MERCER: Giving thanks for life’s good, past and presentPIERRE — We shall speak only praise of turkeys, and welcome their imminent presence on our dinner tables, in these last days leading to our national feast. May our thoughts turn to the blessings received since we last gathered over cranberries and pumpkin pie.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — We shall speak only praise of turkeys, and welcome their imminent presence on our dinner tables, in these last days leading to our national feast. May our thoughts turn to the blessings received since we last gathered over cranberries and pumpkin pie.
It was a year too dry for many. Despite the drought, we see investment in rural areas continue to boom. Twenty-five years ago we feared for the forever loss of implement dealers and grain terminals. Now they are back, and what is left from 25 years ago of rural South Dakota seems to be, too.
It was a year of mixed directions in politics. Republicans further solidified their grip on South Dakota offices in the elections two weeks ago, while Democrats strengthened their hold on the White House and one-half of Congress. We headed once again the opposite way of the nation.
At least we can be thankful we still have U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson as a Democratic voice for us in the Democratic majority that runs the U.S. Senate.
And we can be thankful we still have U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem as a Republican voice for us in the Republican majority that runs the U.S. House of Representatives.
We also can be thankful that we still have two women elected to statewide offices. Neither Kristi Noem nor Kristie Fiegen, a Republican member of the state Public Utilities Commission, backed down amid the attacks by their Democratic opponents, Matt Varilek and Matt McGovern.
Thanks should be given for the work in the Legislature by Rep. Paul Dennert and Rep. Steve Street. The two Democrats lost their runs for the state Senate but they left lasting improvements for South Dakota.
Dennert led the way for voters to amend the state constitution regarding the cement-plant trust fund so that, long-term, it remains a strong contributor of funding to state government. And Street led the way in the Legislature for the increased licenseplate fees that are helping pay for better local roads.
There are thanks to be given for the coherent and consistent decisions made by voters on five important ballot measures. By clear majorities the voters gave black-and-white direction to the governor and the Legislature.
They said no to a sales-tax increase, using tax money for business grants and putting more state strings on local schools. They said yes to a balanced budget requirement in the constitution and yes to the Dennert amendment for the cement trust fund.
On a personal note, I give thanks for the coming 21st birthday of our daughter, Kimmie, who was born on a snowy Thanksgiving morning we cannot forget.
And I give thanks for our son, Mac, who as a first-semester freshman has accepted a father’s dare to try each of the 100-plus omelets on the menu at Cherry Street Grille just down the road from his USD dorm.
And I give thanks to Ellen, who has endured her husband’s work no matter where it led, and offered only one bit of advice through the many years about this column.
“Too many words!” she said — advice I now and henceforth shall heed.