Patricia Shiery is seeking a Legislative comeback. Pierre watchers know her better as Patricia Stricherz, who unseated Gerry Lange in 2010 to win a term in the House for District 8. After two sessions in Pierre, she left Lake County and left her husband (she says they both recognized the need for a split, and they still talk to each other regularly), and left her married name in the legal dustbin.
Now settled in Rapid City, Shiery is running for House in District 35. Shiery says the changes of the last couple years have made her "a stronger, wiser human being." She very much wants to continue the public service that she started in District 8. But District 35 already has a couple of Republican reps, Don Kopp and Blaine Campbell. Is Shiery trying to upset the local Republican apple cart?
Far from it; similar to her politicking in District 8, she's just following her own muse, regardless of the party power landscape:
As of yet, I have not heard whether or not anyone from district 35 has decided to run again. I know that Representative Campbell is a new legislator and that Representative Kopp is a seasoned legislator. Both bring their own unique talents to the House. My decision to run is based on my desire to go back to Pierre to finish what I believe needs to be accomplished. District 35 just happens to be where I reside [Patricia Shiery, interview with Madville Times, 2014.01.06].
Shiery further showed her apolitical stripe by resisting my attempt to get her to describe her position on the South Dakota Republican spectrum: Adelstein? Rounds? Nelson? Shiery won't bite:
Each of our legislators brings their own personalities, knowledge and commitment to the state house. Comparing them with myself would seem egotistical at most. As for my "brand," I am loyal, honest, trustworthy, caring and committed to the people of our state. I consciously remember every day that I am the elected official of the people not of any other thing, person or corporation [Shiery, 2014.01.06].
Shiery does commit to some issue positions that will keep her from getting a front table at the Pennington County GOP dinner. Asked if she supports the continued use of the EB-5 visa program in South Dakota? Shiery said, "Ummm, really South Dakota!! This topic makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck! One word: audit!!!!"
Shiery remains similarly un-Republican on Powertech's in-situ uranium mining proposal. She resisted Powertech's power grab during her first term in the House, and her resistance continues:
My biggest concern is the safety of all life that this process would affect, the amount of water that has been estimated to be used on a daily basis, and also the inconsistencies in information that has been and is still being given to the public and government, for example; jobs. During the 2011 legislative session each of us was given a different number of jobs that would be created from this project. The first number given in committee was six or seven, but the longer the lobbyist spoke the greater the number of jobs. So my questions to Powertech are, "Can you prove those current numbers? Are you talking about full-time or part-time employment? Are these jobs hired or contracted? What are the job descriptions, qualifications, rate of pay? What is the length of time for these jobs? Are they temporary or permanent? [Shiery, 2014.01.06]
Shiery says she wants the state to continue its fight against the pine beetle, but her inner moonchild speaks up and reminds us that pine beetles are part of the ecosystem and must not be eradicated, certainly not with nasty polluting pesticides. Stricherz supports industrial hemp (yay! we have sponsor for Madville Times Bill 101 in 2015!) and tribal sovereignty, but she also thinks Agenda 21 is a serious threat to our state (no, Patty, it is not).
A little Agenda 21 nuttiness won't outweigh Shiery's heedlessness of the Grand Old Party line on their bread-and-crony issues of Powertech and EB-5 in the eyes of the party leaders. She'll probably get the outsider treatment from party leaders in District 25 just as she did in District 8. But maybe that outsider status will help win friends and votes in an electorate upset with a secret, scheming status quo.