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Tsitrian Maps Dem Route to GOP Votes on Wages, Medicaid, and Public Lands

John Tsitrian writes the most interesting Republican blog in South Dakota. Instead of recycling the handouts from party uppity-ups, Tsitrian provides original content, the kind of home-grown research and analysis that makes the South Dakota Blogosphere worth reading and discussing. Consider Tsitrian's this-week œuvre:

Monday Tsitrian follows up on my look at vo-tech in-state placement rates, synthesizes it with the latest Dakota Poll data from his neighbor Sam Hurst, and concludes that South Dakota doesn't have a worker shortage; it has a wage shortage:

More concerning to me is the way I've seen so many outstanding young people take off as soon as they finish high school or college. Anecdotal as it may be, I think there's some confirmation about it being a common aspect of growing up South Dakotan. Certainly the fact that a quarter of last year's Vo-Tech grads left the state is a telling example. A Dakota Poll that came out yesterday gives some confirmation about young people and their attitudes toward remaining in South Dakota. Dakota Poll board member Sam Hurst said in a KOTA television interview that the economy could force those with higher education to leave the state. Hurst notes that "having economic security, that's their greatest fear. That they can't get that in South Dakota."

We'll see if Governor Daugaard's "workforce summits" will address this situation head on. Leading up to the election they could be more show than tell, but at some point the low wage issue has to be addressed. It's either that or continue to complain about what should be labelled a wage--not a labor--shortage [John Tsitrian, "25% Of South Dakota's Vo-Tech Grads Leave The State. I Wonder Why. The Latest Dakota Poll Gives A Clue," The Constant Commoner, 2014.03.24].

On Wednesday, Tsitrian puts his businessman's beanie over his Republican hat and asks why on earth his party won't accept the ACA Medicaid expansion:

From my Republican perspective this leaves much to be desired in the way of ideological purity, but from my businessman's point of view, it's how the world is. I'm much more the pragmatist than the ideologue when it comes to matters of public money. And on that basis I think turning down the Medicaid expansion deal is just plain bad business.

...Given that the Daugaard administration has an acute fixation on economic development, it seems odd--strange, maybe--that the governor isn't enthusiastically endorsing this opportunity. We're talking about a $2 billion windfall, which I have no doubt will rollover a few times and create much more than that over the next several years. I really think our elected leadership is doing a disservice to South Dakota by turning down this kind of money. [John Tsitrian, "Medicaid, Shmedicaid. I'm Looking At The Bucks Involved--And We're Nuts Not To Take This Expansion Deal From The Feds," The Constant Commoner, 2014.03.26].

On Friday, hotelier Tsitrian, still smarting from Congresswoman Kristi Noem's punishing kamikaze politics on the budget last fall when she shut down the federal government and Mount Rushmore, takes Rep. Noem to task for voting against the public interest, his own tourism business interest, and her own ideological interest in opposing environmental regulations by voting to restrict the creation of National Monuments:

...That she still hasn't grasped the connection between parks and their economic value was made quite evident in her vote a few days ago for a bill titled "Ensuring Public Involvement In The Creation Of National Monuments Act," which passed the House on pretty much party line voting. Basically the act limits the president to creating one national monument per state during each four year term and requires environmental reviews for each proposed monument over 5,000 acres in size.

...Thankfully for those of us who make a living from and enjoy the wonders of South Dakota's national parks, nothing like this law was in place when Mt. Rushmore was created or the Badlands were turned into one of the great, protected geological wonders on the planet. Could you imagine an environmental review process being imposed on Mt. Rushmore? Might just as well assume it would never have come into being. Given that the state she represents is virtually identified by Mt. Rushmore, why Congresswoman Noem would put barriers against future generations enjoying yet-to-be-designated monuments and parks is mystifying [John Tsitrian, "The Antiquities Act Of 1906 Has Been A Bonanza For South Dakota. Congresswoman Noem's Attitude: So, What?" The Constant Commoner, 2014.03.28].

Sure, I'm biased in my assessment of the quality of Tsitrian's blog by the fact that he's a Republican agreeing with my Democratic view on South Dakota's need for higher wages, expanded Medicaid, and federal protection of public lands and other treasures. My Republican neighbors may find Tsitrian's statements more unprincipled or appalling than interesting.

