South Dakota Republicans Approve New Platform, Resolutions

20160625_SDGOP_Convention_1The South Dakota Republican Party held their convention in Aberdeen Saturday to select committeemen and women, nominate a Public Utilities Commission candidate, adopt a platform and confirm some resolutions. There were 184 registered delegates present from 35 counties.

Sandye Kading of Rapid City was selected as National Committeewoman and Ried Holien of Watertowns was selected as National Committeewoman. Current Public Utilities Commissioner Chris Nelson was nominated for another term.

The Platform Committee consisted of Dusty Johnson, Mitchell (Chair); Qusi al Haj, Rapid City; Jim Bolin, Canton; Gary Cammack, Union Center; Jim Gilkerson, Brookings; Rachel Kippley, Aberdeen; Tom Muenster, Sioux Falls; Marilyn Oakes, Keystone; Drew Peterson, Salem; Samantha Walder, Hayti; Jim White, Huron; and Audrey Cope, Rapid City (TAR).

The Platform Committee met Friday to discuss proposed changes to the party platform and decide which ones to adopt. The committee then brought those recommendations to the general assembly Saturday.

As he prepared to bring the proposed platform with changes to the delegation, Platform Committee Chairman Dusty Johnson remarked that while some people seem to think the GOP is made up of only RINOs (Republican In Name Only) and Wingnuts (Right Wingers), and the two can never come together, no one who attended the all-day committee meeting yesterday could reasonably think that. Johnson said everyone spoke to one another with respect, and was very willing to compromise where necessary.

An amendment to 5.10 was offered from the floor, with the amendment in italics:

Woodrow Wilcox


5.10 The South Dakota Republican Party recognizes that voting is the cornerstone of our republic. It is a right, privilege, and responsibility that should not be taken for granted, and must be treated with dignity and safeguarded from fraud. Use of “emergency measures” clauses in South Dakota laws to circumvent public votes shall be condemned for all but true emergencies. The South Dakota Republican Party supports efforts to ensure a voting process that guarantees every eligible South Dakotan a valid vote.

The amendment did not receive sufficient support in a standing vote.

There was a proposed addition to 4.3, to insert after the words “curriculum and classrooms” the following sentence:

Furthermore, we  believe that participation in school sponsored sex education ought to be entirely a parental opt-in.

The measure was brought because children in public schools are being taught about these things, contrary to the wishes of many parents, at a very young age.  A supporter of the amendment stated the Harmony Program is starting sex education at kindergarten age.  Supporters said it is not spelled out or assumed under the existing parental rights section, and it should be clear that Republicans support parental rights to make this decision.

A supporter pointed out that with “opted in” as the defaulted position, it makes those who don’t want their children to be a part of it as the odd ones out; changing this to require “opt in” to receive sex education would go a long way in removing the Leftist sex agenda from our schools.

An opponent of the measure was a teacher who said she advises parents what she’s teaching and they can attend class if they desire. She said parents should trust the teachers.

A school board member from Huron stood in opposition to the measure, stating parents don’t take the time to read opt-in notices. Another school board member also said opt-in notices are often ignored.

The question was called and approved to end debate.  The vote to amend carried.

Next came the resolutions. The Resolutions Committee consisted of David Lust, Rapid City (Chair); Paige Bock, Sioux Falls; Rep. Tom Brunner, Nisland; Rep. Elizabeth May, Kyle; Sen. David Novstrup, Aberdeen; Shane Penfield, Lemmon; Tim Rave, Dell Rapids; Matt Roby, Watertown; and Rep. Tona Rozum, Mitchell.

There were 19 resolutions submitted to the Resolutions Committee, with 10 coming to the floor of the convention from the committee.  Some of the originally submitted resolutions were rejected, but several that were related were combined.

Resolution #1 dealt with sustainable agriculture and called for GOP opposition to it. This effort comes from the World Health Organization, and local agriculture people believe it is unnecessary and burdensome. The resolution was passed on a voice vote

Resolution #2 called for better education about our republic and its foundations.  The resolution was passed on voice vote.

Resolution #4 addressed immigration and state’s rights to control immigration within each state’s borders. A supporter pointed out that the federal government is derelict in the Article 4 Section 4 requirement to protect the states from invasion, and because the federal government is not doing its job, it falls to the states to more aggressively assert their own protection. It passed on a voice vote.

Resolution #5 dealt with nonpartisan elections, redistricting, and requiring taxpayers to fund candidates.  This resolution came from several submitted resolutions that dealt with different election issues, and were combined into one. The ballot measures the resolutions oppose were primarily initiated by Democrats.  A supporter said California just had their primary and they have two Democrats going into their general election, because they have similar nonpartisan elections.  The resolution passed without opposition on a voice vote.

Resolution #6 dealt with socialized medicine programs and opposition to them, including the ObamaCare-related expansion of Medicaid that Governor Dennis Daugaard  has been pushing.   There was a proposed amendment to delete the last two paragraphs  and substitute the following:

Therefore, be it  resolved that the South Dakota Republican Party rejects efforts by the federal government to mandate or incentivize further government intervention in health care; and

Be it further  resolved that the South Dakota Republican Party is opposed to the expansion of  the Patient  Protection and Affordable Care  Act, generally referred to as ObamaCare; and

Be it further resolved that the South Dakota  Republican Party urges the South Dakota  state legislature, both house and senate, to reject and defeat efforts to expand Medicaid or adopt the Medicaid standards outlined  in ObamaCare.

The amendment passed with overwhelming support.  The resolution passed with overwhelming support.

20160625_SDGOP_Convention_2Delegates I talked to after the session all agreed that the resolution sent a very loud and powerful message to Governor Daugaard.

Resolution #9 supports the sailors of USS South Dakota SSN 790.  The resolution passed easily.

Resolution #10 was a combination of four submitted resolutions in support of Donald Trump as the GOP presidential nominee.  The resolution quickly carried.

Resolution #16 was a compilation of three proposals dealing with the transgender agenda. It calls for the State Board of Education and all school districts to remain autonomous and make their own determinations based on common sense and parental involvement to protect the privacy and welfare of all students in South Dakota.  The resolution also specifically stated that a copy of the resolution would be sent to the governor (who vetoed a measure passed by the legislature earlier this year intended to protect the privacy and security of school children), the Attorney General, all school superintendents, and the State Board of Education. The resolution was approved without opposition

Resolution #18 affirmed religious liberty and the right of people to not participate in activities that violate their faith.  A RINO spoke against the resolution, stating that if we protect the religious liberty of Christians to not participate in counterfeit weddings, we must also allow Muslims to hit their wives.  Another opponent indicated we would be going on record, if we supported the measure, supporting wife-beating.  A supporter pointed out that the laws of the United States are based on Judeo-Christian teachings which do not allow for the assaults mentioned by the opponents.   The countries cited by opponents of the measure are based on Islam, not Christianity. Another supporter stated that the Shariah law of Islam is not compatible with our U.S.  Constitution and its tenets.  The resolution passed with a small contingent of opposition.

Resolution #19 concerned executive orders, opposing those that exceed the executive authority provided by the U.S.  Constitution.  The resolution was passed without opposition.

When the next election comes in two years, the South Dakota GOP Convention will be held in Pierre, and two years after that, the convention will be in Watertown.

Link to the platform as submitted to the delegates
Link to the resolutions as submitted to the delegates



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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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