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OP-ED “Who Do You Want To Be A Statesman or Just an Ordinary Politician?”
OP-ED submitted by Mike Zitterich of Sioux Falls

Politician vs Statesman - many people confuse the two words to mean, one or the other, but in reality, based on my research, "WE" are all politicians within the American Governing Process (AGP). America was founded on ideals and concepts of the ancient Greeks, of whom were led by the likes of Plato and Aristotle. But, if you refer to yourself as a "Statesman" you are saying that you are placing your community's needs above your own.

So what is the difference between a Politician and a Statesman?

Let's review the origins and meaning of each term-

Politics derived from the ancient Greek word "politeia" – means: POLIS – City-State

and from the verb politeuomai – which means "I am living as an active citizen of the polis."

If "Polis" means city-state, and politeuma is a verb that means we are living as active citizens of the city-state, then we are all doing so in order to protect our own life, liberty, and prosperity as it relates to the overall interests of the community? As my friend and statesman Bill Nees, a truck driver and former presidential candidate (2008) from the State of Georgia once asked me-

"Are we not all politicians today? If, at the very best, we wish to protect our own self interests as they relate to the everyday needs of the community we reside in... Wouldn't we commonly adopt rules, codes, and means of governing said community, in order to preserve to ourselves the right to life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness?"

Many confuse the word (politician) to mean having a "career" in politics, but I would argue that not all who run for public office or have a career in politics are in fact politicians. Rather, "every citizen" of this city and State is a politician, by root definition, for he or she plays an active role in their government with the intent to protect his or her interests. IF, a "politician" is someone who will protect his/her own interest, then ( as Mr Nees suggests) are we not ALL politicians by definition?



Conversely, a "statesman" is defined as someone versed in the principles or art of government. A wise, skillful, and respected political leader who is actively engaged in conducting the business of a government or in shaping its policies.

A "Statesman" is someone who places the interest of others above their own, and does not make a career out of politics, but actively works among political leaders to keep the people engaged within their governing process. A statesman does not make a career out of politics, but yet, remains engaged in the process or actively participates in the process of which the people play a direct role in their government. Statesman, by its own definition, means "all the people who wish to actively take the lead within our governing system."This could be an elected official, or could simply be a concerned citizen, who actively steps up to play a direct or indirect role in the democratic process today.

James Madison, the author of the Constitution wrote in Federalist #10 (1787) – "It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm: Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all, without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another, or the good of the whole."

Therefore, a Statesman is someone who chooses not to serve his/her own interest, but maintains an active role in politics in order to place the needs of the community above their own.



A Statesman does not do it for a paycheck, nor for reward, or for recognition. That person does so, because they are called upon by a personal ambition to get more involved in the daily needs of the community, and to actively take the lead within the political process of governing the city, state, or even the country.

Those people whom are grounded in, or bound by a specific faction, whether it is Republican, Democrat, or some other political party, are acting in a very narrow viewpoint of what the overall needs of any given community might be. George Washington famously warned future generations against a two party system.

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.”

As if Washington had a crystal ball, we have indeed divided this great country. On one side we have the Republican Kingdom and on the other side, we have the Democratic Kingdom, each serving their own masters.

Federalist Document #10, written by James Madison on November 22, 1787:

"As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to an uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results: And from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties." - James Madison (Founder of the U.S Constitution)

I believe we are all politicians, for we all want what is in our best interest as it relates to the city. However, the mark of a true statesman is an individual that strives to serve the needs of the many, while placing their own needs and desires aside.

"No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause; because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity." James Madison wrote.

Our founding fathers understood that man is inherently flawed, and imperfect. Our laws were written to limit government, because government is comprised of fallible and imperfect humans.

Patrick Henry was a brilliant orator whose devotion to the pursuit of liberty fueled the fire of the American Revolution. As a lawyer and a member of the Virginia House of Burgess, Henry spoke eloquently of the inalienable rights all men are born with. His philosophy inspired the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and, most significantly, the Bill of Rights. Famous for the line "Give me liberty or give me death!" Patrick Henry was a man who stirred souls and whose dedication to individual liberty became the voice of a country.

As we head to the polls this election - think to yourself, who among us are actively leading in the best interests of all residents? Who among us are actively partaking in a role, or our governing process with statesmen like conduct, decorum and solution oriented policies?

As we shape the city of Sioux Falls, and the state of South Dakota into a much better place for our children, please, lets become a carbon copy of the great Patrick Henry. Let us inspire within one another true statesmanship, and like our founders strive to create policies that benefit all, or limit the power of our inherently flawed government

Help Support Independent Journalism, Donate Today!

--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-04-15 16:47:28Last Update: 2022-04-21 21:12:29


OP-ED “Why I Am Voting For Bruce Whalen”
Submitted By-Crystal Paulson

The voters in South Dakota have a very important question that they must answer in the Primary Election on June 7, 2022. Do you want someone who will go to Washington DC and cast votes but does nothing to stand up for the people who live in South Dakota, someone who will follow the liberal side of the Republican party, or do you want someone who believes in the Founding documents and believes that we should follow the Constitution as it was written?