But I find interest in Tsitrian's works specifically because they challenge partisan assumptions. He is no raving liberal. He takes issues that you'll hear sloganized by the Daugaard, Rounds, and Noem and reframes them in bread-and-butter South Dakota terms. He shows smart Democrats practical issues around which they can wrap the Democratic brand and win centrist South Dakotan votes. That's good reason for Republicans and Democrats to read Tsitrian's blog.


  1. John Tsitrian 2014.03.29

    Thanks, Cory. Should be obvious that MT and its comments section is a motherlode of info and ideas that I build on for many of my posts.

  2. Jerry 2014.03.29

    Great post and great blogging from John T. on his vision of how business is supposed to work from a businessman's point of view. I could go on, but it is more and more obvious to me that the republican party has truly lost their compass when it comes to being the party of business, sadly that seems to be lost. We now are loaded with ideologues with such tunnel vision, the walls are collapsing. The time has come for them to be shown the door and be removed from these places of trust and leadership. The idea that we not only have such a strong need for healthcare for our working poor is clear. The dumbing down with the act of the middle finger of a huge influx of money for our doctors and hospitals, is business malpractice. We need a true two party system to make things work and it is clear that a one party apparatus, is a fools errand. Business leaders like John T. can show the way, and his opinion and actions at his blog site, can make the difference. Lets hope that these leaders can convince others that the time has come for a big change.

  3. Rorschach 2014.03.29

    A young couple I know left South Dakota this week. The husband with his shiny new masters degree found a good job in the Minneapolis area. He had looked for a job in SD to no avail, but expanded his search to MN. They are looking forward to Twins games and the proximity of the Minnesota Zoo as they start a family. Another example of SD training Minnesota's workforce.

  4. mike from iowa 2014.03.29

    Which of the faces on Rushmore get removed so Saint Ronnie Raygun gets the place of honor? This has nothing to do with public input,unless public input is done by korporate amerika and their desire to rape the environment. The last thing wingnuts want is public input.

  5. rollin potter 2014.03.29

    Cory, In all the time i have been following the blogs on your site i have only come up with three people who seem to have any common sense, honesty and intelligence to really represent the people of south dakota!!!!!!!! Either nick nemec or John tsitrian for governor or LT. Governor in either order and Cory Heidelberger as there chief of staff!!!!!!

  6. RepresentUsPlease 2014.03.29

    Mr. Tsitrian is a good example of the way politics used to be, both side working together for the common good. I find it hard to believe that the constantly farther leaning right that is today's republican party would support his views, they would be more willing to call him a liberal traitor, and then toss him under the bus. Shame really, I remember what it used to be like here.

  7. RepresentUsPlease 2014.03.29

    As far as wages here goes, republicans running the state now are so proud of their "positive business environment", they will fight anything they see as a threat to that. The fact that, more wages equals more money to spend equals more business ect, make no difference to them. My kids couldn't wait to get out of here after they graduated, they keep asking me why I stay, I could increase my wages by 35% by just going across the border. I tell them our roots are here and I'm like an old tree, just can't take me out of the ground at my age. If Daugaard thinks his programs are going to keep the youth here without them getting a decent wage, then he isn't as smart as he leads on. Just training other states workers at our expense. As with most republicans these days, hating Obama is all the reason he needs to turn down the extra medicare funding, and we all know how republicans really feel about the people this extra funding would help the most.

  8. Robin Page 2014.03.29

    Great article!

  9. Chris S. 2014.03.30

    Great post. It's refreshing and hopeful to hear that there are still a few Republicans who hold some actual common-sense principles and aren't afraid to speak out. It's a real contrast to all the others who have either gone off the deep end, or are merely bowing and scraping to party orthodoxy so they can climb the ladder in Pierre.

    Thanks for the post.

  10. Jerry 2014.03.30

    In addition to the business sense it makes to expand Medicaid, what about the 36 South Dakotans that will die at the hands of the Republicans?

    These are real people. They are not just unimportant pawns in the political games these republican asshats are playing. 36 dead working poor people from South Dakota will die due to the republican miscarriage of duty. These are our neighbors, family and friends that pay taxes. Dennis Daugaard are you listening? You sir are a cold blooded murderer in the first degree. The corruption has risen to the point in Pierre that even this atrocity is acceptable for your political aspirations. Sit in your church and ask for forgiveness for this. Then ask yourself why in heaven that would be granted to you. By the way, for a broke state, you sure seem to be able to come with a million here and a million there for all sorts of pet projects, where does life fit in?

  11. G-Man 2014.03.31

    Corey, you should consider moving out here with Deb. You would be much happier in the long run.

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