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Daugaard Too Busy to Debate in Rapid City; Selling Sioux Falls in NYC Wears a Guy Out!

Governor Dennis Daugaard has declined the Rapid City Journal's invitation to debate in Rapid City in October, saying he's too busy with all of his gubernatorial duties... hobnobbing with rich people in New York City to promote Sioux Falls:

South Dakota's governor and economic development leaders are leading a campaign to encourage national companies to relocate to Sioux Falls.

The delegation is in New York City this week to promote the state's largest city to financial writers in the hopes of attracting development, said Sioux Falls Development Foundation president Slater Barr.

"The real reason behind these types of visits is we recognize a disparity between the reality of crunching the numbers and the perspective of executives as to the viability of Sioux Falls and South Dakota as an attractive business location," Barr said of efforts to attract new business.

...Joining Daugaard on the New York trip are two leaders from the Governor's Office of Economic Development, commissioner Pat Costello and Steve Watson, business development director [Carson Walker, "Governor Promotes Sioux Falls to Promote Investment," AP via Sacramento Bee, 2014.08.05].

Wait: Mayor Mike Huether isn't on this trip? Whose job is the Governor doing?

Of all cities in the state, one would think that Sioux Falls is best positioned to promote itself, without state assistance. But in true GOP fashion, Governor Daugaard keeps working to help the rich get richer.

* * *

Among his media stops, the Governor gets ten blurpy minutes on Bloomberg TV:

The panel of interviewers seem to have trouble sticking with one line of questioning or following up on Governor Daugaard's statements. The Governor credits our population growth to out business-friendly environment of low taxes and low costs of doing business but says nothing about Indians having more babies.

One interviewer notes that economic development is not just about taxes but also about amenities and infrastructure. Governor Daugaard responds that South Dakota has concerns about federal Highway Trust Fund that "all the states depend on" but offers no statement about what South Dakota is doing to promote better roads, schools, and parks.

The interviewer asks about high-speed Internet access, Governor Daugaard brags that he has fiber-optic cable at his place in Garretson. Daugaard's respons epitomizes Republican "I've got mine!" thinking, and the interviewer fails to follow up on whether anyone is doing anything to ensure better Internet and infrastructure for all of South Dakota. The interviewer does return to the topic toward the end of the chat to ask who laid that fiber: Governor Daugaard manages to say his local co-op without saying the word socialism. Daugaard's co-op, Alliance Communications, spent $66 million over eight years to build that fiber network; some of that money came from federal Universal Service Funding. Alliance is seeking more federal dollars to expand its rural broadband service. Ah, self-reliance.

Asked about partisan polarity, Governor Daugaard says South Dakota Republicans and Democrats "get along pretty well" and "treat each other with civility." His Beltway-focused hosts chortlingly encourage Daugaard visit Washington with his lessons in civility, not asking Daugaard why his party has hired Dick Wadhams to launch personal attacks on Democrats.

Opining on how Washington obstructs entrepreneurship, Governor Daugaard says the feds burden us with uncertainty: would the stimulus affect the economy in the way it was hoped, would the sequester take hold, would the government shut down. Governor Daugaard ignores the fact that the stimulus worked except for the drag his own party put on it by (among other things) hamstringing government hiring. He also ignores the fact that the potential for economic destruction from sequester and shut down came from his party's kamikaze politics.

When asked for his five-year plan for South Dakota, Governor Daugaard offers no new ideas, just the typical Republican faith in marketing: South Dakota just needs to "get the word out" about its business climate. But remember: in Republican circles, "getting the word out" means sharing unchallenged sound bites with New York journalists, not fielding questions from local journalists who know what questions to ask in front of challengers for your job.


  1. Cranky Old Dude 2014.08.08

    The RINO establishment knows that the Repubs out in West River are their Butt Boys. Like good little Germans (Or in this case, Norveegjuns...) they'll do as they are told, so why waste any time out there in the sticks?
    I'm beginning to see the Anarchist point of view: government is too big a risk.

  2. Tim 2014.08.08

    The GOP in South Dakota knows that west river voters will blindly go pull the R lever, no questions asked. A very sad state indeed.

  3. larry kurtz 2014.08.08

    It would be glorious to watch Wismer and Myers seize the opportunity afforded them by the RCJ to bash DD for his incompetence and disinterest in making South Dakota safe for democracy.

  4. JeniW 2014.08.08

    He is going to be in NY for all of August, and September and October, so he cannot possibly spend two to three hours in Rapid City

  5. Joan Brown 2014.08.08

    I wonder if his trip to NYC will be any more productive than when he was spending time at the Mall of America. It would be nice if some of these tax payer paid trips would actually bring in some really good paying jobs.

  6. Jenny 2014.08.08

    This NYC trip is even more comical than the Mall of America.

  7. mikeyc, that's me! 2014.08.08

    As I recall from his original campaign ads, he said
    that he fell off of a turnip truck.
    Just lucky for Linda that she finally got appliances in
    her home.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.08

    Joan, this junket is a self-fulfilling performance metric. Daugaard says his five-year plan is to "get the word out". When he goes to New York and gets on TV, that's getting the word out. Now we need to count how many incoming workers say, "I moved to South Dakota because I saw your governor on TV."

  9. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.08

    Does Governor Daugaard even know that about western South Dakota?

  10. Loren 2014.08.08

    There is no need to do anything west river. Why spend money when you know that they will vote republican. You can spit in their face and they will vote for you if you have an R after your name. Why? BECAUSE, that's why! Any questions?

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