Monday, July 31, 2006

PenDemorandum for July 30

PenDemorandum for 07-30-2006
1. Calendar
2. Billion Breakfast Monday
3. Black Hills Pride and Diversity Festival
4. Howard Dean comes to Rapid City
5. PenDem Chair Speaks in the RCJ

1. Calendar          
  • Monday, July 31, 7:30 am, Billion Breakfast Potluck (see below)
    Billion for Governor West River Office, 629 Main St, Rapid City
  • Monday July 31, 5:30-7:30 pm, Bryce Healy (SD Public Lands) re-election fund raiser at the home of Judy Olsen Duhamel, 1106 Hyland Dr, Rapid City. Suggested donation $100.
  • Tuesday Aug 1, am, Billion for Governor Office Chamber Ribbon Cutting. Both Jack and Eric will attend. Billion for Governor West River Office, 629 Main St, Rapid City
  • Wednesday, Aug 2, 7 pm, Penn Democrats Special Meeting Penn Democrats to select a District 34 candidate and a precinct chair. (see below). All are welcome.
    Billion for Governor West River Office, 629 Main St, Rapid City
2. Billion Breakfast Monday
Democracy in Action is hosting a potluck breakfast for the Billion/Abrahamson campaign on Monday, July 31st at 7:30 am at their new campaign office at 629 Main Street.  Please join us and have a cup of coffee with Jack and Eric and get to know our Dem candidates for governor and lieutenant governor (and their incredible wives).  Please pass this invitation along to your friends and family!

3. Special PenDem Meeting Wednesday

Pennington County Democrats will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, at the Billion for Governor West River headquarters at 629 Main St. to nominate a candidate to replace Courtney Clayborne in the District 34 House race.
Unfortunately, Clayborne is withdrawing from the race for health reasons. (The other District 34 Democratic House candidate is Justin Lena. District 34 covers the Canyon Lake, Corral Drive, South Canyon and Horace Mann areas, including most of West Rapid and all of North Rapid west of Wood Avenue south of Interstate 90.)

The meeting is open to the public. Democrats also plan to fill a vacant precinct committee position during the gathering.  Any one who would like to join the PenDem leadership should attend this meeting.

4. Black Hills Pride and Diversity Festival
Democrats (and Independents and Republicans) are invited to come celebrate our differences! Many local organizations and businesses are supporting this effort to include everyone in the life of our community. The event includes a group of events over three days, including a benefit concert by Bill Russell on Friday, a full day (10-6) outdoor event at Old Storybook island featuring many local bands and community organizations, and, just for fun, trail rides on Sunday! There is a raffle that many local businesses and organizations are supporting!
Buy raffle tickets online! (need not be present to win)

4. Howard Dean in Rapid City
Gov. Howard Dean, former Presidential candidate, Chair of the Democratic Party, and architect of the 50-state strategy that is changing everything, is coming to Rapid City on August 16! Keep the date open, details will be forthcoming.

5. PenDem Chair Speaks in the RCJ
Our Chair, Justin Lena, led the way with a Letter to the Editor in the RCJ that this writer thinks captures where we're at as Dems these days: working (diligently and with great enthusiasm!) for a return to dialogue, for an open debate that respects and welcomes differing points of view. Recommended reading!

The PenDemorandum is a publication of the Pennington County Democratic Party, edited by Curtis Price.  Please forward it along to your friends! To comment, subscribe, or unsubscribe, email or visit  The Pendemorandum is also posted on the web at

Sunday, July 30, 2006

PenDemorandum: Calendar Update!

Editors note: We apologize for the flurry of emails today, there is so much going on-- and the information keeps coming. We will try to do better.
Note the Sunday event with Sen. Johnson!

What a great, proud time to be a Democrat.

Hope to see you (and your friends and family) in the coming week at one of these events!


(follow web links for more details)

The PenDemorandum is a publication of the Pennington County Democratic Party, edited by Curtis Price.  Please forward it along to your friends! To comment, subscribe, or unsubscribe, email or visit  The Pendemorandum is also posted on the web at:     

Ideology Police

(This is a Letter to the Editor published in the 7-29-2006 Rapid City Journal)

Here's a simple observation. The Pennington County Republican Party is held together by ideological policing.

While Republican leaders speak the rhetoric of freedom, rights of conscience and wisdom of the individual, the ideological enforcers, including Bill Napoli and Elli Schwiesow, have a clear message: be of the same opinion or be excused from the Republican party.

Napoli and Schwiesow co-wrote in 2004:
Let those individuals agitating for moderation go or they will ultimately weaken the party ... perhaps the Democrats could enlarge their tent enough to hold them.

It seems they are getting their wish.

Recently Napoli demanded that Sen. Adelstein be drummed out of office for doing no more than speaking for the cause of moderation. With certitude focused like a laser, Napoli has apparently appointed himself the high inquisitor of the S.D. GOP.

The Democratic Party also contends with ideological divisions. Many Democrats support HB1215. Many more oppose it.

And after lengthy debate at our convention, we unanimously approved a resolution acknowledging that on issues of deep moral concern, the individual's conscience shall not be overridden by the political party agenda.

These events make it clear which political party will promote and protect my freedom on election day.

Chair, Pennington County Democrats
Rapid City

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

PenDemorandum for July 18

PenDemorandum for 07-18-2006
1. Calendar
2. The Office Still Needs Stuff
3. Pam Hemmingsen's website is up
4. An Inconvenient Truth is here

1. Calendar         

2. Billion Office Shower Continues
Jack Billion's campaign and the PenDems are opening a shared office space at 
629 Main St, Rapid City.  There is lots of room there, but we need stuff!   Please consider donating office items. Contact if you have items and we'll pass the information on!

