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Help Wanted: Statesmen Needed

Many of the political pundits and talking heads on cable news are predicting a “blue wave” in the upcoming midterm election on November 6th. They go on to speculate what a “blue wave” might mean come 2019. Of course that leads to nearly endless fodder that helps keep the cable news machine running 24/7/365.

What does a “blue wave” really mean? Same as a “red wave”, more of the same. Partisan politics have paralyzed our country. Partisan politicians who put their party and themselves ahead of the country are hurting the people they are supposed to serve and represent in the process. Fact is, both parties have held majorities over time and both have failed to govern effectively. Both parties have failed on Healthcare, Immigration, and Federal Debt to name a few. Many people try to argue that one party is not as bad as the other, but personally I don’t care for “lesser of two evils” politics. The work of governing is too important.

A statesman is the opposite of a partisan politician. A statesman not only believes in country before party, but also puts that belief into action by what He or She says and does. Statesmen are few and far between in today’s political landscape, but we are fortunate in South Dakota. We have a chance in this this election to support two individuals who I think fit the bill.

Tim Bjorkman may be the best candidate you don’t know a whole lot about. Reason is, Bjorkman doesn’t accept money from Political Action Committees, or PACs for short. This fact alone qualifies Bjorkman to be a statesman. PAC money is the financial arm that drives partisan politics and allows candidates to indirectly use cubic dollars to influence voters through sheer volume of advertising. Bjorkman seems to agree with the logic that says an elected official can’t effectively serve the electorate if funded by dark corporate money. Few candidates have followed his lead in doing something we as voters should expect from all candidates.

Another expectation of reasonable people is bipartisanship. That’s right, deep down we all know that extreme party politics aren’t going to accomplish much for everyday people. Billie Sutton seems to have mastered bi-partisanship. It’s hard to find a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat who emphasizes the need to work from the center of the political aisle. The funny part is, he doesn’t seem to draw much criticism for those views, even from those who are polarized politically. Crazy thought, maybe people actually think those views make sense! Sutton has proven time and time again in the campaign he will put the interests of South Dakota before that of his party, thus proving him to be a true stateman.

On November 6th South Dakotans have a great opportunity to elect a pair of statesmen to represent them. I hope voters will look past crazy partisan politics that often make their lives more difficult and make the easy choice to vote for Sutton and Bjorkman.

Kelly Deckert
Brookings, SD

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