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Mike Myers at the SDLP convention

August 22, 2014 3 comments
Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers speaking at the SDLP convention. Photo by Ken Santema

Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers speaking at the SDLP convention. Photo by Ken Santema

One of the guest speakers for the South Dakota Libertarian Party (SDLP) convention this year was Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers. Myers is always an interesting person to speak with and listen to. This event was no different.

Myers opened saying he has a pancake platform. This basically means he has the best parts of all parties. Such an approach may do well with libertarians, because libertarian beliefs cross over with each side of the political spectrum on a variety of issues. I’ve said before that Myers is almost libertarian, and after seeing him in Sioux Falls I feel it would be more appropriate to call him truly independent. Myers himself said he really doesn’t like labels though. If he had to actually label himself it would be ‘populist’.

One of the more interesting portions of the Myers speech was when he talked about industrial hemp. During the whole campaign Myers has touted the benefits to the agricultural industry in South Dakota by allowing producers to grow industrial hemp. While talking about hemp Myers went to the back of the room and asked Independent US Senate candidate Larry Pressler if he supported industrial hemp. Pressler only said “I shall answer that question later”. It would have been great if Pressler had answered that…

Going back to his campaign, Myers mentioned three planks that are important to him: good education, good healthcare, and good government.

When talking about good education Myers mentioned his long tenure as a professor at a law school. He believes he might have helped create the current corrupt system while teaching there. Myers has spoken about this before. Myers has seen first hand the problem with higher education in this State.

In his talking about healthcare Myers promoted his healthcare co-op. He said the exchanges are one part of ACA that is actually kinda good. But he would go a step further and transform the exchanges into a co-op system that was truly consumer-based. Myers also talked about Iatrogenesis. Iatrogenesis is basically anything that goes wrong with a patient due to errors made on the part of a physician, or in this case a healthcare system. He contends that more people are hurt just by going into a clinic and saying “I don’t feel good”. Myers says the current system run by Avera and Sanford are not patient-centered, but centered around doing more procedures.

As to good government, Myers said he wants a Lt Governor that is a woman. He believes such balance is needed. He also said the Lt Governor should be someone who has been to Pierre. That would explain his choice of Lora Hubbel as a running-mate. She fits the bill on both counts. Personally I don’t see what the sex of a candidate has to do with anything, but Myers appears to think it is important.

Finally, Myers mentioned EB-5. He thinks Rounds should be held accountable for the money lost in the program. Myers also says a truly independent prosecutor is needed to investigate EB-5. Part of me thought he should also have included Daugaard in his remarks, that is his opponent after all.

Overall I thought Myers was an interesting speaker for the SDLP convention. There are some issues I think he really doesn’t have enough detail on, but it is a long way until November 4. He has plenty of time to fill in the blanks.

Five of six Libertarian candidates certified by SD Secretary of State

August 19, 2014 Comments off

sdlpYesterday Jason Gant, the SD Secretary of State, certified five of the six candidates submitted for constitutional offices this fall. I’ve listed all six candidates in a previous post, and included a few thoughts. With Gants certification of five candidates here is the current lineup for the constitutional offices on this falls ballot:

South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (6 yr)

Constitution Party – Wayne Schmidt
Democrat Party – David Allen
Republican Party – Gary Hanson

South Dakota Secretary of State (4 yr)

Constitution Party – Lori Stacey
Libertarian Party – Emmett Reistroffer
Democrat Party – Angelia Schultz
Republican Party – Shantel Krebs

South Dakota Attorney General (4 yr)

Libertarian Party – Chad Haber
Republican Party – Marty Jackley

South Dakota State Auditor (4 yr)

Libertarian Party – Kurt Evans
Republican Party – Steve Barnett

South Dakota Commissioner of School and Public Lands (4 yr)

Libertarian Party – John English
Republican Party – Ryan Brunner

South Dakota Treasurer (4 yr)

Libertarian Party – Ken Santema
Democrat Party – Denny Pierson
Republican Party – Rich Sattgast

There are some potential changes. The Libertarian PUC candidate Ryan Gaddy was not certified by Gant. According to Gant’s letter, Gaddy was not allowed because he did not properly change his party registration in time. I’ve seen on Facebook that Gaddy will be fighting this decision. His lawyer might have some success showing that the will of the voters (party members in this case) are what comes first. If anything does happen it will have to be soon. The time to print ballots is quickly approaching.

The other problem area is Haber as the Libertarian candidate for AG. There are multiple members of the SD Libertarian Party that were not happy with the moves made by Haber to receive the nomination. I have a feeling Haber’s ballot status will be questioned right up to the time ballots are printed. In this matter I have been pretty neutral. Before the convention I was against Haber, but now I just want to move forward and focus on areas that don’t involve publicity for the sake of publicity.

