Wednesday, June 28, 2006

PenDemorandum for June 28

PenDemorandum for 06-28-2006

Independence Day Edition
1. Calendar
2. Penn Dems Meet Thursday
3. Penn Dems at Heritage Festival, THIS WEEKEND
4. Red, White and Billion BBQ

1. Calendar

* Thursday, June 29, PenDem Monthly Meeting
Rapid City Public Library, 6 pm
Topic: Convention Reports, Heritage Fest, Summer action!
* Friday, June 30 - Sunday July 2, Heritage Festival!
(see below for more details!)
* Friday, July 7, PenDem Friday Forum
New Location: Rapid City Public Library
Topic: Dem State Legislature Candidates
* Saturday, July 8, Red, White and Billion BBQ, 3:30-6:30 pm
Jackson Park (between Sheridan Lake Rd & 32nd St)

2. Penn Dems Meet Thursday
The regular Penn Dems meeting will be held one week late because of the state convention. Get an update on what happened and join us, Thursday, June 29 at 6 pm, at the Rapid City Public Library.

3. Penn Dems at Heritage Festival, THIS WEEKEND!
Come by and see our candidates and PenDems at the Heritage Festival this weekend. Local candidates will be in the parade Sat. morning, gathering at 4th and St Joseph. Come by our booth at the Festival: Friday. 4-8 and Sat and Sunday 11-8. Dems will also be serving cool refreshment at the beer tent on Saturday from 8pm on! Come by to share a smile, sign up, and sign on to support a better South Dakota! (If you are interested in helping this weekend, please email, or come to our meeting Thursday night and sign up!)

4. Red, White and Billion BBQ
Please 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 (Sioux San). 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!

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, June 24, 2006

Convention in progress

The Rapid City Journal posted a short report this morning on doings in Huron. There has also been a post or two on the SD Dem Party's Blue Note blog.

For the full story, come to the Pennington Democrats monthly meeting, which will be held one week late, after Convention is over--next Thursday night, June 29, 6 pm, at the Rapid City Public Library.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

PenDemorandum for June 22

Convention Edition
Dems meet in Huron this weekend!
1. Calendar
2. South Dakota Dems Meet in Huron
3. PennDems meeting June 29 (not tonight)
4. Why are we stuck on coal?

1. Calendar

* June 22-25, SD Dem Party State Convention, Huron, SD
* Friday, July 7, PenDem Friday Forum
Dunn Brothers Coffee House, 719 Omaha, Rapid City
Topic: Dem State Legislature Candidates
* Thursday, June 29, Penn Dems Monthly Meeting

2. South Dakota Dems Meet in Huron
The South Dakota Dems are meeting in Huron this week. Keep the delegates and officers of the Party in your thoughts and prayers and on your speed dials. For updates, you can follow:

3. PennDems will meet June 29
The regular Penn Dems meeting will be held one week late because of the state convention. Get an update on what happened and join us, Thursday, June 29 at 6 pm, at the Rapid City Public Library, Helen Hoyt Room.

4. Why are we so stuck on coal?
Do we really need to continue to use government money to generate acid rain, mercury pollution, and greenhouse gases? South Dakota should be leading the way with wind and biofuels, not more dirty coal power. Here are two issues to follow and make yourself heard about:
* Proposed coal plant in East River:
* Federal loan guarantees for transport of dirty coal, set up by a certain freshman Senator, who before his election was a lobbyist for the very train company that has applied for the Federal help. Why aren't we instead securing loans to develop wind and solar power in South Dakota instead? Think what could be done with $35 billion in guarantees!

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

Friday, June 16, 2006

District 32

District 32 Candidates

House: Pam Hemmingsen, Suzan Nolan
Senate: Tom Katus

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
821 Upper Pines Drive, Rapid City, SD 57701
phone: 605-718-0545 /

Tom's Website | Blog

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Meet Jack Billion

Tracy Joan Russo of the national Democratic Party recently posted this interview with Jack Billion.

This morning I sat down with Jack Billion, who is running for Governor of South Dakota, to get to know him a bit better, find out why he is running and talk about his experiences on the campaign trail.

Tell me a little bit about yourself?

