Press "Enter" to skip to content

McGrath Plan: Pine Beetle, Ethanol Synergy, LED Lights… and No Culture War!

Last updated on 2012.11.18

The District 33 Senate race pits Republican Rep. Phil Jensen against Independent Matt McGrath. Both men have brave mustaches. That makes this race a hard choice.

But if neither man can win by a whisker, maybe one can win by telling us what he plans to do in Pierre. Matt McGrath would win that contest. He's just posted a four-point plan that tells us what he will do and what he won't do in Pierre:

  1. Turn pine beetles into motor fuel! Well, not quite. McGrath advocates ten-tupling funding for forest thinning to fight the pine beetle, from $1 million to $10 million a year. What to do with all those felled trees? Turn them into cellulosic ethanol, which McGrath says is likely enough that we should forge private-sector partnerships to build a cellulosic ethanol plant in the Black Hills. (I need to get down to a legislative forum and ask McGrath about this report questioning the viability of cellulosic ethanol.)
  2. Convert school lighting to LED bulbs. Don't let Lora Hubbel hear about this, but McGrath says we scrounge up thousands of dollars for each school in costs savings just by switching to LED lighting.
  3. Promote the Homestake Underground Laboratory. McGrath is fuzzy here. He says the Homestake Lab could turn the Black Hills into the next Silicon Valley, but he doesn't make clear what role the Legislature can take in making such development happen.
  4. "Never Sponsor, or Co-Sponsor, Social Policies." McGrath vows never to dirty his hands with "legislation that furthers a right wing or left wing social agenda." McGrath is referring primarily to his opponent, whose backside he blisters in a page dedicated to Rep. Jensen's anti-Muslim hysteria and advocacy of killing doctors who perform abortions. But I wonder: isn't funding public education part of a social agenda?

McGrath's four-point plan invites debate. But at least he's focused on practical lawmaking, not on the culture war that seems to preoccupy his opponent.


  1. larry kurtz 2012.10.08

    curious experiment: with whom might he caucus?

Comments are closed.