3. Pam Hemmingsen's website is up
Visit Pam's neat website for her District 32 House race:
But don't forget we have a whole slate of great candidates in Pennington County. Encourage and support one near you!

4. An Inconvenient Truth is here
Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" is playing at the Carmike 10. The movie, of course, is not about politics, it's about facing reality. Be sure and thank the Carmike 10 for showing such an important movie. See the Robbinsdale Radical's review, and more about the movie and project:

The PenDemorandum is a publication of the Pennington County Democratic Party, edited by Curtis Price.  Please forward it along to your friends! To comment, subscribe, or unsubscribe, email or visit  The Pendemorandum is also posted on the web at

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Billion Office Shower Pix

The Billion office is located on 629 Main St, in Rapid City.

Lots of the powers that be were there! At left is Larry Mintzlaff, Dennis Finch (senate/33) (in the blue Finch for Senate shirt), and in shorts at the right is the very articulate Jeff Nelsen (house/33).

Suzan Nolan, Eric Abrahamson, and at right, Justin Lena.

Tom Katus, Chas Jewett, Eric Abrahamson

Sam Hurst (at right) talks politics with Lois Facer (at the "moderate left") and others.

If you have anything to donate to help put the office together, please email—the office wish list is still posted.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Legislative Candidates

Here is our slate of Democratic candidates in Pennington County for the November 2006 election.

Note that you can meet them by video online, courtesy of South Dakota Public Radio and AARP. And the Legislature tried to cut SDPB. We wonder why.

  • Senate: Catherine Ratliff
  • House: Jerry Bloomer, Rick Hanson
  • Senate: Tom Katus
  • House: Pam Hemmingsen
  • Suzan Nolan
  • Senate: Dennis Finch
  • House: Jeff Nelsen, Paula Long Fox
  • House: Justin Lena, Suzy Dennis
  • Senate: Theresa Spry
  • House: Laurie Wudtke, John Buxcel (Independent, Dem affiliated)
Pennington County Commissioner

For more information on Pennington County Democrats, visit

Friday, July 14, 2006

District 34

District 34 House candidates

Justin Lena, Suzy Dennis

Rapid City Weekly News: Four Vie for District 34 House Seats
Rapid City Journal: Four contend for seat in District 34

Justin Lena for House

I am running as a Democrat for the SD House District 34 to bring balance back to South Dakota government.

I stand by basic Democratic values:
  • Renewing our commitment to public education. Better-educated people get better paying jobs. We can preserve the American ladder of opportunity for South Dakota's kids by fully funding our schools.
  • Focusing more on public policy and less on legislating morality. Individual freedoms are threatened when government oversteps its authority.
  • Helping small business. I believe family farms and ranches drive Western South Dakota's economy. We can help small business by finding solutions to our health care crisis.
  • Ending one-party rule. Whenever one group has power too long, government gets out of balance; privilege becomes a substitute for sound reason and common sense.
  • Fostering individual freedom. As Chairman of the Pennington County Democrats I?ve been an outspoken advocate of accountability, fairness and individual freedom.

Lena with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Billion

Suzy Dennis for House

Suzy Dennis is running for the other House seat in 34. She, like Justin, is committed to creating a new dialogue in Pierre, and an end to dominating one-party rule. Suzy is a clinical supervisor for adolescent chemical dependency. She will strive to support strong, stable, and healthy families.

Suzy talks with Democracy in Action member Terry Whiting.

District 35

District 35 Candidates

House: Laurie Wudtke, John Buxcel
Senate: Theresa Spry

Rapid City Journal: District 35
Rapid City Weekly News: Dist 35 Senate Race

Laurie Wudtke

Laurie, a mother and grandmother, is a tireless advocate for veterans. her priorities are to raise the minimum wage, remove the unfair food tax and obtain health coverage for the uninsured.

Laurie Wudtke for House

John Buxcel

John is a heavy equipment operator, outdoor enthusiast, and father of three sons. He will work for a living wage, affordable health care, and preservation of natural resources.

John (right) talks about this year's campaign at the Heritage Festival with Sen. George McGovern.

Theresa Spry for Senate

Spry says: "Our legislature appears to have lost its way. I want to be part of bringing our government back to reality and back to addressing the real issues, not someone else's agenda of extremism."

Spry was born in Rapid City. Raised as the child of an Army officer, who was serving in the SD National Guard when he was called to active duty. She was educated in Germany, Virginia, Chicago and Rapid City. She has raised her family and been employed here throughout most of her adult life. "I am Native American, Native South Dakotan, Native Rapid Citian, and proud of all three. I've chosen to live in Rapid City. I bring a diverse and broad foundation of experiences and perspectives. I want the opportunity to serve in the legislature to make this the place we choose to live, now and in the future," Spry said.

"Our legislature is full of well-meaning people," Spry continues. "But this year, not only did they decline to increase the minimum wage (again), but they refused to consider regulating the use of cell phones by teenage drivers because it would be to much 'government'. Yet they voted to impose their own morality on any and every pregnant woman in South Dakota, practically without regard to individual circumstances. It seems to me our 'ship of state' has been blown pretty far off course."

Spry's work experience includes 7 years as a Certified Family Planning Counselor. "I have tried to help families wrestle with some of the toughest choices imaginable," she said, "and no two cases are alike. What gives the legislature the right to impose its will on all of them and set a single policy for every case? I pledge that as Senator, I will give careful, fair-minded and respectful consideration to every person and every issue."