If you want to continue being represented by someone who has little knowledge or interest in the things that you want or need, then you should vote for anyone but Bruce Whalen because that is what you will get.



If you want representation that represents you, you should vote for Bruce Whalen. Bruce has spent his life living and working in one of the poorest areas of our state. He has studied our history and the Founding documents, so he knows and believes what is in them. He has spent the last 20 years of his life traveling across the state and getting to know the people who live in all areas. He knows from his own experience that the more government is involved in your life the less freedom you will have. He is committed to not just stopping the spread of Socialism that is making its way across the country, but to working to turn back the creep that has been happening for years. Bruce is dedicated to working to restore the freedoms that have been eroded over the years. It will be a hard battle, but he is up for it.

When you go to the polls on June 7th, don’t just look at what is said in an election year but look at the life experience of the candidate you will be voting for. Do his words and actions match?

Thank you. Crystal Paulson


Post Date: 2022-04-15 14:22:27Last Update: 2022-04-21 21:12:16


Ramsey County Fair Bailey Pro Rodeo
June 10-11, 2022

About Ramsey County Fair Bailey Pro Rodeo

The Ramsey County Fair Bailey Pro Rodeo is June 10 and 11, 2022, and is a professional rodeo conducted by Bailey Pro Rodeo.

Contact Address

619 Academy Rd. Devils Lake, ND 58301 Email

cindy.d.olson@ndsu.edu Phone

Contact Name- Cindy Olson

Phone Number-701.351.1639

Check it out on Facebook HERE

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-04-13 11:25:55Last Update: 2022-04-21 21:12:06


“Ordinary Americans Must Step-up”
Op-Ed Submitted by Lee Hulm

Well, God bless him! He's got a difficult task ahead. Unseating an entrenched incumbent is never easy, but Mark Mowry's "America First" campaign (for U. S. Senate in 2022) to replace long term Sen. John Thune in South Dakota is off and running. "We are in the final showdown for either a Constitutional Republic or a socialist regime. It's time to choose," says he, echoing the sentiments of millions of concerned Americans.

The ranch-raised South Dakotan is pro-life, pro-nuclear family, pro-2nd amendment (gun rights), and a major supporter of law enforcement. "I'm for American workers and American jobs, for a reduced federal government, for border integrity, and for national strength (a strong military)," Mr. Mowry declared to visitors at the Rapid City Stock Show, adding, "I'm not a globalist. I will stand up and speak out for America First values."

Which would be a refreshing change from the current assortment of weak-minded, timorous congressional elites who sat on their tongues all throughout the summer 2020 BLM and ANTIFA riots that saw both businesses and private assets looted and torched, innocent people unmercifully attacked, police officers under siege (with precincts set aflame), and millions of jobs and livelihoods literally gone up in smoke ... poof!

South Dakota's Thune, Rounds, and Johnson (plus McConnell, Sasse, Cheney, Fischer, Graham and others) owe the country a long overdue apology. Timidity in the face of evil is no virtue, and absence of action does not a caring, accountable legislator make! Politics and strange bedfellows, perhaps? Well, let's hope not! Remaining mum as villains lay waste to the rights, property, and privileges of others is a sin!



Frankly, the 2020 anarchy should have been stopped dead in its tracks. There's no excuse either for the carnage or for the tacit acceptance of spineless bureaucrats. If the cowards in congress and WOKE (Witlessness Overlapping Kooky Evildoing) generals had summoned up enough courage to back the president and rendered assistance to quell the rioting (and arrest and prosecute the thugs who perpetrated it), it would have ended PDQ.

Indeed, let's face facts! Hiding under one's desk is not acceptable. The responsibility for the Jan. 6 debacle at "The People's House" lies at the feet of our so-called representatives who stood by and let the 2020 mayhem drag on month after month. They could have stopped it! They had the power to act! That's why they were elected, for God's sake! Had they done their job, the Jan. 6 foolishness wouldn't have happened. It's on them, period!

Frustration (malfeasance of office generated, too) has consequences, which helps in explaining the sale of 16.5 million firearms (over 60 percent to women and to first time purchasers) in the last two years. Given the lesson from 2020 and the realization that self-defense is our most likely forthcoming option (police unbelievably defunded, crime statistics off the charts, prosecutors out to lunch, etc.), what else could sanity possibly command?

And now comes irrefutable evidence (from Johns Hopkins and others) that lockdowns and shutdowns had virtually zero (.02) effect on the Covid death count and that masking children is senseless —harmful, in effect. Yet, an unpardonable cabal of corrupt ideologues — seduced by power and control —refuse to let go. They're prime examples of mindless despotism, and they need to be replaced, sooner rather than later.

Yes, Mark Mowry may lack the name recognition of famed surgeon, Dr. Mehmet Oz (candidate for senate in Pennsylvania), or gridiron idol, Herschel Walker (candidate for senate in Georgia), both of whom are expected to win handily. Nevertheless, if we want to restore common sense to government, "ordinary" people, too, must step up to the plate. Congratulations are due Mr. Mowry for taking his stance in the batter's box.



