Gov. Dennis Daugaard
To the Editor: Classes are beginning again, football season will soon be underway and South Dakota's favorite end-of-summer event is coming up—the South Dakota State Fair, held Sept. 3 through Sept. 7 in Huron. The State Fair has a proud history of educating children (and their parents) about how our farmers and ranchers produce food. Whether it's watching a livestock show, getting up close and personal with a calf or lamb, sitting in the seat of a new combine or tractor, asking an exhibitor what their goats eat or learning Mrs.
Like other young South Dakotans, Kelcie Hauf, of Dell Rapids, is getting ready to head back to school. As a high school senior, Kelcie is trying to decide which field to study when she graduates. Rather than wait until she gets to college to explore career options, Kelcie is participating in the dual credit program. Because she is considering a career in counseling, Kelcie took a dual credit introductory speech course last spring.
My mom and dad took pride in self-reliance and taught me the value of hard work. They both worked hard on our family farm, and when the farm went upside-down financially, they both took jobs as janitors at Augustana College to make ends meet. Mom and Dad were also both deaf, but their inability to hear did not prevent them from working to support my sisters and me. They taught us that all work has dignity, and that idleness is not an option.
It's rally time in South Dakota. What started in 1938 as a single motorcycle race in a small town in South Dakota has grown into one of the largest and most well-known motorcycle gatherings in the world. This year is the 75th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and it may be the largest biker gathering of all time. I've heard estimates ranging from 800,000 to 1.2 million people. These motorcycle enthusiasts aren't just visiting Sturgis.
To the Editor: It used to be mosquitoes weren't much cause for concern. It wasn't until 13 years ago when West Nile Virus emerged in South Dakota that the nuisance became a formidable health concern. Just weeks ago, at the end of June, the South Dakota Department of Health reported the state's first West Nile case of the year in Brown County. Though there has only been one human case reported thus far, mosquito pools in two counties have tested positive for the virus.
Recently I had the honor of speaking about South Dakota's criminal justice system at a policy briefing on Capitol Hill. I talked with policymakers about the process we undertook to study our growing prison population and the criminal justice reforms we adopted in 2013. I encouraged those who attended to look to South Dakota as they consider making similar reforms at the federal level. It was an easy pitch, because the reforms we've adopted in South Dakota are already bringing positive results.
South Dakotans all share three goals for our education system. First, we want a quality system of schools focused on student success. Second, we want a workforce of great teachers. Finally, we want an efficient, equitable funding system that supports those goals. Earlier this year, I joined with legislative leaders to create the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students. This task force will seek public input, collect and analyze data, and make recommendations to the 2016 State Legislature for reform. The first step has already begun.
When I was a young boy, I couldn't wait for summer. After nine months of school, June meant a break from studies and long, adventure-filled days outdoors in South Dakota. Oh, sure, I still had work to do, just like most kids who grew up on the farms and in the small towns of South Dakota. I worked in the bean fields, did chores around the farm and helped in any other ways the family needed. But when the work was done, I spent many warm, lazy days canoeing on the Big Sioux River, swimming and exploring the wooded areas along the river bottom.
We are fortunate to live in a relatively safe state. We tend to leave our cars running in the winter; we let our kids play outside; and, in some places, people lock their car doors not worrying about theft, but because they don't want their neighbors leaving them any more zucchini. It's true that less populated places tend to be safer, but our public safety is not owed solely to our rural nature. It is also thanks to our law enforcement. Those who enforce our laws live selfless lives. They're courageous, hard-working and dedicated individuals.
This past week has shown us, yet again, why we can be proud to be South Dakotans. On May 8, our state welcomed President Barack Obama to Watertown. Linda and I were honored to greet the president at the airport and to join his motorcade as he rode to the Civic Arena. Thousands of people lined the entire 4-mile route — waving, cheering and holding American flags.