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Sheep Rancher Tammy Basel: Reasonable Republican for District 29 House?

Republican Tammy Basel announced her candidacy for District 29 House last week. The Union Center woman raises sheep with her blogging husband Dallis out by Union Center. I called candidate Basel, angling for a few provocative quotes revealing another wild-eyed West River wingnut rarin' to wreak havoc on good government. Instead I got... well, darn, a Republican who sounds rather sensible about issues that matter to all of South Dakota.

I mentioned guns early in our conversation, because talking about guns is a requirement for West River politicians, right? Basel had the audacity to say that South Dakota has more to worry about than gun bills.

Basel said her top issues are agriculture, education, and small towns. She says she wants South Dakotans to be able to buy more steak and lamb and wool from our own producers. She says teachers are the "workhorses" of our state and wants to have a conversation with them and with parents and with all taxpayers to discuss where we want our education system to go long-term. She wants to promote economic development in small towns so teachers and ranchers and everyone else in rural South Dakota can come to town and enjoy decent shopping and entertainment without having to truck all the way to Rapid City or Sioux Falls.

Dang—with an agenda like that, I'd say Tammy Basel sounds a lot like me. But that's a mean thing to say about someone trying to win election in a district that's 58% Republican and 23% Democrat.

Basel does strike a proper conservative tone when she wonders why we need to pass so many new laws every year. She says she'd prefer we just tweak existing regulations to help towns and businesses get things done. For instance, Basel thinks Meade County could use a little more freedom to levy taxes to cover costs of services during the Sturgis Rally. She proposes making it easier for Summerset to build a wastewater system to promote residential and industrial development. She'd also like to declare the New Underwood Road from New Underwood to Highway 34 a state highway to promote economic development in District 29.

Basel has been national president of Women Involved in Farm Economics. Basel says her experience in that grassroots organization has taught her the importance of networking and listening. "Learning starts when you stop talking and start listening," Basel says, appealing to the Socratic teacher in me. She says she hasn't formulated a specific policy agenda because she wants to hear what the voters are thinking. (If they're all thinking about guns, I don't know what she'll do.)

This campaign is Basel's first swing at elected office. I look forward to hearing what any Republican primary challengers (and maybe one or two brave Meade County Democrats... please? Any takers?) will have to say to challenge what at this point sounds like a reasonable approach to public policy.


  1. interested party 2014.02.04

    A 'reasonable republican' who supports the aerial slaughter of South Dakota wildlife while promoting moral hazard as self-reliance: priceless.

  2. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.02.04

    Having lived in Newell for 6 years, I can attest that there is no decent way to get from Hwy 34 to Rapid City without going through Sturgis. The ranchers who live east of Newell either have to add extra miles or take gravel all the way to I 90. Anything from Wall to Box Elder is a long, long drive.

    PAVE THE ROAD! Elect a sheep rancher, SD. You won't be sorry.

  3. interested party 2014.02.04

    Elk Vale Road will be paved soon enough to the Hereford Road. Why not just pave Paradise and put up a B1-B parking lot?

    Gaia be merciful.

  4. interested party 2014.02.04

    The road between Union Center and New Underwood is fine, Alan Aker has been appointed king of Meade County, why worry now?

  5. interested party 2014.02.04

    President Obama: buy these losers out and rewild the West.

  6. grudznick 2014.02.04

    Lyman Pretty Weasel, his mouth stuff full of dirt.

  7. interested party 2014.02.04

    A lamb operation on stolen treaty ground subsidized by the new farm bill to be marketed to Israel: is this a great country or what?

  8. Jerry 2014.02.04

    Nailed it Larry!

  9. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.02.04

    Grudz, what are you talking about?

  10. Roger Cornelius 2014.02.04

    grudz is off his medication again

  11. grudznick 2014.02.04

    You people just don't get my good friend Larry's star track references like I do. Larry does.

  12. Mary 2014.02.15

    ...finally.. a republican candidate that Dems. & Indep. can vote for !!

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.02.16

    Hold that phone, Mary: Basel sounds sensible, but I'd like to hear her tested in a debate against a good Democrat. Have we found one yet in District 29?

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