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Lowe Criticizes “Culture of Corruption”, Calls for Politics Focused on People

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Lowe addresses the Sioux Falls Democratic Forum, Friday, April 25, 2014
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Lowe addresses the Sioux Falls Democratic Forum, Friday, April 25, 2014

Joe Lowe treated Democratic Forum members yesterday to the kind of stemwinder South Dakota Democrats need. In a quick lunchtime speech, Lowe laid out the case every Democrat should make for regime change in South Dakota. He vowed to end the "culture of corruption" evident in Governor Dennis Daugaard's failed Manpower initiative, the pay-to-play smell of campaign donors getting Future Fund grants, and the loss of $4.3 million in taxpayer dollars in the EB-5/Northern Beef packers debacle. Lowe said he would invest in in-state human capital and promote more public-private partnerships to put university research to work in South Dakota economic development.

Lowe also told two apt anecdotes. First, he said a young woman came into his gallery this month and fell to talking about her career plans. She's going to university in Minnesota and plans to become a teacher. Joe asked her if she planned to come back and teach in South Dakota. She said no way. She said her friends who are teaching in South Dakota all have to work second jobs to pay the bills. She wants to be able to pay off her student loans doing the job she's trained for and loves. She can't do that, she says, in South Dakota. (This sounds too familiar.)

Lowe then told of another customer, an East River businessman, who dropped by the gallery looking for some decoration for his walls. Actually, he's planning to have two sets of walls: he just built a new house East River, and he was in Rapid shopping for land to build his family a nice Black Hills vacation home.

Joe said to the man that business must be pretty good, and the man said you bet. The man then asked Joe, businessman to businessman, what he wanted to do for South Dakota's business climate. Joe said we need to pay higher wages. His customer balked, saying he couldn't afford higher wages.

New house East River, shopping for expensive Black Hills property for a second home, and he can't afford to pay his workers more.

Lowe segued neatly to Pope Francis:

The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefiting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor [Pope Francis, quoted in John Stoehr, "How Pope Francis Challenges the Right (and Left)," The American Conservative, 2014.01.16].

Politics, concluded Lowe, is about people. It's about the 48,000 people with no health insurance because of Governor Daugaard's refusal to expand Medicaid. It's about 36,000 South Dakota kids going to bed not sure if they'll have breakfast in the morning. It's about South Dakota women making 82 cents for each dollar men make. It's about South Dakota kids leaving the state to pay their debts.

For the current regime, said Lowe, politics is not about those people; it's about winning the next election. Lowe wants to win this election, but he wants to win it because he wants to continue protecting the people of South Dakota and making their lives better.

Democrats, pay attention. Lowe's speech to the Democratic Forum shows that if you nominate Lowe for Governor, you will have a fighter who can weave solid policy critiques and strong stories into a powerful candidacy.


  1. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.04.26

    Daugaard has left South Dakotans thinking he is a fiscal conservative because of cutting from education the $127 Million Rounds deficits. What the media has done a poor job of reporting on, is that Daugaard resumed Rounds explosion of government the last 3 years.

    Daugaard has taken Rounds' crony-capitalism to even greater heights by enacting the economic development efforts that were defeated at the ballot in 2012, with the help of Democrats who thought they were getting the programs they wanted, that Daugaard cut out this year AFTER the Democrats helped him thwart the will of the voters last year.

  2. Lynn G. 2014.04.26

    The more I read about Joe Lowe the more I'm impressed! It looks like it was an excellent speech and covered the points needed to distinguish himself from DD and what is important to all of South Dakotans. I liked the quote from Pope Francis.

    Hopefully someone will post this speech to his campaign, facebook and youtube site. I'd like to see it.

  3. Rorschach 2014.04.26

    I usually like to vote on election day, but I may just vote early in this primary. Joe Lowe has my vote.

  4. John Tsitrian 2014.04.26

    I like Lowe's campaign, especially as it is issue- and program-specific, not loaded up with populist rhetoric. In this I believe it contrasts favorably with Rick's senate "take it back" campaign and is likely to get the attention of constituencies who have a stake in the outcome of the election and what it's likely to do for them personally.

  5. David Newquist 2014.04.26

    The corruption Lowe mentions is not centered on specific individuals; he treats as a cultural matter, which it certainly is. The key to change is in providing the evidence of how damaging and demoralizing the entrenched political forces and the attitude that sustains them are. The story of the young who realizes her education and experience are fatal elements in South Dakota. They were used effectively against Tom Daschle and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. The real key to any reform in South Dakota is when the majority realize what a petty, provincial, and resentful lot is in control of the state.

  6. David Newquist 2014.04.26

    Computer is nuts today. Should read: The story of the young who realizes her education and experience are fatal elements in South Dakota is a parable about the state.

  7. mike from iowa 2014.04.26

    Lowe at the very least sounds like a genuine Governor,not a buffoon which seems to be the preference of voters of the wingnut persuasion.

