Democrat candidate familiarizes with Brookings community

Sara Bertsch News Editor

Small businessman Rick Weiland stopped in Brookings for a second time campaigning for the senate position on Tuesday, Jan. 28. He adamantly tells the crowd at Brookings that all the money is in the big businesses and we need to take it back.

For his “Take It Back” rally, Weiland is driving across the state of South Dakota to several towns to get his name heard. His stop this time was at the Cottonwood Bistro in Brookings. His first trip was a few months back when he was on SDSU’s campus campaigning. 

“I’m really excited to be here … we’ve been traveling since July 16,” Weiland said. 

Weiland and his team have been to 271 towns across the state so far and plan on attending 361. For the rest of this week their next stop is Pierre and Fort Pierre and eventually going west to Cheyenne River, Timber Lake and towns north of Bell Fourche. 

Weiland has also been to several college towns including Vermillion, Madison and Aberdeen. He believes that college students have a huge stake in the election. He wants to spend more time on college campuses in hope to get more student votes.

He believes that the government needs a ‘moonshot’ when it comes to education. He wants to invest in some of the basic infrastructure of education. Weiland said, “I am really passionate about education … we need to continue to invest in it, it’s our future.”

In order to gain student votes, Weiland said that he wants to make education more affordable. Also he claims students should be able to get a good job after completing their education. “That is the way it is supposed to be … cost is frightening and there’s a mountain of debt that comes with higher education, where’s the incentive in that?” Weiland said. 

The discussion of education led him to talk about minimum wage and what students are doing in order to afford going to school. Currently the minimum wage is set at $7.25 and Weiland hopes to raise it to $8.50. He said that approximately 62,000 people in South Dakota will get a raise and 80 percent of those people are adults. 

In another part of Weiland’s campaign, he said that ‘big money’ is taking over. “It should be of the people, for the people, and by the people, not by ‘big money,’” Weiland said. 

‘Big money,’ according to Weiland, includes large corporations, banks, and oil companies. Ever since the Clintons were in the White House, ‘big money’ has controlled public policy. “It’s our government and country, we need to take back our democracy from ‘big money,’” Weiland said.

In addition to his rant over ‘big money,’ Weiland talked about the energy policy. He said that $9 billion has gone to the oil industry and the lobbyists that are hired from the oil industries are roaming the capitol in Washington, D.C. spending the money and ‘it is jeopardizing our future.’

According to Weiland, another candidate running for senate, Mike Rounds, has boasted that he was raising $9 million for his own campaign and 80 percent of his time has been towards raising money. “We can match his $9 million and get a better public policy,” Weiland said.

Around 30 people were in attendance to the public meeting at the Cottonwood Bistro. Several were enthusiastic about Weiland. He told the people at the meeting that he doesn’t allow contributions over $100. He asked for support of $9 in his “nine against nine million” campaign countering Rounds. 

This is Weiland’s 81st public meeting. Already, nine tribes endorse his campaign. 

Weiland decided to run because he believes that he has the right balance between private and public sector. He also has worked with Tom Daschle on his campaign when he was younger.

When asked about his democratic stance, Weiland responded that he always votes for the people he thinks are fair, objective, and forthright. He said, “Let the people of South Dakota decide.”

In the upcoming election, Weiland knows he is the underdog but continues to be positive. He hands out his card everywhere he goes and does door-to-door knocking just introducing himself to people. 

Weiland said, “It’s all about talking to people, we don’t have to have $9 million to win this campaign … I need all of you.”