Entries in South Dakota (5)


Former Sen. George McGovern, 1972 Democratic Nominee, Dies at 90

The McGovern family(NEW YORK) -- ABC News has confirmed that former Democratic Sen. George McGovern, of South Dakota, has died. He was 90 years old.

McGovern, who lost the 1972 presidential bid to Richard Nixon, worked as a U.S. Senator from 1963 to 1981. He also served as the director of the Food for Peace Program, the chairman for the Select Committee on Unmet Basic Needs and the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Agencies and the United Nations Global Ambassador on World Hunger.

The former senator passed away at approximately 5:15 a.m. on Sunday at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His family said in a statement:

“We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace. He continued giving speeches, writing and advising all the way up to and past his 90th birthday, which he celebrated this summer.”

The family is requesting that donations be made to support Feeding South Dakota in lieu of flowers here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Delivers Patriotic Speech in South Dakota

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(SIOUX FALLS, S.D.) -- For the first time this campaign cycle, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney evoked one of his favorite stories, about Olympic speed skater Derek Parra’s patriotism, during a keynote speech Wednesday night at the annual meeting of the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce.

Romney, drawing on many of his usual campaign talking points, used his relationship with Parra to illustrate how he believes that having “faith in America” will help us “overcome extraordinary things.”

“There is a love of America and a passion for this country that burns in the hearts of our citizens,” said Romney to a crowd of nearly 2,000.  “The great challenges we have we will overcome if we can draw on that passion and conviction of the greatness and goodness of America."

“And we have leaders who will tell the truth and live with integrity, and who by virtue of their life experiences know how to lead and where to lead America,” he said.  “And I very much want to be one of those leaders, with your help.”

Parra, who won both silver and gold medals in the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, for which Romney served as the CEO of the organizing committee, was a staple of Romney’s repertoire during his last bid for the White House.  Parra has been a longtime supporter of Romney’s and has already contributed money to the former Massachusetts’ governor’s presidential campaign this cycle.

Wednesday night, Romney recounted the story of when he chose Parra to be one of eight athletes to carry into the opening ceremony the American flag that had been at Ground Zero during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Parra later told Romney that it was the most meaningful moment of his Olympic games.

Romney quickly segued from his love of America into a harsh criticism of Washington, telling the audience, “I know that sometimes it feels like Washington doesn’t like you very much … like all the time, right?

“I love you, I love what you’re doing,” said Romney.  “This economy has had a hard time rebooting because Washington doesn’t understand that Washington isn’t the answer it’s the problem.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


South Dakota: Postponing Discussion on a 'Justifiable Homicide' Bill

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PIERRE, S.D.) -- Debate on a controversial bill before the South Dakota state legislature has been postponed until next week after receiving a swarm of media attention Tuesday.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Phil Jensen, is considering altering the bill's language.

At issue in HB-1171 is an expansion of the state's definition of "justifiable homicide" to possibly include killing in the defense of an unborn child. Taken aback by the massive amounts of media attention the story garnered Tuesday, Jensen is mulling a change in the bill's wording.

As it currently reads, the bill would stipulate: "Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to murder such person, or to harm the unborn child of such person in a manner and to a degree likely to result in the death of the unborn child ..."

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley told Jensen he might want to consider adding the words "that is unlawful and" after the words "to a degree."

Jensen also told ABC News he has learned that "South Dakota code already defines 'unborn child' as a person," which could potentially render the entire bill moot. "I didn't realize that," he said.

Jensen said he is taking the week to decide whether he wants to add the new language to the bill, drop the bill entirely or leave it the way it is.

"I had no idea this would cause such a furor," he said Wednesday, admitting that he was a bit weary from fielding media inquiries since dawn. "The bill has nothing to do with abortion in reality."

A provocative story on the Mother Jones website with a headline that shouted: "South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers" caused a major stir online Tuesday. The story drew the conclusion that "If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman's father, mother, son, daughter or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion -- even if she wanted one."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senator John Thune’s 'Big Opportunity': Will He Run?