  8. Tara Volesky 2014.04.26

    Mike, did you watch the news conference. PP took all my posts down. Talk about getting shut out. He even took the Lora Hubbel story down. Maybe he is starting to get some complaints from people who are paying attention.

  9. Tara Volesky 2014.04.26

    Professor Newquist, I would love to hear your analysis on the Hubbel, Myers presser, and your take on Myers health care plan. I respect your intellect and honesty. Thanks.

  10. mike from iowa 2014.04.26

    Tara V-if you were referring to me,no I did not watch the video. Short attention span or something.

  11. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.26

    Mike from Iowa, you wrote,"not a buffoon which seems to be the preference of voters of the wingnut persuasion."

    I am ashamed to admit that a month or so ago, after meeting Mike Myers, I said that he was my candidate for Governor, even to the point of contributing some of my scant money to his campaign. I guess I will have to plead guilty, although I have not cast a vote yet, so mea culpa.

  12. Tara Volesky 2014.04.27

    At least you have an open mind Lanny. It's a long time until the general. I have not heard one comment on the Hubbel Myers video, when the last 2 days they were the 2 flew over the coo coos nest talk of the blogs. That was before the video came out. Hmmmm.

  13. shirley Harrington-Moore 2014.04.28

    I'm an unabashed Joe Lowe supporter. What amazes me is how may people think his opponent is going to change in a few days from being Mrs. Milquetoast to having a backbone. I have read more apologies and excuses that she's given in just a few months than I care to think about. We need someone with a fire in the belly to re-energize this party. We don't need someone who will be a one term wonder that will lead into umpteen and twenty succeeding years of Republican domination. Wake up, Dems! Your best shot is an Irishman from west river. Vote Blue. Vote Dem. Vote Joe!

  14. larry kurtz 2014.04.28

    Please join me and send both Rep. Wismer and Mr. Lowe some money.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.28

    Shirley, did you attend the McGovern dinner Saturday? Did both Lowe and Wismer speak? How were their speeches?

  16. shirley Harrington-Moore 2014.04.28

    I did attend the dinner. Both candidates could speak. Wismer read hers off a prepared sheet. Lowe did what he does best -- he spoke from the heart.

  17. shirley Harrington-Moore 2014.04.28

    Corey, Larry Kurtz is right-- the candidates DO need financial encouragement. When I made calls early in Corinna's campaign, one person told me she only gave money to a sure thing. Well guess what? Sometimes we have to get together financially to help a good candidate succeed. Dig in your wallet and put that moldy hundred in the mail to your favorite candidate. We are Dems and a lot of us don't have a lot of money. BTW, I work for Joe for FREE. No one owns me and no one owes me for working for Joe and (from time to time) for Corinna. Get out your check book and send the candidates of your choice a financial clapping of hands. They need it. It COSTS a lot to run for office. SH-M

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.28

    Tara, the posting of the video has nothing to do with coo-coos not cooing. The comment section on that post has numerous comments evaluating the press conference, largely negatively. I haven't posted on it because (1) I wanted to write up my interview with Myers first and (2) I'm looking for an hour to spend watching that video. (Video is so darned linear; I can't scan it the way I can text!)

  19. Larry 2014.04.28

    In the beginning, I was excited about Wismer's campaign. I have now Joe several times and am pleased by his fire. Susan lacks that. They both compliment each other and both would make an excellent executive team.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.28

    Shirley: money only for a sure thing? Tell that person she's a meathead. The sure thing doesn't need money. If you know Candidate X is going to win without your help, you go give your help to Candidate Y who needs your help!

    Nobody is a sure thing until donors, volunteers, and voters make him/her a sure thing.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.28

    Larry, they do offer complementary skills, experiences, and geography. Do you think the two could play well together? Do you think they want to play well together?

  22. larry kurtz 2014.04.28

    Mr. Lowe is scheduled to appear on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio tomorrow during a Dakota Midday segment.

  23. grudznick 2014.04.28

    You people probably think I'm making this up but I believe that Ms. Wismer was a beauty queen at one point.

  24. Jerry 2014.04.28

    Now why would we think that grudznick? You are known here as a serious thinker so whatever you say is golden.

  25. shirley Harrington-Moore 2014.05.01

    Cory, I think this gubernatorial election will be a choice between big money and who you think will be willing to get up at 2 a.m. to handle whatever disaster comes our way.

  26. shirley Harrington-Moore 2014.05.01

    and while I'm writing, how about the fact that ONLY Wismer's picture and bio are apparent on the SDDP website. It might be possible that a coronation is planned. So when the SDDP boys get inundated with phone calls about the situation, they holler 'uncle! Call off the phone calls.' And they suggest that perhaps the best suggestion is to take down both candidates' pictures and bios. Now isn't that a solution? Gotta be some bucks coming in from somewhere, not? Of course the poor overburdened fellers at the office consider themselves too busy -- but for a WHOLE month of only one candidate apparent on the website and if no one says anything....well, you can fill in the scene. Money talks but if people are aware, the best candidate will win.

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