At least no constitutional officer race is going uncontested. It is definitely going to be an election season to remember…

New executive committee coming out of the SDLP convention

August 11, 2014 Comments off
Emmett Reistroffer was chosen as the new SDLP State Chair. Photo by Ken Santema.

Emmett Reistroffer was chosen as the new SDLP State Chair. Photo by Ken Santema.

This previous Saturday the South Dakota Libertarian Party held its state convention in Sioux Falls, SD. That day I posted the state constitutional offices which were filled during the convention. In this post I will focus on the new executive committee for the state party. The five spots to fill in this convention were the State Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, West-River At-large Representative, and the East-River At-large Representative. These five officers are the core of the executive committee.

There were twenty-one voting members present in the morning for this portion of the convention. A couple of the voting members were present via GoToMeeting over the Internet.

Following is the results of the voting for the executive committee. It is worth noting that the SDLP allows None Of The Above (NOTA) to win an election; although that did not actually happen in any of these election votes.

State Chair – Emmett Reistroffer – Emmett was the only person nominated to the position and won the vote overwhelmingly. After accepting the position Reistroffer said he wants to bring the state party up to the next level. He will also focus on regaining party status in SD after it is lost this year.

Vice-Chair – Samuel Saunders – Saunders is the outgoing State Chair. He was the only one nominated and won with no opposition. His staying on the committee as Vice-Chair should make the transition much easier for Reistroffer.

Treasurer – Nathan Barton – Nathan was the previous Treasurer. He had not opposition in keeping this position. His being retained will also help the party retain knowledge as Emmett tries to grow the party.

West-River At-large Member – Bob Newland – Bob won this position with no opposition. He has been working with the SDLP for a long time and is a good resource to have on the committee because of his knowledge of how things work.

East-River At-large Member – Lee Stranahan – Lee Stranahan, Ron Leeper, and Ken Santema were all nominated. Stranahan won the nomination 9-4-5. Stranahan is a media guy and new to South Dakota. He would like to draw upon his experience to grow the party. He also reached out to Ron and Ken (that’s me) to help him in his new position.

Overall I think this lineup should work well for the state party. I think it is great to have someone with Reistroffer’s youth and energy leading the committee. With enough work the SDLP can maybe start fielding legislative candidates in 2016 or 2018. That will be a true test to see if the party can create some competition to the Republican Party in South Dakota. With the Democrat Party mostly absent in South Dakota it might be the time for Libertarian Party move out of third-party status in this state over the next decade.

PS. Also during the morning a new party platform was partially vetted. That was eventually deferred to the executive committee to go through.

SD Libertarian Party fills all Constitutional offices for the fall ballot

August 9, 2014 5 comments

sdlpToday the South Dakota Libertarian Party held its state convention in Sioux Falls South Dakota. It was an interesting event; one which will give me a series of blog posts to do over the next week. This post will focus on the Constitutional offices that were filled by the Libertarians at this event. This post won’t have much details in it; that will have to wait for a couple of days when I have more time.

Here are the candidates that are going to be on the ballot this fall. This list is compiled in the order their nominations were completed.

South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (6 yr) – Ryan Gaddy. Ryan is a Sioux Falls area activist. His opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and support of keeping the Internet unregulated are notable stances. He will be facing incumbent Republican Gary Hansen, Constitution Party Candidate Wayne Schmidt, and Democrat candidate David Allen.

South Dakota Secretary of State (4 yr) – Emmett Reistroffer. Emmett is a Sioux Falls area political activist with experience in elections. He can draw on his election experience in an attempt to improve the election process within the State. His battle will be tough however. The Republican candidate, Shantel Krebs, is very intelligent and hard-working. Plus there are two other candidates that have the potential of gaining support if voters every hear from them: Lori Stacy of the Constitution Party and Angelia Schultz of the Democrat Party.

South Dakota Attorney General (4 yr) – Chad Haber. This was an odd choice. Many had hoped to block his attempt at winning the AG nomination (including me). He will draw on the experience of him and his wife being targeted by the current AG to show a non-lawyer should hold the position. Law does not require the AG to be a lawyer, and in fact Haber makes the case that perhaps a watchdog AG that isn’t part of the current legal system would be better. I am still undecided about his attainment of this office. I will try to keep an open mind, but also keep a close eye on his campaign. Maybe he will surprise us doubters and end up being a great candidate…. It should be noted that Haber is the only competition to the current Republican AG Jackley on this falls ballot.