Spry has also spent 16 years working in Early Childhood Education, Nutrition, Home Liaison, Counseling Programs, a Substitute and in coordinating and providing Tutoring Programs. "I have seen first-hand the kinds of challenges our education system faces every day here and throughout the state. We keep hearing how important education is for our future and economic growth," she said, "but what has been accomplished? I will work to see that first-rate public education is adequately funded statewide, and that the formula for distribution of funding delivers a fair share to the Rapid City's schools."

Health care is another area of major concern, Spry said. "Too often, for too many South Dakotans, Emergency Room Care has become the clinic of last resort. We need to address gaps and shortages that exist in our health care delivery system and focus on maintaining a healthy population, instead of waiting until it may be too late. It just makes sense, and I know preventive care will be far less expensive than relying so heavily on emergency care. With our large aging population, we have ignored the real issues for the rural health challenges we face. " For the past 12 years, Spry is a Home Health Care Provider, including caring for her own quadriplegic son, Bill, who broke his neck in a swimming accident at Angustora. "We live the reality of health care in South Dakota," says Spry.

Spry and her husband have raised their family in the North Rapid home they have owned for 34 years, so they have seen what has happened to property taxes. "It just keeps getting tougher," she says. Concerning current proposals to address the situation, Spry says, "We don't need another band-aid fix. The system is flawed and needs to be thoroughly overhauled. When elected, I will sponsor legislation to impose a corporate income tax to be dedicated to reducing property taxes. It will not be additional revenue. Every penny will go towards reducing property taxes."

Spry, married to her husband, Jerry for 38 years, has five children ages 21 to 37 and five grandchildren. She is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, Tetuwan Oyate. She has been committed in a life long effort to community service, including parent advisory councils, school programs, sports, arts, music, girls and boys clubs, Scouts, Community Action, Community Planning, Health Advisory Boards, Mayor's committees and political action. "I want your vote because I am experienced, reasonable, knowledgeable and capable of the job. Also, District 35 is very diverse. We are a citizens legislature and I believe our legislature should truly reflect our communities."

Theresa Spry for Senate
821 Halley Ave
Rapid City SD 57701

District 33

District 33 Candidates

House 33: Jeff Nelsen, Paula Long Fox
Senate 33: Dennis Finch

Rapid City Weekly News:
- Four Run for District 33 State House Seats
- Schmidt and Finch go head to head for District 33 Senate seat
Rapid City Journal: Candidates talk values in District 33 races

Jeff Nelsen for House

Jeff has spent most of his life in South Dakota, and he's lived in several parts of the State. He graduated from Aberdeen Central High School in 1968, and worked in several industries before moving to Rapid City in 1973 to build houses. He also sold cars for several years at Brekhus Honda, and raced weekly at the Black Hills Speedway for much of he '70s and '80s, first in 6-cylinder modifieds and then in sprint cards.

Jeff returned to school in 1988 at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where he was involved in campus activities, and although he was 15 years older than most of this classmates (a "non-traditional student") he was elected president of the Society of Automotive Engineers. He graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1991.

Jeff and his wife Karen moved to the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul after graduation, where they both worked in enginnering. Jeff spent most of his career there building material-handling systems (conveyors, loaders, etc.) and he managed large manufacturing projects, including budget, personnel, manufacturing, layout, and installation. He and Karen missed South Dakota, though, and they moved back to Rapid City in late 2002. Jeff currently works at Dakota Craft, Inc. designing roof and floor systems for residential and commericial buildings.

Jeff has two grown children and two granddaughters.

Jeff feels strongly in the solid Democratic values, supporting education, healthcare and a living wage.

Nelsen for the House
Vicki Fisher, Treasurer
1800 Kings Road, Rapid City, SD 57702
email -

Paula Long Fox for House

Paula is a school counselor and teacher, and will use her training and experience in listening and arbitration to bring opposing sides to common agreements. Paul says, "Together, we can solve problems for all people."

That's Paula on the left, smiling with Rep. Herseth's staffer Lesley Kandaras

Dennis Finch for Senate

Dennis is an attorney, a small business owner, and former Secretary of Labor. He hwas bben married for 35 years. He advocates civil debate on education funding, economic developemment, and health care, and believes in less government interference in our lives.

Dennis (left) discusses what can be accomplished in Pierre next year with State Senate candidate Tom Katus.

Visit Dennis's website at

Sarge Preston

for Pennington County Commissioner

I am a fourth-generation South Dakotan and have lived in Pennington County for most of my life. My parents, Bud and Marguerite were teachers. My dad was also a dairy farmer, rancher, postmaster and a coach. I have two brothers and a sister. My brothers, sister and I are in partnership together with a buffalo ranch in Hermosa.

As a physician, I am very concerned about the health of our water in the Black Hills. Pollution of our aquifers and other sources of clean water is becoming a real problem. I will make this a priority. I envision a long-range blue print for the
Black Hills with the help of citizens and qualified community planners. I would like to see the Pennington County Commissioners look further into the future to ensure that we have the highest quality of life.

I graduated from Rapid City High School in 1967 and received a BA from the University of Utah in 1972. I then attended the USD School of Medicine graduating in 1983, followed by a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Utah. I operated my private medical practice in Hot Springs, SD from 1986-1989. Krista and I moved the practice to Rapid City in 1989 creating RapidCare Medical and Occupational Health Center.

