for over a decade gives them a continuous issue to raise political points.

The bill is current stuck in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. I don’t really expect the bill to gain any traction soon. The Democrat controlled Senate simply cares more about gaining political points with its base than actually offering more flexibility to the private sector employees and employers that help build the economy.

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