twuecker at Harney PeakIf one’s home is defined exclusively by physical location, then I’m only about half South Dakotan. I was born in Kansas and lived there until my family moved to South Dakota when I was six. I spent the last 9 years living as a Mount Rushmore State expatriate, first in Minnesota and then in Ohio. However, for as long as I’ve been able to answer for myself when asked the question “Where are you from?”, the answer has always been “I’m from South Dakota.”

To my way of thinking, home is more than where you reside. Home is where you long to be in the quiet moments when nothing else is on your mind; it’s who you care about and why you pay attention to a particular news item or milestone; it’s how you view the vast array of environments you encounter and what lens you use to see the world around you. Within that broader interpretation, South Dakota is—and always will be—my home.

At this particular point in time and for the foreseeable future, South Dakota is also my physical home. I live in Brookings, where I work as a higher education administrator. My family still lives just down the road in Madison, and I’m fortunate to spend as much free time as possible on a family acreage in the Black Hills.

I earned my bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from SDSU, and this blog gives me a chance to more fully incorporate that interest and experience into my life. Coursework in state and local government or newswriting and reporting doesn’t inherently make me a more valuable contributor to the blogosphere than anyone who reads, writes for, or comments on these pages. I do hope, however, that this background gives me an eye for what might make an interesting topic and an ability to present the topic in a way that encourages thought and conversation.

I readily associate myself with the identity of the Madville Times as “liberal media” for this great state. I am a registered Democrat and have campaigned for more than my fair share of progressive candidates in local, statewide, and national races. I don’t agree with everything said by individuals using the same “liberal,” “Democrat,” or “progressive” labels I use, but I find that my own views align more often than not with such folks and are more likely to align with them than with individuals who label themselves as “conservative,” “Republican,” or “traditional.”

It’s important for all readers to understand that the labels I choose to use and the opinions I choose to express as a Madville Times author are solely reflective of me as an individual. Nothing I write here should be interpreted as the opinion of my employer (the South Dakota Board of Regents acting through the Administration of South Dakota State University) or of any group with which I affiliate myself personally or professionally. Likewise, my contributions carry only my personal authority and reputation as a private citizen and member of the greater South Dakota community—the same authority available to any Madville Times contributor. Nothing I write, unless explicitly stated, carries any added authority or reputation from individuals or organizations willing to associate themselves with me.

All that said, I think it’s time for you, Dear Reader, to stop reading about me and start reading about the countless topics of greater importance contained within this site. I look forward to our discussions, debates, and discoveries!