As a Pennington County Commissioner, I will work for cooperation between the county and municipalities to promote reasonable, sustainable development. Due to the rapid growth of our region, there is a need to look closely at long-term
impacts on the environment and natural beauty of the Black Hills. Protecting
our natural resources, the right thing for the community as a whole, will promote
future economic development.

  • I will work for a healthy and plentiful
    water supply.
  • I will provide a balance of political viewpoints.
  • I will assist the Pennington County Commission with its budget priorities and strive to maintain fiscal discipline.
  • I will be approachable and will listen to the people in my district.
  • I will encourage vision for our future, which will secure our community's future quality of life.
  • I will fight against encroachment of
    government into our civil liberties and private lives.

Dr. Robert "Sarge" Preston For Pennington County Commissioner
22760 Stonemeadow Rd.
Rapid City, SD 57702

Billion Rapid City Office Shower, Sunday

Billion for Governor
Rapid City West River office
Open House and Office Shower

Come by Sunday and enjoy coffee and desserts, and bring an item to donate!

Where: 629 Main Street, Rapid City
When: Sunday, July 16 from 4:00pm-6:00pm
What: Come check out the new office space and help us get to work.

Here's the list of items to needed for the campaign. The office is big enough for Pennington County Dems and candidates to come together and organize, but we need your help in making this space comfortable and efficient.

Wish List

Office supplies
Pens, pencils
Staplers and staples
Paper clips
3-hole punch
Copier Paper
Felt pens/permanent markers
File folders
Hanging file folders
Note pads
Post-it notes
Head sets for phones

Office furniture
(donations may be returned in November—so let us know if you would like the item back at that time.)
Throw rugs
Room dividers
Coffee maker/coffee filters
Drinking water/Culligan-type dispenser
South Dakota State flag
U.S. flag

Technology needs
Computer (new)
Printer (new)
Fax machine

We do have a copier/printer on its way. We will be getting a couple of phones and a phone number (!) next week, and a larger phone system August 1st. (being donated by an attorney?s office in Sioux Falls.) Roger (Billion's tech guy) says that any donations of technology need to be new/almost new, so he can network the system here in RC.


District 30

District 30 Candidates

House: Jerry Bloomer, Rick Hanson
Senate: Catherine Ratliff

Rapid City Journal: District 30 races focus on schools

Jerry Bloomer

Jerry is a progressive candidate who wants to improve education, improve accessibility to health care, and promote jobs that pay a living wage.

Jerry Bloomer for SD House
2146 Minnekahta Ave
Hot Springs, SD 57747

Rick Hanson

I am from Custer and am a candidate for the State House of Representatives to represent District 30. I have been married over 21 years to my wife Barbara and we have three children, two daughters and a son.

I have worked construction and later managed a dive shop in Georgia and taught scuba diving before pursuing a degree and career in archaeology. I have worked for both federal and state agencies as an archaeologist, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Army, and the US Forest Service. I fought wildland fire and was a federal wildland firefighter until 2003. I have also worked for the State of South Dakota as an archaeologist and am currently employed by a contractor to provide archaeological services. I am still an active scuba diving instructor and have worked with a local community education program teaching a scuba diving class. In addition, I am a South Dakota resident producer licensed to write life and health insurance lines and will soon begin to work for a major insurance company.

I received a recommendation of my candidacy for election to the House by the South Dakota Education Association and an endorsement from Democracy in Action. I am involved in the South Dakota Democratic Party and have been the Custer County State Central Committeeman since 2003 and a member of the South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Board since 2004.

I believe sponsoring legislation such as House Bill 1215 (the abortion legislation) is none of my business or a legislator's business. I believe legislators have no business in South Dakotans' private lives. I think more legislation benefiting South Dakotans could have been accomplished during the latest legislative session if not for time taken up during the session by the HB 1215 piece of legislation.

If elected, I can work with Republicans and Independents. There are Republicans, Independents, and Democrats who want meaningful legislation passed. I will work together with them on real issues affecting South Dakotans.

I have been asking South Dakotans of all political affiliations in District 30 what issues they want to see addressed if I am elected to the legislature. Some of the issues are: affordable health care for all South Dakotans; meaningful education funding; ways to moderate rising property taxes; higher paying jobs; and some solution to the rising cost of gasoline and heating fuel.

I would appreciate your vote on November 7th. Thank you.

Rick Hanson

Rick Hanson for State House of Representatives
Barbara Hanson, Treasurer
1201 Bluebell Lane
Custer, SD 57730

Catherine Ratliff

I am a candidate for the SD Senate from District 30, which covers Fall River, Custer, and rural Pennington counties.

The most compelling reason for my candidacy is that our system of government is out of balance. We the people ? mainstream moderate Democrats, Republicans and Independents, and new registered voters need to shore up our system of checks and balances beginning in the legislature, where one party dominates both the State House and Senate, both in numbers and in practice.

Our American democratic system doesn't work when we're this far out of balance. The evidence - legislators this year intruded into individual rights and women's rights, and imposed one sect of one religion on government. They voted for secrecy in legislative meetings; at the same time they tried to slash funding for public broadcasting, which is by far the best source of information on the legislative process in Pierre. They voted against education, the means by which real democracy is maintained. Their extremism made South Dakota an object of national focus, and negative attention.

I believe that the SD legislature's most vital job is to invest in education. Further, I believe that public education and religion don't mix, although ethics is a proper subject to be integrated in the curriculum. However, ideas like intelligent design should be taught at home and in church, not in our public schools. We can look at Iran and see what happens when religion rules government and public education ? and women.

