Johnson event sparks protest

Adam Zobel

Adam Zobel

Senator Tim Johnson traveled to Brookings Saturday to host a community barbecue as part of his re-election bid.

Over 200 area residents attended the Johnson campaign event at Mickelson Middle School.

Johnson touted his work on the Senate Appropriations Committee, saying he has been able to secure funding for 70 South Dakota projects, including research funds and the Solberg Hall renovation at SDSU.

“SDSU’s a great flagship institution for South Dakota,” he said.

Johnson focused attention on education, expressing his desire for the federal government to fully finance its share of special education funding.

Johnson said that he supported tax cuts for working and middle-class families and closing tax loopholes for corporations who move “off-shore.”

In response to concerns about prescription drugs, Johnson said the Senate plan would make them a Medicare benefit, while the House plan is backed by pharmaceutical companies.

Though the event flowed smoothly inside, the recent voting scandal provided an excuse for protesting prior to the event.

Paul Gourley, state chair of the South Dakota College Republicans, led a handful of College Republicans in protesting the event and questioning the role of Johnson and his party in a voter fraud scandal. The protestors left as soon as Johnson arrived.

Gourley said, “We’re here to support democracy and get some answers. We just want a clean and fair election.”

When asked about the alleged voter fraud, Johnson said, “There ought to be zero tolerance for voter irregularities. We have a clean system in South Dakota and we ought not to politicize voter registration and turnout.”