South Dakota State Auditor (4 yr) – Kurt Evans. Earlier in the AG debate Evans had focused on transparency in Pierre. I believe he will draw upon transparency as a top issue in the Auditor race. Kurt is the only candidate running against incumbent Steve Barnett.

South Dakota Commissioner of School and Public Lands (4 yr)  – John English. English was an unexpected surprise at the convention. He spoke of Austrian economics and seems quite capable to run for this position. His opposition is the current Deputy Commissioner Ryan Brunner.

South Dakota Treasurer (4 yr) – Ken Santema – Astute regular readers of this blog may notice that is my name. Yes, I am the candidate for treasurer. I have experience in the accounting industry and have ideas to improve the unclaimed properties procedures. Also in this race is the incumbent Republican Richard Sattgast and Democrat candidate Dennis Pierson.

With those six positions filled the Libertarian Party of South Dakota was able to place a candidate in each of the Constitutional offices. That is somewhat notable because even the South Dakota Democrat Party was not able to attain that status. It is not all roses for the SD Libertarian Party however. After the election this fall the SDLP will have to collect signatures to regain official party status. The party will lose its status after 2014 because it failed to field a candidate in the gubernatorial race. Plus I’ve already gone on record to say South Dakota will likely remain very red after the election this fall. I still feel that is true. Yet I do think there is a chance at least one of the Libertarian candidates can pull out a surprise victory (perhaps a long-shot, but yes it is possible). No matter what, I am happy the Libertarian Party was able to step up and make sure no office goes unopposed. The democratic voting process works if voters have actual choices on the ballot.

A post of random thoughts before the SD Libertarian convention

August 7, 2014 7 comments

sdlpIn two days the SD Libertarian Party will have its state convention in Sioux Falls. The event details can be viewed on this Facebook event. Today my family will meet the foreign exchange student from Denmark we will be hosting for the school year. As part of that I will be taking the next day and half off from work and blogging. So this will be my last post before the convention starts. I thought I would just pass on some random thoughts about the convention. Since these thoughts are random and time is short I’m gonna fall back on a bad habit and use an un-ordered list.

  • The one part of the convention I’m looking forward to is hearing what the three Independent candidates chosen as guest speakers have to say. I have a feeling this will be the highlight of the event.
  • Some people have been pretty tough on Ryan Gaddy for announcing he wants to run for State Auditor. He has been called a number of names. He definitely has an in-your-face style, but that doesn’t mean he should instantly be discarded as a candidate before hearing him out. To those voting I would just ask that he be listened to. If nobody runs against him and the majority still dislike him, the None Of The Above option can prevail. I personally don’t know how I will vote. I am waiting to speak with Gaddy in person before making any final decisions.
  • Blogger Cory H over at Madville Times has withdrawn his intention to become a candidate for AG. Chad Haber remains in the race. I do think Haber makes a good possible case that the AG position shouldn’t be a lawyer, and instead act more as a watchdog. But I can’t say that means he is the right non-lawyer to be chosen AG. With longtime Libertarian Party member Kurt Evans in the race I believe there will be an interesting decision to make. Haber touts his ability to fund-raise as one of the reasons to vote for him, while Evans touts the fact he isn’t doing this for publicity reasons and has been a supporter of the party for a long time.
  • Emmett Reistroffer has announced his intention to run for SOS. I almost wonder if he shouldn’t stop that plan and instead focus on the idea of running against Brunner in the Commissioner of School and Public Lands race. Over the last year I’ve heard a few legislators mention getting rid of the CSPL altogether. Reistroffer may be the right person to implement a plan similar to the one proposed by Todd Epp.

I plan to live-tweet the event and do blog posts about the Convention throughout the following week. It should be an interesting time.

PS. Also coming out next week will be a blog post about an interview I did with Republican SOS candidate Shantel Krebs and anything political I find interesting at the Brown County Fair.

Three Independent candidates will be guest speakers at the SD Libertarian Party Convention

August 7, 2014 2 comments

sdlpThe South Dakota Libertarian Party State Convention is coming up this Saturday, August 9, in Sioux Falls. The tentative agenda for the convention and details can be found on this Facebook event. In this post I thought it would be worthwhile to mention the three guest speakers for the event. All three guest speakers are running as Independent candidates and have various perspectives. The guests announced on the SDLP event page are: gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers, District 15 House candidate Eric Leggett, and US Senate candidate Larry Pressler. It is an interesting mix of speakers.