In accord with the high value we place on education, we will not casually close rural schools that are the heart of the community. Schools go hand-in-hand with hometown prosperity and quality of life. Therefore, we oppose the recommendations of the Education Task Force established by the 2004 legislature and handpicked by the current governor, to close all of our schools with fewer than 200 students--one-third of South Dakota's small-town schools.

To help individuals get on the right career path, improve their lives and also the productivity and profitability of small business and industry, we need a stronger emphasis on career counseling in our schools and for adults in transition. The U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Labor and other government agencies provide ample reports of industrial and labor force trends, and which jobs will provide the best benefits for SD workers. We need to emphasize getting that information to students of all ages who are contemplating further training and education.

We need to look at our spending priorities. Our tax dollars support too many prisoners, prisons and jails. We need to invest in people through education, "at the front end," instead of paying the costs after they get on a wrong path, resulting in an expensive waste of tax dollars and lost productivity.

Most urgent, after education, is equity in health care. Our state government, doctors and insurance companies, working cooperatively, are capable of figuring out how to bring health care to 90,000 uninsured South Dakotans and under-insured families, and how to staff rural clinics and reduce turnover of medical providers. Other states are working out innovative ways to provide universal health care within their boundaries. Their efforts provide a menu of models, a place to start when we begin formulating a system of health care. That system must include more reasonably priced pharmaceuticals. There is no excuse for a system that makes the uninsured and Medicare recipients the only persons required to pay full price for prescription drugs

I support a minimum wage that single parents can live on without having to take two and three jobs. But a stronger minimum wage is just a start. We need good jobs so our kids have a choice to live here, so it's not just a beautiful place to retire ? although undeniably, this is a great place for retirees. South Dakota is also a great place to raise kids; we have cultural diversity, diversity in the environment and recreation, but we need good schools to draw families here, keep families here, diversity in the job market, more career paths, and career counseling.

Energy, the environment, recreation and tourism, logging, mining and ranching are industries with many overlapping issues. We don't have to have a tug-of-war, winners and losers over these issues. Rather, we can and will approach the concerns of groups managing and competing for resources with creativity and respect, aiming for win-win solutions.

Relationships between state and tribal governments, between Caucasian and Lakota people must be supported because these intersect frequently in South Dakota; and ancient wounds and rifts cannot begin to heal until we both acknowledge ancient wrongs and respect the dignity and value the culture of every person today.

A more balanced legislature and a more respectful discourse are the starting points to our grand goals of greater prosperity, liberty and quality of life for all of our citizens.... A balanced legislature will not continue to throw us off course. We will take back South Dakota, and we will have a state that makes us proud.

About me personally, I have three sons, all of whom graduated from South Dakota colleges, and four grandchildren in Watertown and Sioux Falls.

My background includes a B.A. in English and Master's in Counseling & Human Resource Development from SDSU, and a Law Degree from USD. I have trained as a mediator and served as an officer of the SD Mediation Association. Currently I serve on the Southern Hills Alcohol and Drug Referral Center board, chair the Eagle Valley Landowners Association and Fall River County Democrats. Memberships include the South Dakota Bar Association, National Organization of Social Security Claim Representatives, National Board of Certified Counselors, Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, Common Cause, and numerous human rights and environmental organizations. My law practice does federal court appeals for disabled people, winning economic support and necessary health care.

Ratliff for Senate
P.O. Box 844
Hot Springs, SD 57747
Phone: 605-745-4494

District 32

District 32 Candidates

House: Pam Hemmingsen, Suzan Nolan
Senate: Tom Katus

Additional links:

Pam Hemmingsen

Pam HemmingsenI am running for the South Dakota House of Representatives in District 32 because I believe the voters of this district want and deserve a rational discussion of the issues from well-informed candidates, not emotional, one-issue appeals. Voters want a level-headed representative who will work on the issues that affect their everyday lives.

I have the education and training to craft good public policy. I hold a master's degree in education and an undergraduate degree in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice. I have a well-rounded background in business, education, healthcare and the non-profit sector, which means that I have personal experience in the most important election issues identified by both Democrats and Republicans: job creation, education, and healthcare.

I am the owner of a small business, which specializes in project management, fundraising and grant writing. I understand the challenges of starting a new business in South Dakota as well as the value small business brings to this state. One way we can create better paying jobs is to make it easier for South Dakotans to go into business for themselves. This American dream would be obtainable to more hard working citizens if we would provide a health insurance pool into which small business owners could buy at a reasonable cost.

I have a decade of experience in the healthcare field. I spent six years traveling the state as an executive pharmaceutical sales representative with Glaxo-Smith-Kline and over four years working in direct patient healthcare at Rapid City Regional Hospital. This particular combination gives me a unique perspective on the challenges faced by both patients and providers alike.

In the non-profit and education sector, I was the executive director of Women's Connection, a resource and advocacy center in Rapid City. I also served as the director of education and volunteer services at The Journey Museum and I have worked at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology as the educational outreach coordinator. I have been a classroom volunteer in The Rapid City School system for seven years. I believe that every lawmaker voting on teacher salaries or class size should spend time teaching a reading group, sharing a school lunch with students, and sitting across the desk from a principal as she works to stretch dollars as far as they will go. My goal as a legislator will include increasing funding for education without raising taxes by limiting the growth of government to three percent.

I am currently serving on the board of the South Dakota Advocacy Network for Women and have served in many local community service clubs including serving on the board of Rushmore Rotary. I have lived in Rapid City for 14 years and have two fabulous daughters.

