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Rounds: South Dakota Needs D.C. Common Sense in Washington

Mike Rounds promised to bring "South Dakota Common Sense™" to Washington, D.C. Mike Rounds is hiring out-state D.C. insiders for his staff.

Imminent Rounds legislative director Gregg Rickman is from Ohio. He's worked in Washington as a Congressional staffer and lobbyist since 1991. Soon-to-be communications director Natalie Krings is from Nebraska. She has worked for Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns since 2008.

I can see the logic and wisdom of a new Senator hiring some folks with Washington experience to help a run the show. I suspect Rickman and Krings are decent, capable workers. I have no ideological principle on which to disqualify Rickman or Krings from working for South Dakota's junior Senator.

But Mike Rounds should have an issue with hiring these D.C. creatures. Republicans who bought Rounds's slogans should have an issue. People who think words mean something should have an issue.

Mike Rounds said Washington needs "South Dakota Common Sense." He's hiring staff who've accumulated years of Washington, D.C., common sense.

Mike Rounds said that Washington is broken. He is hiring parts of the broken machine.

I suppose I should get over being surprised when Mike Rounds says words he does not mean. But such is the misrepresentation with which we are stuck for six years: Mike Rounds saying things that sound nice for the home folks, then acting in ways that expose the meaningless of his words.


  1. WayneF 2014.12.12

    I believe MM Rounds has been a tool of ALEC and other right-wing contributers for years. It should come as no surprise that his "South
    Dakota Common Sense" comes from elsewhere.

    MMR's got a great smile, but he is not particularly bright. He needs to be told what to say and what to do.

    I don't think we can expect much from him.

  2. larry kurtz 2014.12.12

    Darn it, Cory: try as you might you'll never be as mean or calumnious as PP is.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.12

    Wayne, Mike Rounds is exactly the kind of elected official our corporate overlords want. The political system, with all the character assassination and fundraising soul-selling, deters great leaders from participating in elections. In the political field we are left with more people like Mike Rounds, visionless self-seekers who won't originate new thoughts, who won't mean a thing they say, who will simply do what the guys with money tell them to do.

    Is that better, Larry? :-)

  4. JeniW 2014.12.12

    I have said since his first term as governor that he is a hypocrite.

  5. Joan Brown 2014.12.12

    I have to agree with Jenni.

  6. mike from iowa 2014.12.12

    More like koch bros common cents since Chuck and Dave benefit so much.

  7. Rorschach 2014.12.12

    Never thought I'd be on here defending Mike Rounds, but If I were hiring someone to run a DC congressional office I would start by looking for someone who had some experience in DC working in a congressional office to get things running smoothly from the start. Then bring in the South Dakota people as understudies and train them to take over when they are ready and not before they are ready.

  8. larry kurtz 2014.12.12

    Steve Jarding said no.

  9. Rorschach 2014.12.12

    larry kurtz wasn't available.

  10. rollin potter 2014.12.12

    Wayne,You might include REP.NOEM's name in with MMR's name when you say they have a great smile,not particularly bright, and need to be told what to say!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Sam 2 2014.12.12

    Mike Rounds has never been the brightest light bulb on the tree. He is a good ole boy taking care of of rich buddies always has been always will be.

  12. grudznick 2014.12.12

    This seems like a smarter idea than putting some of his campaign interns in charge of his legislative policy. I'm sure the interns think they could do it but this fellow from some experience is no doubt a sharper stick. Just sayin...

  13. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.12

    "bring "South Dakota Common Sense™" to Washington, D.C."

    MM can't bring what he doesn’t have.

  14. Owen 2014.12.12

    first of all Rounds lied throughout the campaign so we shouldn't be surprised when he lied about bringing "South Dakota common sense" to Washington.
    Sorry Rorschach but even though what you said made sense Rounds lied again.

  15. Greg 2014.12.12

    Some of Tom Daschle's Washington staff were not from SD.

  16. Owen 2014.12.12

    I don't think Daschle was screaming South Dakota values at every turn

  17. Roger Cornelius 2014.12.12

    We should never be surprised or shocked at anything Marion does or says, we know the GOP routine and who owns him.

    There are capable people in this state that have the legislative experience to work for a senator or congressman, you just need to look for them and not rely on the GOP power structure in D.C. to find them.

    Marion simply needs to do like Romney and pull out his "binder".

  18. JeniW 2014.12.12

    How many people from SD did Noem and Thune hire to work in their D.C. office?

  19. JeniW 2014.12.12

    Of the people from SD who are working in Noem's and Thune's D.C. office how many have a significant disability, and/or are veterans, and/or not Causanian?

  20. mike from iowa 2014.12.13

    I guess none of the previous pols who went to DC had any South Dakota "common sense." Should have been used up by now considering how many "down home" pols have left South Dakota for DC.

  21. leslie 2014.12.13

    on the other hand, huffpost says yesterday we need another Howard Dean to develop a national strategy that can bet the GOP. Rounds is certainly a cog toward their national goals

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.13

    Interesting questions about the demographics of existing staff, JeniW! I'd need to do some serious Google/LinkedIn searching to answer in-depth. I glance at this OpenCongress directory of Noem staff and find what about 37 people (eliminating possible duplicates from marriage name changes) who worked in her office from 2011 to 2014Q1. By mere name, about 20 appear to be female.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.13

    Wherever they are from, Senator Thune's staff got $2.59 million in salaries in FY2014, according to LegiStorm. Senator Johnson's staff made $2.78 million. Noem's staff salaries in FY2014 totaled $671 thousand.

    (Note: LegiStorm appears to allow you to access just two staff salary pages before requiring you to sign up for a free account.)

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.13

    Greg, I suspect everyone in Congress hires staff from in state and out of state. My points are that (a) that's fine, unless (b) you make a big deal about how South Dakota values are somehow superior to everyone else's values.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.13

    My point coincides with Rohr's advice: D.C. folks have useful knowledge. In a way, we can be glad Rounds doesn't mean what he says.

  26. mike from iowa 2014.12.13

    If DC folks have useful knowledge,then sending Rounds there must be to dumb them down. South Dakota common sense.

  27. Joan Brown 2014.12.13

    I agree with Deb, MMR doesn't have any common sense from any place, and lied all through the campaign.

  28. mike from iowa 2014.12.14

    DC needs brain bleach and a nukular "Swiffer" dropped on it.

  29. Douglas Wiken 2014.12.14

    Rounds is a toxic Republican. Another retrograde plutocrat who will smile as he sticks a knife in the back of most South Dakotans by supporting corporate control of government and life. The GOP congress critters are pushing the equivalence of a soviet factory farm for society and the economy controlled by a few bankers, brokers, and CEOs.

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