I’ve written about Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers a number of times. One thing I really like about Myers is his almost libertarian-like approach to issues. I hope he will focus on the current ballot access lawsuit he has initiated against the Secretary of State office. Independent candidates share the same problems of ballot access as do other non-status-quo parties such as the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party. Libertarians should be supporting Myers in his pursuit of ballot access equality. Plus if he can keep focused the convention audience may be able to hear about some of his libertarian-leaning ideas. From my perspective Myers is by far the best choice of the three candidates in the gubernatorial race. Daugaard is the current Republican incumbent that makes the case for a more libertarian governor. And the Democrat candidate? Well, Susan is unlikely to get any votes beyond those that would vote for only a Democrat anyway…

The District 15 Independent House candidate, Eric Leggett, is someone I’ve been looking forward to meeting. I’ve heard from more than a few people he is one to watch if he makes it to Pierre. As a newcomer to politics it will be interesting to hear his perspective about running as an Independent candidate. The other two candidates in the District 15 House race, Kirschman and Soli, are both Democrats. Libertarians might do well to support Legget if he proves to have enough libertarian stances.  But I’ll wait until I meet him to determine if the good words I’ve heard about him live up to reality.

Finally Independent US Senate candidate Larry Pressler has just been confirmed as a guest speaker. Honestly I think Pressler is an odd choice for guest speaker. I don’t see where he fits in with libertarianism very well. But as a political blogger I am happy to finally get the chance to hear Pressler speak in person. So if nothing else it will be worth it for me personally; even if I can’t see what he can offer the Libertarian Party…

I hope to do blog posts detailing what each guest speaker had to say. Somehow I feel at least two of these speakers will be very interesting indeed. The SD Libertarian Party state convention may actually have more news coming out of it than the Republican and Democrat conventions had.

None of the Above looking like a good option for SD Libertarian AG

July 22, 2014 1 comment

vote_no_iconThe South Dakota Libertarian Party is holding its state convention in Sioux Falls on August 9th. One of the agenda items for this convention is filling the Attorney General slot so current AG Marty Jackley does not run unopposed this fall. Whoever the Libertarian Party runs has to be true opposition, and not someone doing so for political opportunism or a publicity stunt. I have heard there are a couple of lawyers who are entertaining the idea of entering the race. That would be welcome. Unfortunately there are other options that make me cringe.

First there is Chad Haber; husband of former Republican US Senate candidate Annette Bosworth. Right now he appears to be a bad candidate. I won’t go into all of allegations against him. Anyone can do a Google search for ‘Chad Haber scam’ and come up with a variety of potential scandals involving Haber if he were to become a candidate. If these allegations are all false and Haber is the victim of political targeting then he needs to work on clearing that mess up first. But as of right now he is a candidate that brings more harm to the Libertarian Party banner than any potential good he would bring. Because I do try to be fair I will speak with and listen to Haber at the Convention. Maybe he has some piece of information I am missing that will make me change my mind. I doubt it, but it is possible.

A second option comes from the flagship liberal blog in South Dakota known as Madville Times. Blogger Cory Heidelberger throws his name into the hat for Libertarian AG. I think he is doing this a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I’ll address his potential candidacy anyway. I agree with Cory in that he has been doing a great job with posts highlighting why Jackley is a bad AG. And I also think he has done some great political investigative blogging over the last few years in which I have followed his blog. But nothing leads me to believe he would be a good choice to be an AG. Especially an AG representing a party he only half agrees with. Cory doesn’t bring the baggage that Haber does; but ‘lack of baggage’ and ‘good blogger’ do not add to being a good candidate for the top legal office in the State. Personally I wish he would have run in the State Auditor position against Barnett for the Democrats, but that is a different post…

Luckily today Bob Newland pointed out on Facebook that  “NOTA” (None of the Above) is an option in during the convention. Here is the relevant section from Article V of the SDLP By-Laws:

Section 5. Majority Rule. In any Party or ExCom election, the members always have the right to vote for “NONE OF THE ABOVE.” If “NONE OF THE ABOVE” wins a majority of the voters cast, nominations will be reopened. The office may be filled by reopening nominations and holding another vote.

Before knowing about this option I had thought about putting my name out there; basically to ensure Haber doesn’t make the ballot. This is a much better option. NOTA can actually prevent a candidate from being nominated. If nobody is found to run against Haber I could see voting for NOTA. An unopposed Jackley actually sounds much better than ‘Libertarian candidate Chad Haber’. Now if Cory runs that might get some people to vote for him. I wouldn’t, but I will admit Heidelberger being a Libertarian Party candidate would be much less damaging to the SDLP than Haber would be.

It is going to be an interesting convention to be sure…

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