Hemmingsen and Billion I believe that the solutions to the challenges facing South Dakota will be "Home Grown" ones. We can't look to anyone outside of South Dakota to "fix" our economy, or our healthcare system, or our education system. It's up to us. I'm rolling up my sleeves. I hope you'll join me.

Hemmingsen for the House
Shirley Frederick, Treasurer
Box 9692, Rapid City, SD 57709-9692
email -

Suzan Nolan

Suzan NolanI have lived and worked in District 32 for 33 years. My work career has been in the Rapid City School system where I was a high school English teacher, a psychometrist, and for the past 20 years a school counselor. I have worked with students from kindergarten through college as well as their parents and teachers.

I have two masters degrees in education and counseling and a doctorate in counseling from the University of South Dakota.

I retired from the school system in 2004 and have spent my time volunteering in activities about which I am passionate. I facilitate a support group for women in the Pennington County jail as well as a weekly meditation group in the jail. I am a volunteer mediator for the Center of Restorative Justice as well as a board member there. I plan and lead trainings for other volunteer mediators and help make restorative justice known to judges, probation officers and other community members. I am on the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters and participate in fund raising activities and strategic planning for that organization. I am an active member of Democracy in Action, and have participated as an expert witness on the Abortion Task Force.

I enjoy traveling, hiking, golfing, reading, meeting new people, and making a difference in the lives of people in my community. That's why I am running for office. Now more than ever my district needs a progressive voice, one that speaks for the individual rights of people. Those rights of choice and voice are being taken away by recent legislation which is harmful to us all. Issues that I care
about are the adequate funding of education, improved pay for teachers, better pay for all South Dakotans, and health care for our citizens. I am especially interested in developing ways to de-criminalize addictions which are really health issues, and getting people treatment instead of jail sentences.

Suzan Nolan for House

Tom Katus

In his famous inaugural address, President Kennedy challenged Americans: "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country." Tom Katus, then a Civil Engineering junior at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, responded to the President's challenge and volunteered for the very first Kennedy's first Peace Corps mission. He served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer surveyor/engineer constructing rural to market roads in Tanzania. After returning to the United States and completing his college graduate education, he was founding president and CEO of Volunteer Training Specialists, Inc. (VTSI), a private company of 12 American and African owner-employees with multicultural training experience. Within four years, VTSI trained more than 2,000 Peace Corps Volunteers for deployment to five countries at training sites in South Dakota, the southern U.S., and around the world. For the past 18 years, Katus' firm, TK Associates, International, has assisted in the launching and development of more than 50 small businesses, tourism attractions, tribes and colleges in South Dakota and the Great Plains region.

Katus remarks, "My extensive private sector and public service experience supports long-term development to secure the future of our children and grandchildren. Smart growth is smart business," says Katus. He believes there are three interrelated issues that are at the top of most voters' agendas. These include jobs, health care and education. To address these interrelated issues, Katus states, "We need to continue to grow our own small business sector while simultaneously encouraging large companies that pay a living wage to locate in South Dakota. There are 90,000 people without health insurance in South Dakota. We also need to help all our small businesses to pool together to negotiate with the insurance companies to enable them to obtain the best health insurance coverage for their employees at lowest costs."

He concludes, "I have long practiced life, not pontificated about it. I have three children, two of whom are adopted, and six wonderful grandchildren. All are God's children and have every right to their own pursuit of happiness. I do not feel we should be passing legislation such as HB 1215 that has no exceptions for rape, incest or health of the mother. In my extended family, there is direct experience with some of these issues. I do not need preachy, holier-than-thou legislators, many of whom are men, to tell me how to deal with these very private spiritual matters. I will work hard to promote adoption, parenting classes, health and sex education to help everyone avoid unwanted pregnancies and raise healthy families once children are born."

Katus was born and raised in McIntosh, SD on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. He volunteered for the U.S. Army National Guard right out of high school. He received his basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO and advanced combat engineer training at Ft. Belvoir, VA, where he fired a perfect score on the machine gun range. Since his days as a student at SDSM&T, he has resided intermittently in Rapid City and continuously for the past 18 years. Following his Civil Engineering training at Mines, he received a B.S. in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and completed graduate studies in International Administration at UWM and UCLA. He has conducted scores of workshops and seminars for small businesses, professional associations and colleges and has published more than 30 professional books and articles. He serves as a part-time Special Correspondent to The Lakota Country Times. He is editor of The Last Mile, the newsletter of the Black Hills Running Club in which he has been active for over 20 years.

Tom Katus for SD Senate
Stacey Peterson, Treasurer
Mike Wilson, Chairman
821 Upper Pines Drive, Rapid City, SD 57701
phone: 605-718-0545
Email Tom: | Tom's Blog

PenDemorandum for July 14

PenDemorandum for 07-14-2006
1. Calendar
2. Billion and PenDem office shower Sunday
3. Katus campaign underway
4. An Inconvenient Truth is here

1. Calendar

* Sunday, July 16, 4:00-6:00 pm Billion/PenDem Office Shower, 629 Main St, Rapid City.
Come by Sunday and enjoy coffee and desserts, and bring an item to donate!

