NELSON: Rebel approach rubs establishment wrong way
Wow. How about those spectacular stories recently about the "retired Marine" and modern day Rambo-Hulk Republican representative rappelling down the walls in the Capitol rotunda and running through the halls chewing out and threatening pasty-faced, slick-haired politicians for insults uttered to the vengeful behemoth during debates.
Reports from reliable rumors are that some of our elected representatives actually fainted at the sound of the giant's voice or upon a glimpse of this fierce war machine's visage. Subsequent to the speaker calling out the Highway Patrol, rumors on good source have it the governor considered activating the Army National Guard to deal with this rampaging juggernaut.
I confess, I was as surprised as everyone else to find out that this contrived menace was this career law enforcement officer, retired NCIS investigator and your duly elected representative.
Another legislator, and myself, had a minor mutual verbal disagreement regarding the legislator's inappropriate comments toward me during an official debate, and his anger toward me for helping voters put his voting record online at www.SDRepublican.org. Similar workplace disagreements happen every day in workplaces across the state. No threats were made, and it was as un-newsworthy of an incident as the many dry disputes that occur here every day.
The disagreement, though, was intentionally blown way out of proportion and mischaracterized to the press to facilitate House Republican leadership (Reps. Rausch and Lust's) retaliation for my being the main person responsible for reporting their recently made public misconduct ranging from tampering and obstruction of legislators' bills to removing me from my position on the Ag Committee because of my opposition to the massive foreign dairy people are trying to force on Hanson County. Rausch and Lust immediately reported that they "punished" me by edict that I was not welcome in the Republican caucus, my "seat" was moved to the front of the House floor, I was to be removed from my committee position on the Judiciary Committee, and I was forbidden to speak on the House floor during session debates.
These two do not have the individual authority to punish anyone and it is illegal for them to obstruct a legislator from representing and speaking on the floor during session. Only the House legislative body can punish someone (House Legislative Rules Chapter 6) and the speaker is required to allow every legislator to speak during debates (Joint Legislative Rules Chapter 1-4, and 1-5). As proof of their mischaracterization, and that their actions were retaliation, they have had to quietly rescind their illegal edict that I am forbidden from representing my district in session debate, I have not been removed from the Judiciary Committee, and the extra security they called for to enhance their illegitimate claims are gone. I have not fought the seat move, as I like it, because they actually moved me to one of the best spots in the whole House of Representatives.
Many folks who deal with Pierre often comment about the incestuous nature of Pierre politics where so many people are intertwined and interconnected. In this case, a reporter, who worked for a previous Republican administration, with reported continuing ties to establishment Republicans, helped out by weighing in with slanted reporting and followed up with an editorial hack job meant to finish the character assassination started in his slanted news story. The reporter knows, from repeated past corrections, that I am a retired federal agent having retired as an NCIS investigator and not a retired Marine. He also knew that the ominous pistol trophy on my desk for a couple days last session was from a friendly legislative charity pistol shoot that I organized in which I raised over $1,200 for the local Mitchell CASA program. But readers would not have believed the mischaracterization he helped peddle if he used those salient facts.
The real issue is, as I promised when I ran for office, is that I don't play party politics or take my orders from these establishment Republicans. I refused to turn a blind eye to misconduct by these two and others simply because they were registered Republicans. I vote and speak on the issue on the merits, which is often contrary to the way they have ordered, and which often helps defeat or pass legislation against their wishes. Realize, though, in three separate conservative voter report cards from last session, I was ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the whole Legislature, and Rausch and Lust were ranked near the bottom.
Regardless of these petty political attacks, I will never sell out my duty to you the folks I love and serve. Please follow legislation at www.Legis.State.sd.us and contact me by e-mail at Rep.Nelson@state.sd.us, by fax at (605) 773-6806, or by message at (605) 773-3851.
Stace Nelson is a Republican from Fulton representing District 25 -- Hanson and McCook counties, and part of Minnehaha County -- in the state House of Representatives.