Governor Dennis Daugaard got at least one Minneapolis reporter to come watch him conduct his publicity stunt in the Mall of America Monday. "Daugaard was there to pitch and persuade, not talk to the media," notes reporter Lee Schafer, who then reports on the folks Labor Secretary Pam Roberts made sure were available to talk to the media:
Daugaard stood just a few feet from the kiosk, as TV cameramen from Sioux Falls stations hovered nearby, greeting people who were rounded up by his staff. One by one, the governor made a personal pitch for each visitor to live and work in South Dakota.
...“This is one we really want to get back,” said Pam Roberts, cabinet secretary of the Department of Labor and Regulation, walking up to greet a young woman standing next to me. Before Roberts could introduce her, the woman stuck out her hand and said, “Hi, I’m Nicole Stengle.”
Stengle does sound like a perfect Dakota Roots target. She grew up in Pierre, and has a degree in industrial engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her work experience includes positions at the 3M Co., and she has worked for the last 2 ½ years at Target.
Stengle had just a moment to talk before the governor was ready to see her, but I got a sense of her dilemma. She likes her career opportunities in places like the Twin Cities, with large, stable employers like Target. And she very much likes her home state.
Maybe Sioux Falls one day will have a good opportunity, she said, as “Sioux Falls is where most of my good friends have migrated to” [Lee Schafer, "S.D. Sends Governor Recruiting at the MOA," Star Tribune, 2013.05.15].
Stengle isn't dragging down Mines' graduate salary average cashiering at Target; she's a Compliance Business Partner, which sounds important. It's at least important enough that when she looks at our glittering bastion of business and culture, Sioux Falls, a place filled with most of her good friends, the best she can say is "Maybe... one day...."
Schafer likens the Governor's mall time to a visit from Santa Claus (note: the Governor stood the entire time, allowing no lap-sitting... which might have improved turnout). Like me, Schafer also wonders about the efficiency of the stunt:
With a $200,000 campaign and the cost of flying the state’s plane to Minnesota to have the governor chat up mall visitors, Dakota Roots would not appear to be paragon of government efficiency, but I decided not to bring that up with a governor who appeared to be so thoroughly enjoying his hour at a shopping mall [Schafer, 2013.05.15].
Come on, Lee! We like the Minnesota press for asking questions the South Dakota media doesn't. But you get half-credit for at least mentioning this apparently inefficient expenditure of South Dakota resources.
If Daugaard's trip was about getting big-city press, the presence of one Minneapolis reporter amidst the Sioux Falls camera crews suggests even that plan failed. Let's hope his corporate recruiting meetings produced more results.