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Send us your op-ed, press release, or letter to the editor--Editor@dakotaleader.com!
--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-04-13 11:07:56Last Update: 2022-04-21 21:11:49


Cole Heisey For House District 12
Letter To The Editor

Hi, my name is Cole Heisey, and I’m running for a seat in the South Dakota House of Representatives in District 12.

I have called Sioux Falls my home for over half my life and would be proud to represent you and this great city in the SD Legislature. Sioux Falls and our state are excellent places to raise a family, pursue one’s dreams and prosper. As I’ve grown up here, I’ve learned just how special what we have here really is. That’s why it’s so important to conserve and continue our state’s legacy, while at the same time lead our state forward with integrity so as to thrive and grow responsibly, for the benefit of every citizen. There is so much potential in Sioux Falls and across South Dakota, we just need good people with the right ideas in Pierre and beyond.

Most voters are concerned with the direction of America. I have a vision that will reassure them that South Dakota remains free and prosperous, so you can focus on your family's legacy and enjoy gatherings with your friends, family and neighbors.

As a new member of the State Legislature, I will be a solid conservative voice for the people of my district. To preserve our freedoms and our South Dakotan way of life, we need strong, principled leaders willing to stand up and fight on our behalf. When elected, you can count on me to do just that. Our state, and the people of this district, are worth fighting for. I want future generations to enjoy and appreciate what we have. Among other things, that means educating our youth in the best way possible, supporting our values, and investing in our communities. Our future is bright if we properly foster the next generations and plan accordingly.



Public service has always drawn me. I strongly believe it’s our duty as citizens to better our society, in whatever way we are best suited. That’s what inspired me to run in 2020 and also serve on the boards of the Minnehaha County Republicans and SD Young Republicans, as a precinct committeeman, along with involvement in various other organizations supporting conservative Republican values. I attended O’Gorman during my formative years and later got my degree in political science at the University of South Dakota. I am proud to call SD home, to call many of you friends, and build a career and life here.

It would be an honor, not taken lightly, to serve the people of District 12. I humbly ask for your support, most importantly your vote. Keep an eye out as I’ll be attending events in the area and knocking doors; I would enjoy talking with you. This is an exciting election cycle, and I hope to meet you. Please follow me on social media and/or sign up on my contact list. See you on the campaign trail!

Help Support Independent Journalism, Donate Today!

--Cole Heisey

Post Date: 2022-04-12 15:57:10Last Update: 2022-04-21 21:11:35


House Votes to Move Forward With the Impeachment Trial of A.G Jason Ravnsborg
A Somber Day For South Dakota

UPDATED- The full South Dakota House of Representatives voted today April 12, 2022, in the matter of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg's impeachment.

Ravnsborg, who was acquitted in a court of law for the murder of Joe Boever, was then challenged by Gov. Kristi Noem, as being "unfit for office". A Special Committee on Investigations then launched a full scale investigation of their own, to determine if Ravnsborg had acted in a manner that would warrant impeachment.

The special committee released their findings last week, and found the Attorney General innocent of acting in a manner that would warrant his impeachment.

South Dakota Speaker of the House, Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham) tells The Dakota Leader, "I stand behind the facts of the
committee report."

Today, the full House of 70 Representatives voted to recommend impeachment 36-31, with three members excused.



36 South Dakota Democratic Representatives, along with a divided Republican caucus voted a "do pass" recommendation to a full Senate impeachment trial.

Representative Tom Pischke (R-Dell Rapids), who voted against the impeachment recommendation. Pischke tells The Dakota Leader, "Regardless of how you feel about Jason Ravensborg, it's a somber day for South Dakota."

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg would be the first elected official in the state of South Dakota to ever be impeached, setting a new precedent for the state.

Ravnsborg has been immediately suspended as the result of today's vote. However the Senate is not able to move forward for another 21 days.

An acting Attorney General will most likely be appointed, until a final determination is made. A.G. Ravnsborg was investigating Governor Noem, and one of her top political donors, Denny Sanford. With the suspension of Ravnsborg, it's unclear what will happen to these pending investigations, or the litigation Ravnsborg has pursued on behalf of residents, such as vaccine mandates.



Editor's Note- It was previously stated that Governor Kristi Noem had requested the impeachment, and that she would appoint an acting Attorney General. The article has been updated to reflect corrections. We thank our readers for sending us accurate details. If you ever see a correction, please let us know! Editor@DakotaLeader.com

Help Support Independent Journalism, Donate Today!

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-04-12 15:03:31Last Update: 2022-04-21 21:10:53


Wokeism in Private Schools. Going Undercover
No school is safe from the radical Left’s ideology of racism, historical revisionism, and hatred.

Summary Don’t be fooled- No school is safe from the radical Left’s ideology of racism, historical revisionism, and hatred. Most parents are familiar with how this disease—dubbed “wokeism”—has conquered public school systems in many Democratic-run states. But the woke curriculum is rapidly overtaking nonprofit, private schools across America. If it isn’t stopped, no child will be safe from its indoctrination.

