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LETTER: Pierre's abuse of power has local root causes

To the Editor:

Bob Mercer's recent column pointed out the lack of power South Dakota's legislative branch has to counter the dominating power of South Dakota's executive branch. To solve that problem, one needs to understand the root causes.

District 20's Republican legislative machination does provide understanding as to that root cause. The ruling class of Mitchell did not approve a rural conservative Republican from Mount Vernon taking a seat in the Legislature, despite the hard work done on behalf of the South Dakota GOP both locally and statewide by that dedicated Republican. Instead, they anointed one from Mitchell's inner circle of business leaders, whose loyalties may have been proven.

Then there is my own personal experience. I worked hard in 2004 and helped the SDGOP advance Sen. John Thune over former Sen. Tom Daschle. In early 2005, an anonymous Republican started a blog and called me a hillbilly. Another anonymous blog was later created that depicted my family as a bunch of hillbillies whose deformities were caused by practicing incest. That website was mentioned by blogs run by Pat Powers and Todd Epp, both of whose work has been recently published in this paper.

In 2008, I began discussions with members of the Davison County Republican party regarding my interest in filling the seat of the term limited District 20 Sen. Ed Olson. Instead, the party leaders anointed Mike Vehle. I was informed that the leadership of the Davison County Republicans was told I come from a "radical family." I have also been told by more than one person that I have been marginalized within the inner circles of Mitchell's ruling elites.

And for the few principled, conservative Republicans who make it to a legislative seat in Pierre, they are told to vote the way the leadership/executive branch wants and not worry about their constituents finding out.

So with the root causes identified, what shall "we the people" do? If we want to tip the balance of power in Pierre more in the direction of representing all the citizens of South Dakota, we must solve the problem of "when money talks."

Steve Sibson