I am a native South Dakotan, an Air Force veteran and an Orthopedic Surgeon. I've been active in South Dakota politics and community activities for 30 years and married for 26 of them. My wife and I have 7 children and 12 grandchildren.

Why are you running for Governor of South Dakota?

My family is from South Dakota, it's our native state, where we have lived, and where we have worked, and it's the state we love. I'm running because I think that South Dakota needs to reestablish the vision the South Dakota pioneers shared years ago when people came out here and could do anything. People could build towns together, break sod together&emdash;together they had a vision and could accomplish anything. After years of Republican control, South Dakota has perhaps lost some of that vision as we have been forced to settle for less&emdash;we have one party dominating our state, a single discussion taking place, and we need to have a bigger discussion.

What kind of discussion would you like to see happen?

I?d like to see us talk about a return to real family values. The ultra conservative wing of the Republican Party has taken a dominant role in South Dakota and we?ve moved away from that. Real family values mean promoting good wages and good jobs. Real family values mean solid educational opportunities for our children, starting with preschool education&emdash;we are one of 12 states without a preschool program, and moving into a well-funded K-12 program. To me, access to health care and health insurance for the 90,000 South Dakotans who are uninsured is something I look at as a family value, and we need talk about these things.

What would you like to see change in South Dakota?

Five of the ten poorest counties in America are within our borders. 15 percent of the South Dakota population is Native American and it is the fastest growing segment of our population and they deserve to participate more fully in our economy. Republicans sold the people of South Dakota to out-of-state businesses as low-wage workers and we need to turn that around and grow the South Dakota economy by promoting small businesses within our state. This goes hand-in-hand with our higher education system. We need to have a state where any graduate can leave if they want to, but they don?t leave because they have to. That is the kind of state we envision&emdash;one where healthcare, education, any our economy are the priorities of an open and accountable government.

What is it like being a Democrat in South Dakota?

It's a good day for Democrats in South Dakota. We are energized and the party is finally starting to grow in numbers, enthusiasm and focus. We really feel that we want to bring together our neighbors. It's a small state and we need to all work together, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, on the issues that unite us, instead of focusing on the issues that divide us. Our present Governor has had three and a half years to present a comprehensive plan for South Dakota jobs and wages, education and health care needs. It just hasn't been there and that is one of the reasons why I am running.

What has the campaign been like so far?

We've traveled around South Dakota and visited with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. We've tried to talk about the issues they deal with on a day-to-day basis and deal with them with honesty, openness and a sense of humor. We've been to Fish Days at Lake Andes, the Rhubarb Festival in Vermillion, Salon #10 in Deadwood, and the Spring Festival in Hot Springs . Every where we go reaffirms what I already knew - South Dakotans are great people, South Dakotans are ready for change, and together we are working on a new vision for our state.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

PenDemorandum for June 8

Special Primary Election Edition
1. Calendar
2. Dems at the Pow-wow
3. The slate for November is set!
4. PenDems election night victory party
5. Dem Pre-Convention Field Hearing, June 13

1. Calendar
  • This weekend: SD Dems at All Veterans Powwow, Pine Ridge. All PenDems, especially candidates, are welcome! (see below)
  • Tuesday, June 13, 7 pm: Pre-Convention Hearing,
    Radisson Hotel, Rapid City
  • Friday, June 16, 4 pm: PenDem Friday Forum
    Dunn Brothers Coffee House, 719 Omaha, Rapid City
  • June 22-25, SD Dem Party State Convention, Huron

2. Dems at the Pow-wow
The SD Democratic Party is participating this weekend at the All Veteran's Pow-Wow in Pine Ridge. We are sponsoring one of the dances and will have a booth on Saturday & Sunday. If you have the time and/or desire we would love to have you stop by our booth to help us support our Native American friends. If you are interested in helping staff the booth, please contact Charlie Scott, SD Dems Field Director, 605-332-5222 (office), 321-9096 (cell), email:

3. The slate for November is set!
We are proud of our candidates and we thank all who ran in this primary election--this is a very exciting time for the PenDems and the well-contested primary races are just proof that our Party has a bright future here.