If you thought your children were safe from the Left’s culture war in a private school, think again. Across America, a pandemic of “woke” ideology is quietly spreading through privately run schools and colleges supposedly shielded from government control.

Proponents may call this new teaching “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI), but that’s a euphemism for a dark agenda: inculcating kids with the Left’s malicious obsession with race. Far from promoting independent thought, it’s a campaign to crush dissent and rewrite history while teaching children to hate one another for the color of their skin.

The public is almost completely unaware of how activists are indoctrinating America’s youth with transgenderism, racial segregation, and other far-left “virtues”—and still would be, if not for the efforts of a handful of courageous moms bent on exposing the truth.



Meet Undercover Mother, a group of roughly 100 volunteer moms and dads from across the nation engaged in some of the finest investigative journalism happening today. These Undercover Mothers are fighting in the trenches to defeat the radical Left’s agenda that’s taken over our schools. If they succeed, it’d mean nothing less than saving America’s nonprofit schools—and the students they teach—from the radical Left.

Going Undercover

So who are these moms and dads? The group was started in mid-2021 after Amy Gonzalez and Andrea Gross, two mothers in Ohio, fought back against the critical-race-theory curriculum being taught in their kids’ private school—only for their children to be expelled.

“We tried, in the best way possible, to represent and speak up not only for our children but also our teachers,” Gonzalez told Fox News in July 2021. “At a private school, they did not have a union. I believe a lot of it is coming from The National Association of Independent Schools” (NAIS), a national body that oversees the country’s private school accrediting bodies.

Her hunch forms the basis of Undercover Mother and its deep dives into NAIS, the organization responsible for enforcing leftist ideology on campus.

Undercover Mother is a truly grassroots organization, with volunteers in numerous states. While many of its members are conservative or right-leaning, the group doesn’t have an ideological or partisan agenda. All of its members share the same goal: Halt the extreme, bigoted, and hypersexualized doctrines NAIS pushes on students and return schools to what they’re supposed to be doing—equipping students to be mentally strong, intellectually curious, problem-solvers ready to face the world.

Horror Stories from the Black Lagoon

Every volunteer that I spoke with shared his or her horror story about discovering what leftists were teaching their kids. No matter where they live, the experiences are the same.

One parent in Georgia recalled how her kids’ school chapel invited a Muslim cleric, gay wrestler, and an anti-Semitic, radical black poet as guest speakers and to work with students. The school was later “outed” for “keeping a list of ‘insubordinate’ parents.”

“My kids came home with stories about racism that weren’t actually racist,” another anonymous parent in the Midwest told me. “Kids were taught that all civilizations had slaves but America was by far the worst,” using as a textbook the far-left revisionist historian Howard Zinn’s A Young People’s History of the United States, which paints American history as irredeemably evil. “Kids were made to ‘break down their identity.’ White boys were taught that they were dominant oppressors.”



The experience was so eye-opening that it changed her political beliefs, though she still considers herself a “traditional liberal.” “I feel like I’ve been lied to about progressive policies,” she explained. “Nothing about my liberal past is in line with these progressive policies that are ruining an entire generation of kids.”

One of the founders of Undercover Mother—who considers herself “very liberal”—recounted how the head of her child’s school gave a 20-minute speech “arguing the need for a social justice curriculum as a war of countering the privilege that we had without one mention of academics or life skills.” Two years later in 2016, the school sent emails assuring parents that it was creating a “’safe space’ for the children” following Donald Trump’s election.

“I was surprised to see they were filtering down politics into the curriculum,” she added. “The school had essentially shut down the idea of freedom of thought in front of everyone.”

In the next installment, the march of woke ideology through private schools has been different than in public schools. Tags: American Federation of Teachers (AFT), critical race theory, marxism, National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), National Education Association (NEA), wokeis

Originally published by Influence Watch on March 13, 2022. Re-published with full permission to The Dakota Leader April 11, 2022.
--Hayden Ludwig- Senior Investigative Researcher

Post Date: 2022-04-11 13:20:49Last Update: 2022-04-21 21:10:24


Alex Hixon Speaks Out About Incumbent Tiffani Landeen
“While I’m grateful for the actions of the Board of County Commissioners, Lincoln County voters deserve a better Chairperson.”

SIOUX FALLS- Monday April 11, 2022, Candidate for Lincoln County Board of Commissioners, Alex Hixon is speaking out about his decision to run against Tiffani Landeen. Hixon, who is a business owner within the community of Sioux Falls has released the following statement

"Our community is growing exponentially, new business owners and families are staking their hopes and dreams on the freedom South Dakota represents.

"Meanwhile, we have issues plaguing our County such as inflation and skyrocketing costs of living. Tax increases are not optional, and yet increases continue to be the only option provided by current Chair Landeen. We can do better to provide solution oriented policies with cool heads and respectful decorum.