* Friday, July 21, 4pm: PenDem Friday Forum
Rapid City Public Library, Helen Hoyt Room (note new location!) (map)
Topic: District 34 House Candidate Justin Lena, County Commission Dist#1 Candidate Sarge Preston

* Thursday, July 27, 6pm: PenDems Monthly Meeting
Rapid City Public Library, Helen Hoyt Room (map)

2. Billion Office Shower Sunday
Jack Billion's campaign and the PenDems are opening an office at 629 Main St, Rapid City. But we need stuff! So--come cool off at the Rapid City Billion for Governor Office Shower on Sunday. Come by Sunday and enjoy coffee and desserts, and bring an item to donate!

3. Tom Katus campaign underway
If you missed it, Sen. Stan Adelstein today announced his endorsement and support of Tom Katus in his run for the South Dakota Senate. Tom's campaign is now fully underway. Let's all work toward a PenDem sweep of the House and Senate seats in District 32!
KOTA video:

4. An Inconvenient Truth is here.
Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" began playing at the Carmike 10 today. The movie, of course, is not about politics, it's about facing reality. Be sure and thank the Carmike 10 for showing such an important movie. More about the movie and project:

The PenDemorandum is a publication of the Pennington County Democratic Party, edited by Curtis Price. Please forward it along to your friends! To comment, subscribe, or unsubscribe, email or visit

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Katus - Adelstein Announcement Friday

PenDemorandum Update

District 32 Senate Campaign Event Friday, 2pm

This is big.

District 32 Senate Candidate Tom Katus and Sen. Stanford M. Adelstein will hold a press conference with a message for all of South Dakota.
Friday, July 14th, 2:00 pm, SDSM&T Black Hills Business Center, 525 University Loop
DIRECTIONS: University Loop is off E Main St, just east of SDSM&T O'Harra Stadium (see map).
The PenDemorandum is a publication of the Pennington County Democratic Party, edited by Curtis Price. Please forward it along to your friends! To comment, subscribe, or unsubscribe, email or visit

Sunday, July 09, 2006

PenDemorandum for July 9

PenDemorandum for 07-09-2006
1. Calendar
2. Red, White, and Billion BBQ
3. An Inconvenient Truth coming to RC

1. Calendar

* Friday, July 21, 4pm: PenDem Friday Forum
Rapid City Public Library, Helen Hoyt Room (note new location!) (map)
Topic: District 34 House Candidates Courtney Clayborne and Justin Lena, County Commission Dist#1 Candidate Sarge Preston

* Thursday, July 27, 6pm: PenDems Monthly Meeting
Rapid City Public Library, Helen Hoyt Room

2. Red, White, and Billion BBQ
The Red, White, and Billion BBQ on Saturday evening was a great success. Many thanks are due to all those that made it happen, especially Suzanne Martley and Erin Osborne who worked hard to put this thing together. Revisit this link, more pictures are coming:
State Chair Judy Duhamel wrote us all a nice note, too, which has been posted here:

3. An Inconvenient Truth comes to Rapid City

The word on the street (that would be 5th Street) is the news that Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" will begin playing at the Carmike 10 in two weeks. The movie, of course, is not about politics, it's about facing reality. More about the movie and project:

The PenDemorandum is a publication of the Pennington County Democratic Party, edited by Curtis Price. Please forward it along to your friends! To comment, subscribe, or unsubscribe, email or visit

From The State Chair

Judy Duhamel, chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party, sends this out to all Democrats (and supporters of Dem candidates) in Pennington County

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Dear Pennington Dems,

I simply must share the enthusiasm for yesterday's event in Jackson Park in RC.

Truthfully, it's the largest crowd I've seen here in years---not sure of the number, but well over 100 I'm guessing. Two R doctors and wives attended and demonstrated their support for Jack Billion/Eric Abrahamson. Other Republicans were there too. And of course many of our hills area Democrats participated.

Pennington County Dems did a spectacular job of planning and executing those plans for the picnic. The food was excellent and all things highly organized. The effort to publicize was rewarded with better-than-expected attendance.

Clearly this was a group of citizens who are not apathetic and who are hungry for leadership. Their attentiveness to Eric and Jack was impressive--and don't we know how tough that is in a picnic setting! Their level of enthusiasm escalated after listening to Eric and Jack. If yesterday in RC was any kind of barometer for the November election, start smiling! So many individuals were eager to sign up and to help in numerous ways---read that again, WERE EAGER TO SIGN UP TO HELP!

I'm proud of the work of the Pennington County Democrats and all those volunteers who organized Red, White and Billion--the BBQ Picnic and I grow more optimistic weekly about all our candidates throughout SD scoring wins for Democrats!

And I'm proud not only of all our candidates but of those who recruited and support them and will continue to work tirelessly to change the complexion of politics in South Dakota.

Thanks to All,


Red, White and Billion: a great day

The Red, White and Billion event was a wonderful success. There were more than 150 people there and we ran out of parking! We all did a lot of catching up and celebrating... and as a group we raised funds to help keep the momentum going into the fall. Thanks to all that contributed to this great day.

PenDem 2006 Legislative candidatesParty Chair Justin Lena introduced the legislative candidates, L to R:
Pam Hemmingsen (32H), Dennis Finch (33S), Suzan Nolan (32H), Jerry Bloomer (30H), Rick Hanson (33H), Catherine Ratliff (30S), Jeff Nelsen (33H), Paul Long Fox (33H), Laurie Wudtke (35H), John Buxcel (35H), Theresa Spry (35S), Justin Lena (34H).

Billion and Abrahamson really worked the crowd, for more details on this event from their perspective, visit

The following is an edited version of the welcome to the picnic given by Justin Lena, PenDem party chair, that I think captures the excitement of the moment for those who weren't lucky enough to be there.
Welcome to all of you: Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. We're glad you're here.

