Herseth urges students to vote in June’s primary elections

Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson

In one of her several on-campus appearances Monday, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth, D-South Dakota, spoke with a crowd of more than 30 people in Rotunda E.

After treating the group to sodas and eight large Papa John’s pizzas, Herseth stressed the importance of the upcoming primary elections.

Without the help of college students, she said, she wouldn’t have won the special election two years ago.

“I can’t encourage you enough to get involved in the June primary elections,” she said. “I wouldn’t have won the primary election in 2002 in a four-way contested race had it not been for some of the energy and enthusiasm (of college students).”

Herseth said she is being challenged in her 2006 re-election bid. The SDSU College Democrats sponsored her appearance.

She talked about the importance of having an equally-representative government.

“When one party has complete control of the executive branch of both chambers of the legislative branch, we get what we have today in both Pierre and Washington – and in my opinion that’s a lack of responsibility, a tendency to have closed government and secret meetings as opposed to open and accountable (government) for the people and citizens of South Dakota and the country.”

Now, she said, government in both Pierre and Washington, D.C., are dominated by Republicans. The elections could change that.

“We have a great opportunity to restore balance and power in Pierre, just as I think we have an opportunity to restore balance and power in Washington … if you get behind two of our terrific candidates for governor.”

The Republican-controlled government offers just one perspective, she said.

“You get too many instances in which somebody’s ideas are never fully evaluated simply because that person happens to be a Democrat.”

Despite the odds against the Democrats, Herseth is hopeful that the they could regain power.

“Now we have a big battle ahead of us in terms of taking over control of one or both houses of Pierre in the state Legislature because right now we’re outnumbered,” Herseth said.

She then changed her topic to the high price of gasoline.

“How many of you have started feeling a pinch at the gas pump,” she asked.

Next week, Herseth and others will introduce a “comprehensive plan for renewable bio-fuels for the entire Democratic caucus.” They have been working with various stakeholders, including producers, fuel retailers and the auto industry.

This will hopefully give rural America more of a voice in Washington, she said.

Herseth also covered current hot-button topics such as:? abortion.? the immigration issue.? her definition of the U.S. “mission” in Iraq.

#1.884455:162818966.jpg:herseth2.jpg:U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth, D-South Dakota, speaks to a group of students in Rotunda E on Monday.:Ty Carlson