"Tiffani Landeen has a long record of inappropriate behavior, and actions that have cost taxpayers. What we witnessed last Tuesday, when Chairwoman Landeen silenced colleagues and turned a public meeting into an "us v them" situation, is unfortunately par for the course. These tactics are reminiscent of what we've seen in school board meetings across the country, as concerned parents have been thrown out, harassed and ignored, while fighting for their children. This type of behavior does not belong in local government, nor does it belong in South Dakota.

"While I'm grateful for the actions of the Board of County Commissioners, Lincoln County voters deserve a better Chairperson."

"Come June 7, 2022, voters have the ability to decide if they want to be included in their civic process, or continue with the status quo of being told to pay up, sit down, be silent, or get out," Hixon stated.


Post Date: 2022-04-11 11:27:03Last Update: 2022-04-21 21:09:40


After a Rocky Start, the Lincoln County Body Politic Finds Common Ground on Ballot Boxes
The Democratic Process Proves Successful, Yet Again!

UPDATED- Within hours of breaking this story, Minnehaha and Yankton Counties have followed suit making announcements that they will also be removing ballot boxes.

Public Service is often messy. It requires decorum, patience and long hours of hearing public concerns. It might not be for everyone, but for the elected officials of Lincoln County who work hard to represent the people, and the people who work hard to hold government accountable, common ground was found this week--reminding all that Democracy is still alive and well in South Dakota.

On Tuesday April 5, 2022 a
Twitter message began circulating social media. Nicole Ki stated, "residents are angrily storming out of the meeting, after being informed this wasn’t a public hearing and residents couldn’t speak after waiting 4 hours."

Residents are angrily storming out of the meeting, after being informed this wasn’t a public hearing and residents couldn’t speak after waiting 4 hours to. pic.twitter.com/wxdzOIngev

— Nicole Ki ʕ·ᴥ·ʔ (@_nicoleki) April 5, 2022

Chair of the Lincoln County Commission, Tiffani Landeen, can be heard telling people, "this is not a public meeting." Later in the video clip Landeen is heard saying, "and I'm calling a point of order, if anybody speaks out they're going to be asked to leave."

The response came as the result of angry outbursts from a crowd of Lincoln County residents, who had spent four hours waiting to be heard on agenda item #15, "ballot drop boxes". Despite the long meeting, Commissioner Joel Arends asked that the people be allowed to speak. Arends was then challenged by Chair Landeen, citing partisan rhetoric. "I think you need to come to us with a policy, discuss it with legal council, discuss it with the auditor before sittin up here and givin everyone a bunch of rhetoric for your political pundits."

Arends responded by saying, "I'm sorry if you want to challenge my votings, my only motive for being here is to comply with the law."

Landeen, interupts- "Of course and here you go,and you're out of order. If you want to discuss this and bring an actual policy forward that's been vetted by." (recording stops there)

Days prior to the meeting, current county elections auditor Sheri Lund had posted the April 5, 2022 meeting agenda in the Sioux Falls Politics Facebook page, asking for feedback on the issue of ballot boxes. In her Facebook post, Lund says

"Item # 15 -Discussion and action on County ballot drop box policy- If you are a person that took advantage of the ballot drop box or the deputy that was in Sioux Falls please email me at auditor@lincolncountysd.org and give us some feedback..."

According to the Lincoln County meeting agenda, the meeting was public, public discussion was scheduled, as was "the discussion and action on County ballot drop boxes." Residents responded to Lund's request for feedback, and sat through hours of discussion on various topics. Jessica Pollema was in the audience, and amongst those eager to share her concerns. Pollema is running this election to replace Sheri Lund, and says she's made election integrity her full-time job, after finding anomalies in the current voter rolls.

However, when agenda item #15 came up, the discussion was quickly shut down, as seen above. That doesn't sit well with Lincoln County Commissioner Candidate Alex Hixon. Hixon, who is running against Landeen, tells The Dakota Leader what occurred was unacceptable.

"The behavior by Commissioner Landeen was not befitting of a County Commissioner. Commissioner Joel Arends was bringing up legitimate legal issues about the ballot box, of which he is indeed correct. There is no South Dakota law that allows for the use of ballot boxes. Landeen was out of order to shut down communication on a topic that many members were obviously very passionate about. It's my understanding that 32 people attended and waited four hours to speak. These people just wanted their voices and concerns heard, which she blatantly protested."

"Additionally, she acted in an uncivil, and uncourteous manner to her fellow commissioner," Hixon said in a statement to The Dakota Leader.

The Dakota Leader has reached out to Commissioner Landeen, but has yet to hear back.



Regardless of the momentary tensions, by Friday the County released the following statement, earning relief and praise amongst constituents.

"NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that beginning on April 13, 2022, Absentee Ballot Boxes, aka ballot drop boxes (“Absentee Ballot Boxes”), will no longer be used in Lincoln County."

In a phone call with The Dakota Leader, Lund said she had people on both sides of the issue give feedback. However, given that pandemic restrictions have been lifted, and the courthouse is fully reopened, Lund says she will remove the ballot boxes.