4. PenDems celebrate at Election night victory party
This was a lot of fun... Tom Daschle came by the Ramkota (he happened to be in town for an event at Prairie Edge) and offered us inspiring words for the coming months. Special thanks are due to the anonymous volunteers who manned the computers to keep the information coming!

5. Dem Pre-Convention Field Hearing, June 13
If you want an issue or position considered at the Democratic state convention, please come meet with our delegates, 7 pm, June 13, at the Radisson Hotel in Rapid City. Our delegates will be: Eric Abrahamson, Sally Anderson, Malcom Chapman, Karen Hall, Michael Howe, Lesley Kandaras, Pat Lebrun, Jeff Nelsen, Theresa Spry, and Justin Lena (chair).
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

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

PenDem Slate

Here is our final slate of Democratic candidates in Pennington County for the November 2006 election. The PenDems will soon be posting more information about these candidates--stay tuned!

For more details:Legislative Candidates

  • Senate: Dennis Finch
  • House: Jeff Nelsen, Paula Long Fox
  • House: Justin Lena
  • Senate: Theresa Spry
  • House: Laurie Wudtke, John Buxcel (Independent, Dem affiliated)

Delegates to South Dakota State Democratic Party Convention

  • Eric Abrahamson
  • Sally Anderson
  • Malcom Chapman
  • Karen Hall
  • Michael Howe
  • Lesley Kandaras
  • Pat Lebrun
  • Jeffrey N. Nelsen
  • Theresa Spry

Monday, June 05, 2006

PenDemorandum 06-05-2006

PenDemorandum for 06-05-2006
1. Calendar
2. Election Day June 6
3. Campaign Kick-off Celebration, June 6
4. Dem Pre-Convention Field Hearing, June 13

1. Calendar

* Tuesday, June 6, Election Day
* Tuesday, June 6, Dem Kick-Off and Celebration (see below)
* Tuesday, June 13, Pre-Convention Hearing (see below)
* Friday, June 16, 4 pm: PenDem Friday Forum
Dunn Brothers Coffee House, 719 Omaha, Rapid City
* Jun 22-25, Dem Party State Convention, Huron

2. Election Day, June 6

Some polling places have changed, so be sure and check your polling place information. The Pennington County auditor's office has the details you need (and sample ballots) online:

3. Campaign Kick-Off, June 6

On the night of the primary elections, Pennington Dems are holding a campaign kickoff for the general election coming up in the fall and celebration of how far we've come! From 7 pm on, come track the election results as they come in, hear from candidates, and get it started for the general election this fall!

Join us on Election Night, 7pm on, at the Best Western Ramkota, Rapid City (I-90 at Exit 59), in the Sylvan 2 Room (best access from back of hotel). Light hors d'oeuvres provided; cash bar. See you there!

4. Dem Pre-Convention Field Hearing, June 13
If you want an issue or position considered at the Democratic state convention to be held in Huron June 22-25, please come meet with our delegates, 7 pm, June 13, at the Radisson Hotel in Rapid City. 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

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Pre-Convention Field Hearing

This event is an opportunity to meet with the Pennington County Democratic Party delegates to the State Democratic Party Convention and voice your thoughts, ideas or concerns for them to take to the SD Democratic Convention in Huron, June 22-24.

Pennington Dems that cannot attend the State Convention are especially welcome so you can be well-represented!!

When: June 13, 2006, 7-8:30 pm
Where: Radisson Hotel, 445 Mount Rushmore Road, Rapid City
Executive Room, behind Enigma Restaurant.

Testimony will be heard on a first come first basis. Please bring a written transcript of your testimony so it can be used by the delegates to prepare for the Convention. Please be brief, so everyone will have a chance to share their ideas.

Hope to see you there!

Campaign Kick-Off and Celebration

The party was held on election night, June 6, at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center, and there was a really great turnout.

This was a great party! We got to
  • watch election returns in real-time
  • hear from Democratic candidates
  • enjoy hors d'ouvres, and beverages of our choice
  • as a last minute treat, an inspiring speech by Tom Daschle!! Many thanks are due to Jeff Nelsen for asking Tom to join us!
Below, you can see Senate candidates Dennis Finch (left) and Tom Katus discussing strategy for the fall. Great things are afoot!