“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

It seems pretty clear who the founders meant by “We the People.” It’s unfortunate that many politicians and candidates try to narrow down We to their tribe, their fellow ideologues, and the people they think can advance their decisive agenda. For Change Agents, the concept of We represents the broadest, most inclusive group of citizens who look for candidates and politicians that listen to a wide range of people, seek consensus for solving complex issues, and seek to engage with others, not demonize those with whom they disagree. That’s the We that we’re a part of, and we’d like you to join!

Mission Statement
We are concerned citizens focused on participatory democracy, responsive leadership, and active advocacy to create an environment for civil decision-making in South Dakota.

All South Dakotans are informed and involved in the democratic process with state and local leaders responsive to we the people.

Can we count on you?

Summary of meeting May 29, 2024

At the May 29 meeting of Change Agents, Bill Linsenmeyer talked about his candidacy for House District 11. He noted the carbon pipeline was a primary reason for his quest for office, not because he opposes Eminent Domain, but that he opposes the use of it on behalf of a private company. A former employee of the U.S. State Department, he mentioned more than once that he is more attuned to Libertarian views, but there is no such primary. View his page at https://southdakota11.com/

Early voting is going on now. Election day is Tuesday June 4th.

Change Agents spent the rest of our time discussing how we are going to  approach the numerous ballot issues. Decision was made to seek authorized people from both sides to present. But not at the same meeting. 

After we have heard from both sides we will discuss and decide our position on the issue(s). The decision-making process has not yet been determined. That will be a future discussion. Notes taken by Rick Knobe

Summary of Change Agents meeting May 15th, 2024

Spent the hour with candidates Taylor Rehfeldt and Cole Heisey.

Rehfeldt (R) is an incumbent in a crowded primary for District 14 House.  She thinks the current SD law on abortion is too vague, more education is required, yet the current House membership refuses any serious discussion on the issue.  She supports Medicaid work requirements.  She had no position on the Open Primaries issue.  Her website: https://www.taylorrehfeldt.com/  For her voting record: https://sdlegislature.gov/Legislators/Profile/3799/Bills

Heisey (R) is running for Minnehaha County Commissioner in another crowded primary.  He has run twice for the SD House, coming up short both times.  He supports stewardship of the environment.  He supports cutting property taxes yet offered no alternative solutions for government funding.  He indicated strongly that he is an election denier and has the endorsement of South Dakota First.  His campaign page is inaccessible (as of May 20th), but there is a recent article about him in The Dakota Scout: https://www.thedakotascout.com/p/cole-heisey-for-minnehaha-county

Our Pre-Primary Election Post May 24, 2024

The plan was to interview all the Republican candidates for the South Dakota House seats in Districts 11 and 14, and also the candidates for the Minnehaha County Commission. Our goal was to listen and ask questions to learn of the priorities and beliefs of those seeking to represent us. We would then decide which of those candidates we believed should get Republican support in the primary to face Democrats in the Fall election. We would then communicate with you our collective thinking.

The plan didn’t work.

Minnehaha County Commission candidate Roger Russell did not respond to several text and voicemail messages.

District 14 candidate Tony Kayser cancelled. When asked, he chose not to attempt to reschedule.

District 11 candidates Keri Weems and John Kunnari reported scheduling conflicts.

But we did talk to these folks:

In District 14, Taylor Rehfeldt and Tyler Tordsen. Both incumbents. Both communicated well.

In District 11, Brian Mulder is the incumbent. He does not think we need changes in the state’s abortion ban and he indicated non-support for opening the primaries to all voters.

In the County Commission race, incumbent Dean Karsky indicated support for working to create a Home Rule Charter, which could streamline county government. Voter approval is required. He indicated a decision on the Fairgrounds is a long way away. More stakeholder involvement needed.

Commission candidate Cole Heisey pointed out his conservative beliefs. Talked holding down property taxes and indicated no support for a Home Rule Charter. He stated doubts about the 2020 election results. Refers to himself as a “New Republican” and expressed strong support for Donald Trump.

County Commission Candidate Dan Kippley expressed the need for the County to plan ahead. Way ahead. Fifty years out. He mentioned the fairgrounds as an example. He also expressed support for creating a Home Rule Charter for voters to consider.

***These observations are not meant to be all encompassing. They are snippets of longer conversations.

We urge you to educate yourself.  It’s important to know how the incumbents voted on issues which affect us.

For the challengers, it’s important to know their philosophy and priorities on the issues facing all of us.

The election is June 4th.   Early voting is going on now.

Thanks for reading this, we hope it is helpful.

On behalf of Change Agents of SD, I’m Rick Knobe