In a statement made to her Facebook page, Lund writes, "during the pandemic there where (were) closures and concerns about mail not reaching the Auditor's office on time. We implemented a drop box in front of the Courthouse that was always monitored and an in person drop off in Sioux Falls. Now that the restrictions of the pandemic have been lifted, the need for the drop boxes do not currently exist. So, the new policy is going into effect, please see the attached notice. However, if there is a concern regarding getting ballots to the Auditor’s office, we will take every legal step to ensure all eligible voters have the opportunity to exercise that right. My intent is to still have the in person drop off in Sioux Falls."

Although Jessica Pollema is a primary opponent, she tells The Dakota Leader, "I appreciate the stance that Lincoln County took on the issue of voting and election integrity, in response to the concerns of citizens."

"We all care about our county, our state, our country and our vote. We just want secure elections, and it's vital to take proactive steps in order to restore the trust and confidence of voters."

(There are no conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise between The Dakota Leader and anyone mentioned or quoted within this article.)



Our goal is to clarify, and illuminate all sides of each subject, to the best of our ability. Our mission is to bridge the gap between elected individuals and the people they answer to, in order to rebuild trust and confidence in local government through unbiased reporting, and civic education. PLEASE HELP SUPPORT THIS IMPORTANT WORK

--Breeauna Sagdal- Health and Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-04-08 11:38:10Last Update: 2022-04-21 21:09:19


Gary Schuster Announces His Candidacy For The 12th District South Dakota State House
Press Release

“I’ve been interested in politics from an early age,” said Gary, “and decided that now is the time to take action. South Dakota is a great state and has largely avoided the political craziness that has taken hold in many of our nation’s large cities and states. Nevertheless, we need to be aware that even in South Dakota our liberties will slowly erode if we don’t actively defend them.”

Gary is a retired metallurgical engineer. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Iowa State Univ. A PhD in Metallurgical Engineering from the Univ. of Illinois and an MBA from the Univ. of South Carolina.

He was raised on a farm near Pleasantville Iowa. He’s lived all across the United States and his jobs have taken him to many countries. Even so, he’s never forgotten his early life on the farm and has respect for anyone that is honest and hard working. He sincerely believes that government should strive to create an environment that gives people the most opportunities to succeed and minimizes what is taken from them in the form of taxes and fees. He’s a fiscal conservative and constitutional originalist.

If you would like to learn more about Gary Schuster, check out his WEBSITE HERE. OR, scan this QR code with your smart device camera to take you directly to the website.



--Gary Schuster for SD House District 12

Post Date: 2022-04-07 13:58:09Last Update: 2022-04-11 11:13:29


Pischke Announces Bid for District 25 Senate
Press Release

Current State Representative Tom Pischke (R-Dell Rapids) announced his candidacy for the District 25 Senate seat.

“It has been a great honor to serve the people of District 25 in the House of Representative for the past six years, but the time has come for me to take my Conservative values and voting record to the South Dakota Senate.”

Pischke has received the following recognition during his time in the State House-

“I look forward to the opportunity to earn the support of the people of District 25 so we can have our strong, conservative Christian values represented in the South Dakota Senate.”

During Pischke’s time in the legislature, he has been a member of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee, the House Commerce committee, the House Judiciary committee and the Vice-Chair of the House Taxation committee for the past two years.

Pischke has also supported and voted for many conservative tax breaks including a reduction in the state sales tax, an elimination in the state sales tax on food and a gas tax holiday to give consumers a break at the pump.

Tom Pischke is a husband, father and a fourth generation South Dakotan. He, and his wife Lisa have a blended family with 4 children; Jayden, Gavin, Brooklyn and Preston. Pischke works for AllState Insurance in Sioux Falls while Lisa works for Avera McKennan.



--Tom Pischke For Senate District 25 Press Release

Post Date: 2022-04-06 11:34:08Last Update: 2022-04-06 13:57:26


House Condemns Governor Noem’s Actions During Ongoing Investigation Of A.G Jason Ravnsborg
Full Addendum Of The House Select Committee on Investigation


The Select Committee includes the following addendum to address the Executive Branch’s interference in the criminal proceedings and the impeachment process.

The Executive Branch made promises that the criminal investigation would be transparent and released to the public. The Highway Patrol thereafter asked Supervisory BCI Agent Arnie Rummel for permission to disseminate the initial crash report. Secretary Price testified to the Select Committee he was not aware of another case in which the Department of Public Safety released death investigation information before a state's attorney filed charges. The Highway Patrol, however, informed Supervisory BCI Agent Arnie Rummel that such reports were routinely disseminated to the public in seeking permission to disclose this case’s initial crash report. Supervisory BCI Agent Rummel did not want the initial crash report disclosed, but in being told they routinely released such reports, asked the Highway Patrol to make the report accurate before its disclosure. Specifically, Supervisory BCI Agent Arnie Rummel asked that the report not state Attorney General Ravnsborg was distracted by his cell phone, since the data was not yet extracted from his cell phones to make that determination.

