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Charlie Johnson, Businessman, vs. Russell Olson, Bureaucrat

Last updated on 2012.10.26

Charlie Johnson
Charlie Johnson

District 8 Senate candidate Charlie Johnson forwards his responses to a questionnaire from the Moody County Enterprise. As I review his text, an interesting comparison jumps to mind between Johnson and his opponent, Senator Russell Olson.

Charlie Johnson has a degree in business administration and has actually been in business for three decades as an organic farmer.

Senator Russell Olson, R-8/Wentworth
Russell Olson

Russell Olson has degrees in English (?!?), political science, and public administration. His biography mentions no experience running his own business. He has worked primarily as a bureaucrat, a beneficiary of the political patronage of Bill Janklow and Jerry Prostrollo. He currently makes his living handing out other people's money.

Now I don't think business experience is a unique qualifier for government service. But for those of you who say we need more people with business experience in government, doesn't Charlie Johnson's experience place him head and shoulders above Russell Olson?

Candidate Q&A

Name: Charlie Johnson

Hometown: Madison,SD

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Notable biographical points: (Relatives in politics, served over seas, etc...)I'm a farmer, lifelong resident of Lake County, and served as county commissioner(87-95). I graduated from Madison High School(75) and attended Dakota State University where I graduated(80) with a BS degree in Business Administration.

What made you want to run for office? To allow the voters in District 8 the opportunity to have a choice in the type of legislator they wish to have represent their views in Pierre.

Experience in position you are running for? I have served in student government on both the high school and college level. My involvement with FFA in high school taught me how in part along with other things how to conduct a meeting. I have served on the Lake County Commissioner for 8 years. Through the years I have served on the board of directors of many worthwhile organizations.

What "qualifies" you for this position? First and foremost, I'm an organic farmer who has successfully develop along with other family members a farm that is recognized locally and nationwide as a leader in organic farming. Through work with organizations that I belong to including SD Resources Coalition, Dakota Rural Action, Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society, I know the importance of working together with others on a common goal or issue.

What are the issues that you believe YOU need to address the most? And why are you the person for the job? Issues of importance include education for all ages, improvement with infrastructure(mostly locally), and better opportunities for our youth. I believe strongly in better funding for education where I promote the concept of BEEF(better education expects to be funded). Referred law #16 is bad legislation and I will vote against it.

What makes you a better option than the other candidates? I offer the voters of District 8 a clear choice in how issues are viewed and the measures by which we can improve things for all residents in the state South Dakota. Whether I'm a better option is up to the voters of District 8.

Why should the people of Moody County vote for you? The people of Moody County along with all of District 8 will recognize that I will work hard for them. I believe in the common person who carries on the daily struggle of making a living, investing in the future, caring for his community and family. People in Moody County, all residents of District 8, and the citizens of South Dakota share my belief that the number one asset we have is the land itself and the bright young minds that live upon it [Charlie Johnson, responses to Moody County Enterprise questionnaire, submitted by e-mail to the Madville Times, October 23, 2012].


  1. mike 2012.10.24

    Russ Olson will be tough for anyone to defeat. He's a fundraiser and hard campaigner.

  2. Jerry 2012.10.24

    The very best to you Mr. Johnson. You are up against a professional and I think that it may be time for him to go. Sometimes we just need change to move forward.

  3. Lorri May 2012.10.24

    Besides being a successful organic farmer and businessman, Charlie is an all-around good guy. He is approachable and can talk to anyone, whatever their background or experience. He will work *for* Dist. 8, rather than just be a rubber stamp for anything Gov. Daugaard wants, as his opponent has proven to be. I will be voting for Charlie this Nov.

  4. Michael Black 2012.10.25

    I know you have permission to use Charlie's image in your blog, but lifting Russell Olson's image from the Heartland website is uncool.

  5. Bill Fleming 2012.10.25

    No, not "uncool," Michael. "Fair Use."

  6. Bill Fleming 2012.10.25

    ...and if I were to put a pirate eye patch on the photo and a saber in his teeth that would be ever better. Funny "fair use."

  7. Michael Black 2012.10.25

    The pirate patch would probably get you by as satire. Cory still should get permission to use the image in his blog.

  8. Bill Fleming 2012.10.25

    Is it your shot, Michael?

  9. Michael Black 2012.10.26

    Both images are mine. Charlie's is fine. Russell Olson's is not. It is not fair use if a blogger takes images without permission of the copyright holder.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.26

    The photographer has spoken. I have replaced the image... as a personal favor, not an acknowledgement of the validity of any legal argument. ;-)

Comments are closed.