Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, joined by Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, left, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks at the Capitol on Sept. 29, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Rounds, Thune show courage with Scott endorsement

BY: - May 28, 2023

At this point in the presidential election cycle, all we have is speculation. With eight months before the first caucus in Iowa and nine months until the first primary in New Hampshire, all any of us can do is read tea leaves if we’re trying to predict the political future. Fortunately, tea leaves abound. Plenty […]

A view of the Black Hills from Black Elk Peak. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Eight supervisors, seven years: The ‘challenging’ Black Hills National Forest

BY: - May 25, 2023

The Black Hills National Forest has its eighth supervisor in the past seven years, and if recent history is any indication, he probably doesn’t fully recognize what he’s up against. Carl Petrick, most recently the supervisor of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, won’t stay long in his new Black Hills post. He’s an acting supervisor, […]

Florida Governor-elect Ron DeSantis sits next to President Donald Trump and South Dakota Governor-elect Kristi Noem during a meeting in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Dec. 13, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Noem, DeSantis and pugnacity as a political strategy

BY: - May 24, 2023

It’s apparent there are some journalists in Sioux Falls who are being punished. These are the reporters and anchors assigned to the morning shows that start at 5 a.m. and drag on for hours until the network talkathons start. With so many hours of airtime to fill, these local early morning shows play the same […]

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Guns have changed everything, especially childhood

BY: - May 16, 2023

I learned to shoot on the family ranch, as ranch kids are wont to do. My gun education was furthered at a Catholic summer camp, and I still have my paper target proving my marksmanship. Hunter safety classes, and calm, clear-eyed common sense. This was the rural approach to guns I grew up with. Then […]

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Ballot petition efforts alive and well, despite the Legislature

BY: - May 15, 2023

Despite the attempts by some legislators to quash the will of the people, ballot petition drives in South Dakota seem to be thriving. Well before the next election in 2024, the secretary of state’s website already lists four measures that are circulating for petition signatures. These include constitutional amendments for open primaries, abortion rights and […]

U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota, attends a February 2023 congressional committee hearing in Washington, D.C. (Rep. Dusty Johnson/Twitter)

Johnson shouldn’t let conservative credentials get in the way of statesmanship

BY: - May 11, 2023

In South Dakota, there’s a reasonably easy process for changing your name. You fill out a form, pay a fee, publish a public notice and get the OK from a judge. Do that, and you can call yourself anything you want. Or, if you’re a congressman running in a primary, just buy a bunch of […]

Allosaurus jimmadseni. (Courtesy of the National Park Service)

New thoughts about the impact of old bones in the rural West

BY: - May 8, 2023

The prehistoric past can perk up the present. When woolly mammoth bones were found in my hometown in Wisconsin years ago, they became the centerpiece of one of our local museums. Today, they continue to attract visitors and serve as one of the city’s informal symbols. Unfortunately, the story across much of the fossil-rich West […]

A section of Rapid Creek just west of Silver City in the Black Hills. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Tardiness in recognizing water needs could lead to ‘unacceptable consequences’

BY: - May 4, 2023

As recently as nine years ago, I thought Rapid City had enough water for decades to come. I got that idea from covering an event in 2014 where then-Mayor Sam Kooiker spoke. “Unlike many other cities in the West, Rapid City does not have a water supply problem,” he said, adding that the city of […]

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks to guests at the 2023 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on April 13, 2023, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The forum is part of the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meetings & Exhibits. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Maybe we love the Second Amendment a little too much

BY: - May 1, 2023

When she spoke at the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum, Gov. Kristi Noem said that South Dakota is setting the standard as the most Second Amendment friendly state in nation. If it’s true — and why would anyone lie to the NRA? — it’s worth noting how we got that designation.  In the five legislative sessions […]

The Palmer Gulch Fire burns in October 2022 in the Black Hills. (Courtesy of Black Hills National Forest)

On wildfire funding, the Forest Service is like the dog that caught the car

BY: - April 29, 2023

Watching congressional hearings is a really interesting way to find things out that you may otherwise never hear about. Over the past couple of months, there have been Senate hearings for the farm bill with the U.S. Forest Service’s Associate Chief Angela Coleman, and Senate Appropriations hearings with Chief Randy Moore. Particularly interesting was the […]

Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at the 2023 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on April 13, 2023, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Whitney Downard/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Noem is just like her father in good and bad ways

BY: - April 24, 2023

Gov. Kristi Noem shares a lot of stories about her late father, Ron Arnold, that are intended to portray him as the South Dakota embodiment of John Wayne. Noem doesn’t seem to realize that with every story she tells, she’s also creating her own public psychological profile. Recently, she spoke to a National Rifle Association […]

A Sioux Falls election polling place on the morning of Nov. 8, 2022. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Without open primaries, taxpayers are shut out of elections they pay for

BY: - April 23, 2023

If there is a growth industry in South Dakota politics, it’s the primary election. Specifically, the Republican primary election. Incumbent Republicans are facing frequent, often grueling, intra-party challenges. In the 2022 election, Gov. Kristi Noem, Sen. John Thune and Rep. Dusty Johnson all faced challengers from within their own party. In the Legislature, there were […]