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John Thune of South Dakota told ABC News he sees “a big opportunity on the national field” and will soon make a decision on running for president.

“I think these are interesting times and you always want to look at where you can best serve your country best,” Thune said.  “Obviously, there’s a big opportunity on the national field.”

Although he said he hasn’t made a “final decision” about running for president, Thune said a decision is coming soon.

“It won’t be long,” Thune told ABC News.  “We realize that if you’re going to do this, you have to get moving.  The clock is ticking.”
He’s already getting a boost of sorts from the number one Republican in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“He’s a very sharp, capable individual.  He’s a good speaker [and has] good leadership qualities which I see on display every week in the Senate.  I'm a big John Thune fan,” McConnell said at the inaugural Playbook Breakfast Wednesday morning.

ABC News also learned McConnell may be helping Thune out behind the scenes as well.  If Thune runs, he may be the only senator -- possibly the only member of congress -- in the race.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


In South Dakota: Another Sarah Palin?

Photo Courtesy - Kristi for Congress(NEW YORK) -- If money is any indication, the hottest Republican House candidate in the country is Kristi Noem. The 38-year-old rancher has raised more campaign cash than any Republican House challenger in the country.

Noem has raised $1.1 million over the past three months, about twice as much as her opponent, Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, D-S.D., and that money will go a long way:  South Dakota's media market is one of the least expensive in the country.

Noem may need the cash. Herseth-Sandlin is a moderate Democrat with a proven ability to win -- and win big -- in South Dakota. She decimated her Republican opponent in 2008 with nearly 70 percent of the vote, even as the state voted overwhelmingly against Barack Obama.

Herseth-Sandlin is an avid hunter and one of the top conservative Democrats in the House.  She's also from a highly regarded South Dakota political family: her grandfather was a governor, her grandmother a South Dakota Secretary of State and her father a leader in the state legislature.

But Herseth-Sandlin has never faced a challenger like Kristi Noem.  She's a rancher, a mother of three, and a staunch conservative who is running on a platform of slashing federal spending and repealing the new federal health care law.  She's also an avid hunter known to hunt elk with a bow and arrow.  Her political views and physical appearance have led some to label her "South Dakota's Sarah Palin."

At her ranch in Castlewood, S.D., Noem told ABC News she wanted no part of that label and balked at the idea of the former Alaskan governor and Republican vice presidential nominee hitting the campaign trail for her.

"We're going forward making sure we're focused on the people here at home," Noem told ABC News. "I want them to know who I am and what I believe we should be doing and should be accomplishing rather than focusing on somebody else from out of state."

Shown on horseback in her ads, Noem's down-home image is accompanied by an anti-government spending message.

"I'm a firm believer that South Dakotans know better what to do with their money than the government does," she said.

The Republicans hold a sizable and unusual lead, evident in South Dakota in the disparate fundraising numbers between the two campaigns.  According to figures released by each campaign Monday, Noem has raised more than $1.1 million in the 3rd quarter, nearly twice the amount Herseth-Sandlin collected.  Noem has $777,000 cash on hand, compared to Herseth-Sandlin's $500,000.  As of right now, no other Republican house challenger raised more this quarter.

Herseth-Sandlin has been quite critical of parts of the Democratic agenda and the President, especially on the health care bill, which she voted against (although she stops short of calling for its repeal).  When asked by ABC News what grade she would give President Obama, she gave him a "C."

"I think on some issues, especially navigating some tough economic waters he inherited, he is doing better than people are giving him credit for," she explained.  "But on some of the other issues, I don't think he did a good job.  I think the leadership could be stronger."

Herseth-Sandlin is in fact making a campaign platform out of being willing to stand-up to the leadership in Washington, calling herself an independent, moderate voice for South Dakota.

"I've worked very hard the last six years to do what's right for South Dakota. I opposed the bailouts of Wall Street and the auto industry," Herseth-Sandlin told ABC News.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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