The size of this crowd tells me that something is in the air. Something is happening in Pennington County and across South Dakota--don't you agree?

People want change.

People are demanding change.

People are looking to new leadership that will do more listening and less dictating.

They are looking for leadership that will bring balance back to government, and address the concerns of their everyday lives like education, health care, and better wages.

Who will bring that kind of leadership?

(Crowd: "THE DEMOCRATS!!!")

Lesley Kandaras (Rep. Herseth's office)
and friend smile for the camera!

State Dem Chair Judy Duhamel (red shirt) chats with Dem Lt. Governor candidate and PenDem Eric Abrahamson (right).

Honor Roll

Event Coordinators
Erin Pier Osborn
Suzanne Martley

Sharon and Tom Warner
Cheryl and Malcom Chapman
Ed & Suzanne Martley

(side dishes, food preparation, hauling, set-up and clean-up)
Reid Abrahamson
Johanna Blume
Mike Coats
Carol Foster
Judy Duhamel
Dennis & Nancy Finch
Karen Hall
Ashley Heacock
Thomas Allen Heald
Mirandi Hurst
Paul Jensen
Lesley Kandaras
Tom Katus
Addy Maierhauser
Jan Mangelsen
Judee Oldham
Jeff Nelson
Curt Pochardt
Patti Rudge
Ted Severson
Sue Timmons
Terry Whiting
Elli Wicks

Sunday, July 02, 2006

PenDemorandum for July 3

PenDemorandum for 07-03-2006
1. Calendar
2. PenDem Friday Forum
3. Red, White and Billion BBQ SATURDAY

1. Calendar
* Friday, July 7, 4pm: PenDem Friday Forum
Rapid City Public Library, Helen Hoyt Room
(note new location!) (map)
Jeff Nelsen, Paula Long Fox (Dist 33 House)
Suzan Nolan (Dist 32 House)

* Saturday, July 8, Red, White and Billion BBQ, 3:30-6:30 pm
Jackson Park (between Sheridan Lake Rd & 32nd St) (map)

2. PenDem Friday Forum (at the Library!)
Pendem Friday Forum has been forced to move -- because we started with six people and now we're drawing more than 30! So the PenDem Friday Forum will now be held at the Rapid City Public Library in the Helen Hoyt room. This Thursday the Forum will feature Dist 33 House candidates Paula Long Fox and Jeff Nelsen, and Dist 32 House candidate Suzan Nolan. (Friday Forums will continue on the 1st and 3rd Fridays at 4 pm at this new location.)

3. Red, White and Billion BBQ SATURDAY
Come Join Gubernatorial Candidate Jack Billion, Rapid City's own Lt. Governor candidate Eric Abrahamson, and the Pennington County Democratic legislative candidates! Sat, July 8, 3:30-6:30 pm, at Jackson Park, on Jackson Blvd. between Sheridan Lake Road and 32nd Avenue (Soo San). (map)

This is a benefit to help your Pennington County Democratic Party support candidates and speak out on the issues. Disc Golf, volleyball, music. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets! Suggested donation $25.00. Seniors & Students with ID $20.00. Kids Eat Free!
Download a flyer and put it up!
(color) | (b/w)

The PenDemorandum is a publication of the Pennington County Democratic Party,
edited by Curtis Price. Please forward it along to your friends!
To comment, subscribe, or unsubscribe, email
or visit

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Heritage Festival!

Updated with more pictures 7/4/06

Come join us at the Heritage Festival today or tomorrow and meet our candidates and "sign up and sign on." We're having a great time this weekend and it's just a very positive thing to be doing right now.

There's much positive energy down there, Eric Abrahamson and our legislative candidates are all there and want to meet you and hear your concerns and encouragement!

Senate 33 Candidate Dennis Finch at the booth.

Jeff Nelsen and DIA member Jocie Baker enjoy the shade of the PenDem tent.

Candidate Theresa Spry (Senate 35) is the welcome alternative to nationally-infamous incumbent Bill Napoli (R).

Tom Katus (Dist 32 Senate), Eric Abrahamson (Lt Governor), and Dennis Finch (Dist 33 Senate) yesterday evening at the booth. You can tell it's really been fun. Come out and join us!

I hope these pictures give you an idea of the level of excitement down there; Democracy In Action and South Dakotans against Discrimination both have booths, too.

The PenDems were very well represented at the Heritage Festival parade today, we had more cars than the other guys and saw a lot of friendly waves back at us!! We're on a roll to changing things this year, that is for sure.

Curtis Price receives lead-car instructions from party chair Justin Lena.

Pam Hemmingsen (candidate for Dist 32 House) shows off the "Hemmi-powered" Pammobile!

Candidates Jeff Nelsen (Dist 33 House) and Suzan Nolan (Dist 32 House) demonstrate that red is a good color for Democrats too.

Photo: The Prairie Spider
Candidates Catherine Ratliff (Dist 30 Senate) and Jerry Bloomer (Dist 30 House) also look great in red! Go Catherine and Jerry!

Speaking of the parade, we haven't seen any Republicans at the Festival this weekend. But if you see any, here's a homework assignment: ask them about what message was Gov. Rounds (R) sending this morning in the Heritage Festival parade with the huge Hummer limo? That his recent words to Western governors about renewable energy, energy independence and global warming were that, just words? (BTW, we learned that Eric Abrahamson is logging his many miles around the state in a hybrid vehicle. Actions speak louder than words!)

Moral of the story? Back Jack! Come to the picnic next Saturday July 8!!!!)