Ken Santema puts serious miles on his car and keyboard to provide detailed coverage of the candidates forum held at Oglala Lakota College in Kyle last week. Well done, Ken! Among Santema's newsworthy observations:

  1. Four out of five of South Dakota's gubernatorial candidates oppose the Keystone XL pipeline! Unfortunately, the one who supports Keystone XL is Governor Dennis Daugaard, the one who is in a position to do the most to stop TransCanada's land grab.
  2. Of the four gubernatorial candidates, Independent Mike Myers offers the most specific plan for economic development on the reservations: hemp production!
  3. Santema, an open-minded conservative, says Democrats should pick Joe Lowe over Susan Wismer in the primary two weeks from today:

...Lowe trampled over Wismer.... He had a best overall grasp of topics from any of the gubernatorial candidates.... He also has much more relevant experience for actually being a governor.... I think the Democrats in SD should choose Lowe over Wismer because he has the best chance of bring a good fight to Daugaard. I hate blow-out elections and feel Wismer couldn’t get any general election votes beyond the ones that would already vote Democrat [Ken Santema, "OLC Candidate Forum Part 2: The Gubernatorial Candidates," SoDakLiberty, 2014.05.19].

  1. Santema takes umbrage at the fact that Senate candidates Mike Rounds and Clayton Walker did not even bother to respond. "It is quite disrespectful to the whole election process to not even acknowledge when constituents are reaching out to them," says Santema. Remember that, voters.
  2. Republican candidate Stace Nelson says the United States should not intervene militarily in Nigeria to attack Boko Haram, the Islamic fundamentalist rebels who kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian girls in March. "We are not the police force of the world," said the conservative former military policeman. Santema says that Democratic House candidate Corinna Robinson supports more U.S. involvement in foreign affairs.
  3. Robinson doesn't support Keystone XL; Nelson expresses concerns about allowing TransCanada to use eminent domain against Americans.
  4. Republican Senate candidate wants to see the candidates debate on the reservation during the general election. Santema thinks that's a great idea... and so do I! Just going to the reservation to cover this one forum got Santema interested in covering "SD DSS mishandling of native-American adoptions and foster care, federal land grab in the Badlands that impacts Lakota ranchers, and the creation and use of the cryptocurrency Mazacoin by the Traditional Lakota Nation." Hauling the mainstream media out to Kyle or up to Sisseton or whichever other reservation would like to host would bring bloggers, reporters, and candidates face-to-face with a portion of the South Dakota electorate that is too often ignored or taken for granted.