Secretary Price, in consultation with legal counsel and the Governor, authorized the posting of the initial crash report on the South Dakota Public Safety website. At the time the crash report was posted, he considered a portion of the investigation complete although additional work still needed to be completed. The video recording of the interrogation of Attorney General Ravnsborg was released after the Hyde County State’s Attorney decided to move forward with misdemeanors charges but before the arraignment. State’s Attorney Emily Sovell objected to the release of the video interviews and other investigative information. State’s Attorney Sovell was also not in favor of the Governor holding press conferences or any other public dissemination of the investigation. Upon learning of a planned press conference and planned dissemination of confidential investigative material, State’s Attorney Sovell emailed Secretary Price and the investigators stating her concerns and requested such materials not be released. State’s Attorney Sovell also emailed Secretary Price indicating that due to undue pressure Secretary Price was attempting to place on her, she would not be including Secretary Price in further discussions of the case. State’s Attorney Sovell did not want any perception that political pressures or anything else from the outside was affecting her decisions in the case.

While the Department of Public Safety released the initial crash report, containing incomplete information, the Department did not later release the more comprehensive crash report or its supplements after they were completed.

The Highway Patrol also asked Supervisory BCI Agent Rummel for permission to make Attorney General Ravnsborg’s vehicle open for public inspection. Supervisory BCI Agent Rummel objected to this request. The Highway Patrol also asked the BCI’s information be released to the Highway Patrol. Supervisory BCI Agent Rummel denied that request and sent BCI’s information to the State’s Attorney, as is normal protocol.

After the misdemeanor charges were filed, Secretary Price had discussions with the prosecutors indicating his displeasure and disagreement as to what was charged. Secretary Price indicated that he disagreed with State’s Attorney Sovell not charging second degree manslaughter.

Secretary Price was advised by counsel not to disclose to the Select Committee the content of his discussions with the Governor and whether the release of the investigatory information was at the Governor’s direction. Secretary Price testified that he had been advised by legal counsel not to talk about specific privileged conversations that he had with the Governor.

Attorney General Ravnsborg’s criminal defense counsel argued that Governor Noem made an unprecedented, unusual, and early release of information regarding the criminal investigation. See Exhibit A, No. 69, Motion for Order Precluding Release of Criminal Investigation Information to Protect Defendant’s Due Process Rights dated February 25, 2021. On February 23, 2021, Governor Noem informed she was going to hold a press conference regarding Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg and release information created during the criminal investigation process. Id. The Department of Public Safety released links on its website which contained the two video interviews with Attorney General Ravnsborg by the North Dakota BCI. Id. On February 25, 2021, Governor Noem held a press conference promising release of additional information on either February 25 or 26, 2021. Id.

On February 25, 2021, the Honorable John Brown issued an Order Precluding Disclosure of Criminal Investigation Information. See Exhibit A, No. 69. The Court ordered that the Department of Public Safety, law enforcement, or any member of state government, including Governor Kristi Noem, is precluded from producing any further criminal reports, interviews, test results, digital media, photographs, videos, statements, or anything whatsoever related to the matter to the public. The court further ordered that the links to the law enforcement video interviews should be removed by the South Dakota Department of Public Safety and any and all other State agencies having such links in order to prevent the public from having access to information which would constitute hearsay at a trial of the matter. A criminal defendant’s right to a fair trial is one of the bedrocks of the American judicial system. See e.g., State v. Weatherford, 416 N.W.2d 47, 50–51 (S.D. 1987) (“The right to a fair trial is a fundamental liberty secured by the Fourteenth Amendment.”). The Executive Branch’s efforts to share confidential information with the public and infringe upon this foundational right must be condemned.

Unfortunately, the Governor’s inappropriate involvement did not end at the conclusion of the criminal case. The following were published on the South Dakota Department of Public Safety website during this impeachment investigation (listed in Exhibit A under No. 67)

- September 1, 2021, letter to Speaker of the House from Craig Price, Secretary of South Dakota Department of Public Safety. Secretary Price states that Ravnsborg should have been charged with second-degree manslaughter.

On January 19, 2022, Governor Noem told the Associated Press that the South Dakota House Investigative Committee is “attacking the integrity of our law enforcement officers,” adding that it was an “inappropriate” and “tragic” use of the Committee’s attention.

On January 21 to 23, 2022, the Select Committee members were subjected to hundreds of telemarketing calls to their cell phones from the Ohio-based entity Grand Solutions, Inc. Angel Kane owns the entity and spokesperson Jonathon Petrea speaks on its behalf. It is apparent that these calls were meant to pressure members of the Select Committee to impeach the Attorney General. The telemarketing firm did not indicate who paid for these efforts during the call or at any point thereafter. A voicemail from the telemarketing company was received which suggests the Governor may be involved with those who funded the telemarketing campaign. The Governor’s Office has denied any such involvement. On January 24, 2022, a press release from Governor Noem was released attempting to pressure House lawmakers weighing impeachment charges against the Attorney General and to release the investigative file on the 2020 fatal car crash.

