Ardon Wek 2016
Meet Melissa Mentele
Ardon Wek 2016
South Dakota District 19
House of Representatives Candidate
Aug. 2016:
Melissa Mentele, , Democrat of Emery, announced her candidacy for South Dakota District 19 House of Representatives. District 19 includes BonHomme, Douglas, Hanson, Hutchinson, and McCook Counties.

Read article in Dakota Free Press:

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Cory Allen Heidelberger of Dakota Free Press South Dakota's True Liberal  Media:                                             
Frank Kloucek
Frank Kloucek, District 19 and Bon Homme County Democrat Chair, is campaigning for Bon Homme County Commissioner.  His long history serving in the South Dakota Legislature shows the kind of commitment it takes to do the JOB!

Frank will appreciate your votes November 8, 2016.


The following is a broad overview of the first of our three main messaging planks this year—state government corruption and open and honest government. We’ll be providing more in depth issue briefs on the specific scandals but I’ve provided a few articles I found helpful that should give a good background into the situations discussed below.

We’re confident this issue – state government corruption and open and honest government—is ever present on the minds of South Dakota voters. If we’re successful proving to the public Democrats will manage Pierre more responsibly than the Republicans – we are going to win a lot of seats this fall.

The messaging below seeks to: 1st) establish the Republicans are responsible for scandals that have rocked public trust in government 2nd) pivots to why we need Democrats – not from an ideological perspective – but simply from a common-sense “checks & balances” good government approach 3rd) We go for the hard sell and tell them exactly what we’ve been trying to accomplish in Pierre that proves we’re the party of open and honest government.

There is a pattern of corruption in state government.

Gear Up and EB-5 weren’t just unfortunate accidents or isolated incidents. They represent a pattern of looking the other way at the expense of public integrity. Republicans haven’t been proactive defenders of open and honest government— that’s why South Dakota received an “F” rating by the 2015 Public Integrity Study which ranked South Dakota 3rd worst in government corruption . After 30 years of one-party Republican rule—we need a breath of fresh air in Pierre to shake out the cobwebs and break up the “country club mentality” that allowed these tragedies to happen. No more #countryclubcapitol. We need open and honest government.

We need more balance in Pierre.

We can’t continue to operate the same way and expect a different result. Republicans appointing Republicans to monitor Republicans isn’t a recipe for good government—it’s a recipe for failure. It’s the fox guarding the henhouse. We need more Democrats to provide checks and balances to hold the GOP accountable. Electing more Democrats ensures there’s a balanced perspective and watchful eye looking out for everyone’s interests.

Democrats are the party of open and honest government.

Democrats have strongly supported aggressive good government measures for years. Just this last session, our Caucus proposed:

HB 1155  would have prohibited members of state boards and commissions from entering into contracts in subject areas governed by the board. It was deferred to the 41st legislative day in House State Affairs on a party line vote. 

HB 1220  sought to rescind a scholarship waiver, restoring funds for scholarships that were diverted by questionable GEAR-UP contracts. Considered key by Iowa’s successful Gear Up program to eliminate corruption. The House defeated the measure on a mostly part line vote. 

HB 1227  would have established a government accountability commission aka “ethics commission”. The only way to ensure open and honest government is by eliminating partisanship from legislative investigative bodies. That means we need an ethics commission so the next time a scandal occurs—it’s not Republican legislators investigating Republican appointed officials. HB 1227 was deferred to the 41st legislative day in House State Affairs on a party line vote. 

Helpful background material (apologies for the overt SDDP Press Release self-promotion!):

Gear Up




Mickelson/General **These two are good though a little redundant!

HB 1214 (Republican Conflict of Interest Bill proposed by M. Mickelson)
Rapid City Journal Editorial Staff tears it to shreds.

Suggested Twitter hashtags

Last thought

When it’s natural – pivot back to these messages. If you come across a voter concerned about small government—tell them Pierre shouldn’t be handing out consulting contracts to former state officials like Mid Central did with Rick Melmer . If they’re concerned about the federal deficit – explain how millions of dollars of taxpayer money was stolen out of our pocketbooks and the Republicans in Pierre did nothing to stop it. Messaging is all about leaving an impression and that means a focused approach. Don’t ever be defensive. We’re the challengers and that affords us the opportunity to play the offense at all times. If the impression you leave a voter is that you’re going to make sure their taxpayer dollars are being used effectively and some crook isn’t going on vacation with the money they worked hard to earn - you’re going to be successful in November. Good luck out there!
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