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The focus has shifted to tax reform on Capitol Hill, but three of South Dakota's candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives still have an eye on improving the nation's health care system. When visiting Mitchell this month, Democrat Tim Bjorkman spoke with The Daily Republic about various issues, but the discussion kept returning to health care reform. A former judge and lawyer, Bjorkman spoke of his experience seeing people's lives destroyed when they were denied insurance due to pre-existing conditions.
As two widely known Republicans vie for their party’s nomination for governor, two other South Dakotans are waiting in the wings for their moment in the spotlight. While U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and state Attorney General Marty Jackley rake in the campaign cash, former state legislator Lora Hubbel and lawyer Terry LaFleur are working to get their name recognition up before next summer’s GOP primary.
Following in the footsteps of U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, 2018 U.S. House of Representatives candidates Dusty Johnson and S.D. Secretary of State Shantel Krebs are gaining some national attention. Krebs and Johnson were deemed "On the Radar" for the National Republican Congressional Committee's (NRCC) Young Guns program Thursday. Seven years ago, before upsetting then-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the 2010 election, Noem was also deemed "On the Radar" of the NRCC.
A 2017 budget of $3.61 million wasn't enough to get the Davison County Highway Department through the year. On Tuesday, the Davison County Commission unanimously authorized a $700,000 supplement from the general fund to support the Highway Department through the end of the year. The supplement was authorized at Tuesday's regular board meeting at the county's north offices in Mitchell. "I hope that gets them through the year," Auditor Susan Kiepke said during the meeting. "... That's a lot. I'm not happy with that, but they keep spending."
The Mitchell City Council met briefly Monday morning to clear up a land issue. A tract of land at what's now known as West 20th Avenue and Pheasant Street near the Quail View Senior Living complex was set to be deeded to CJM Consulting in the past, but never was. At Monday's special meeting at City Hall, the council unanimously approved the transfer of a small, triangular piece of land.
No matter which of the three leading U.S. House of Representative candidates South Dakotans pick at the polls next November, they can be sure it's a contender who backs the Second Amendment. In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, Republicans Dusty Johnson and Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, and Democrat Tim Bjorkman, each said they would maintain their support for the right to bear arms if elected next year.
South Dakota was one of the nation's first states met with a limited labor supply, but those early issues may lead to even earlier solutions. The state "bellwethered the national problem" in which the labor market struggled to keep up with the employment needs, according to Mitchell Area Development Corporation Executive Director Bryan Hisel. But Hisel said the workforce woes striking South Dakota early on may give the state a leg up on the rest of the nation.
Tuesday was a big day for Transportation Commissioner and former state Sen. Mike Vehle. More than two years after his highway and bridge funding bill — known as Senate Bill 1 — made its long journey through the state Legislature, Vehle was on hand for the ribbon-cutting of the first bridge rehabilitation project completed through the bill. The Foster Street bridge just north of Mitchell was rehabilitated for approximately $665,000 over the summer, keeping it in service for years to come with a full-scale rebuild.
Instead of a "budget-breaker," the Davison County Commission was met with an affordable bid for jail security improvements Tuesday. The board approved a $49,530 purchase, contingent on the project being completed by Dec. 31, to do headend improvements, door-lock integration and the replacement of select cameras throughout the Davison County Jail. Essentially, the project would replace the surveillance system that was damaged last year. And the cost was to the liking of the board.
The “Gary Munsen Court” will have to wait. The Mitchell City Council had nothing but kind words to say about former Mitchell High School teacher and legendary basketball coach Gary Munsen, but council members tabled a decision to rename the Corn Palace floor after him to receive more public input. “Once you name it, I don’t think you can unname it,” Council President Steve Rice warned.