On March 9, 2022, a press release from the Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price was released urging the Committee to consider the facts in the impeachment investigation and “to consider the indisputable conclusions by the crash reconstruction experts”. Exhibit A, No. 73. On March 9, 2022, Secretary Price released to the press a three-page letter to Speaker Gosch detailing why he believes Ravnsborg is “unfit to hold the position as the chief law enforcement officer for the state of South Dakota.” Secretary Price also released to the press Trooper John Berndt’s supplemental report (Quadrants Described) dated March 9, 2022.

On March 9, 2022, Governor Noem sent a series of tweets questioning why Ravnsborg received a closed- door hearing with members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations, telling readers “REMINDER: the House is still in the middle of impeachment proceedings.” “Let me get this straight. . . ,” Noem wrote, “they don’t have time to conclude their impeachment process, but they have time for secret closed-door meetings to give Ravnsborg $1.5 million with no accountability?”

On March 12, 2022, Dakota Institute for Legislative Solutions, an organization touting itself as a non-profit organized to carry forward the Governor's agenda, began running billboard advertisements targeting four members of the House Select Committee on Investigation. The ads named the following Committee Members: Representatives Steven Haugaard, Jamie Smith, Jon Hansen and Spencer Gosch, the Speaker of the House serving as chairman of the committee. The signs accuse the Committee Members of obstructing the impeachment process: “What is [Committee Member] trying to hide??? Impeach the Attorney General Now!!!” Two of the Committee Members, Representatives Haugaard and Smith, are challenging Governor Noem in her re-election campaign.

On March 14, 2022, a fifth lawmaker, Representative Scott Odenbach, was added to the list of legislators being specifically named in the billboards. Representative Odenbach responded that he believes the Governor is eager to appoint another Attorney General before she must face the Government Accountability Board, referring to an investigatory panel of retired judges who have pending investigations open into abuse of power complaints levied against Governor Noem. The Governor’s Office denies being behind the billboard ads or Dakota Institute. During March of 2022, Governor Noem and Secretary Price made public statements that Ravnsborg is unfit to be the Attorney General.

On March 17, 2022, the House Select Committee on Impeachment issued a cease and desist letter to Governor Noem and the South Dakota Executive Branch. The Committee letter stated that the South Dakota Constitution places the sole power of impeachment with the House of Representatives and requires the Senate to try an impeachment. The Committee letter further stated that the Executive Branch is attempting to taint the Senator jury pool with irrelevant and confidential information. The letter stated that these efforts have been continuous and aimed at bringing irrelevant information to the public and undue pressure on the Select Committee Members. The letter further stated these efforts are both harmful and unwelcome and subject the outcome to judicial scrutiny. As previous requests to refrain from such conduct have gone unheeded, the Select Committee requested the Executive Branch cease and desist all further disclosures of the investigative file to the public and all further attempts to pressure and influence the Select Committee Members and the House of Representatives. See Exhibit A, No. 74.

The South Dakota Constitution clearly provides that an impeachment of a state official is purely a legislative proceeding. Article XVI of the South Dakota Constitution empowers the Legislature with the authority to impeach and try state officers. Section 1 places “the sole power of impeachment” with the House of Representatives. Section 2 requires the Senate to try an impeachment, with the Senators sitting as the jury under oath “to do justice according to law and evidence.” The Constitution does not include a role for the Executive Branch in impeachment proceedings. Despite the Constitution’s clear authority granted to the Legislature, the Executive Branch has continued to inappropriately attempt to influence legislators throughout the impeachment process.

Criminal prosecutors are granted prosecutorial discretion when making charging decisions. In order to protect this discretion and prevent intimidation and harassment, prosecutors are granted absolute immunity for charging decisions. Burns v. Reed, 500 U.S. 478, 492–94 (1991). Members of the House of Representatives should similarly be free from harassment and intimidation during the impeachment process. The Representatives are sitting in the role of prosecutors – choosing to decide whether a state official should be impeached and then tried by the Senate. See Burns v. Reed, 500 U.S. 478, 492–94 (1991).

Instead of making her perspective known and then allowing the House of Representatives to investigate, Governor Noem and the Executive Branch have continued to insert themselves into the impeachment process. From tweets regarding specific legislators5, to press conferences calling for the Attorney General’s impeachment, to the Governor’s failure to condemn the phone calls and billboards improperly seeking to influence members of the Select Committee, Governor Noem has continued to improperly influence the impeachment process. Most recently, Secretary Price released a letter summarizing and citing text messages from the investigative file – the same investigative file he previously had warned legislators was confidential. These tactics by the Executive Branch ultimately resulted in a cease and desist letter delivered to the Governor.

The Select Committee on Impeachment unequivocally condemns Governor Noem’s attempts to influence this Committee. The Select Committee also notes that the question of impeachment is now in front of the entire House of Representatives. It cautions Governor Noem and the Executive Branch from seeking to improperly influence members of the House of Representatives.

For example, on March 11, Governor Noem tweeted from her official account, “Why is Speaker Gosch protecting the AG? And why is the @argusleader helping him?”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-04-06 11:04:08Last Update: 2022-04-21 21:08:42


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