Knecht Statement on Hobby Lobby Decision

“This decision means your boss has the power to make healthcare decisions for you based on his own personal beliefs. That’s wrong"  

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Hobby Lobby

2014 SDDP State Convention

Democrats from across South Dakota converged on Yankton for the 2014 State Convention! 

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Convention Selfie

Susan Wismer Picks Susy Blake as Running Mate

Blake brings passion, principles, and experience to the Democratic ticket.  

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Wismer Blake

6 same sex couples sue South Dakota for right to marry

It's official. Nancy, Jennie and two other couples filed a lawsuit challenging South Dakota's gay marriage ban. 

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Nancy & Jennie

Latest News & Blog

5 reasons to vote YES on 18 after 5 years since minimum wage increase

Sioux Falls (July 24, 2014) — It’s been 5 years since the last increase in the federal minimum wage - but now South Dakotans have a choice on Initiated Measure 18 to raise the minimum wage on November 4th.

In recognition of this anniversary, here are 5 reasons to vote Yes on 18:

1) States that raised the minimum wage saw faster job growth. According to state by state hiring data released by the Department of Labor, states that raised the minimum wage at the beginning of this year actually saw faster job growth than states that didn’t raise the minimum wage – contrary to the scare tactics of special interest critics.

Everyday South Dakotans get it: Put money in the pockets of hard working people, and they’ll send it on the things their families need everyday. That boosts consumer demand at small businesses and grows the economy.

2) Small business owners support raising the minimum wage. According to a recent scientific telephone survey, 61% of small business owners support raising the minimum wage. Why? The report says,

“Small business owners believe that a higher minimum wage would benefit business in important ways: 58% say raising the minimum wage would increase consumer purchasing power. 56% say raising the minimum wage would help the economy. In addition, 53% agree that with a higher minimum wage, businesses would benefit from lower employee turnover and increased productivity and customer satisfaction.”

Small businesses get it too: Workers are customers. When workers earn more, they spend more at small businesses and boost the economy.

3) Prices for everyday goods continue to rise, but the minimum wage has stayed the same. That means a South Dakotan’s hard earned dollar actually buys less and less for her family. Since the last increase in the minimum wage:

  • The price of milk has increased 21.2%
  • The price of eggs has increased 30.3%
  • The price of cheddar cheese has increased 21.9%
  • The price of gas has increased 44.6%
  • The price of electricity has increased 9.2%
  • The minimum wage has increased 0%. 

Too often, South Dakotans are working harder and harder just to make ends meet. Raising the minimum wage will help working moms and dads support their families in the face of higher and higher prices at the pump and in the supermarket.

Working full time for 14500

4) 62,000 South Dakotans will earn more if Initiated Measure 18 passes. According to preliminary data from Economic Policy Institute, raising the minimum wage will give 62,000 South Dakotans a raise. Who are they?

  • 78% are older than 20. These aren’t high school students like special interests will tell you.
  • 55% are women – many of whom are supporting families.

5) Raising the minimum wage lifts people out of poverty – and off of government assistance. A full time worker earning the minimum wage makes $14,500 a year, which qualifies many working families for government assistance. Raising the minimum wage will lift many working families out of poverty and reduce the demand for government assistance. It’s a win win for working families and the taxpayers: working families make ends meet, and the public cost of low wages decreases for taxpayers.

Want to help our effort to raise the minimum wage this November? Please make a contribution of $100, $50, $10 or whatever you can afford right away or sign up to volunteer for our effort to raise the wage.


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Become a YELL Fellow Today!

Have you heard of the YELL Fellows program? The YELL Fellows program offers campaign training to high school and college aged students. Fellows are then matched up with candidates in their area and given the opportunity to work as a paid campaign staffer.Dozens of young people have already applied for the YELL Fellows program and we’re still accepting applicants! Are you interested in being a YELL Fellow, or do you know of any young folks that are looking to get involved in progressive politics? Simply fill out the form below so that we can get in contact with you.


YELL Fellows Application

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IN REVIEW: #WeAreSD 2014 State Democratic Convention

Message from Chair Deb Knecht:

Fellow Democrats,

I was energized coming out of our State Democratic Convention last weekend in Yankton, SD. I was so proud of our staff and volunteers who worked together to welcome delegates, organize fun presentations at meals between platform meetings, and host an inspiring convention banquet with DNC Vice Chair RT Rybak and our beloved US Senator Tim  Johnson – and boy, were we surprised by Tim’s $200,000 pledge to the state party!

Even with all the other convention fun, delegates ultimately met to define our values and positions in the state party platform – and they put together a great platform with lots of resolutions. I was particularly encouraged by the many young Democrats  who took time to come to take part in this somewhat tedious but important  job.  Those of us that are “more seasoned”  know what conventions are like, and I appreciated the knowledge they shared.

As we all know, Democrats are an independent bunch with a wide range of beliefs and ideas.  But in the end, we all have the same core principles.  This is what motivates us. This is what gives us our energy to do the right thing.  This is what allows us to come together to move forward, work hard and win elections. With all of us pouring our energy into helping our candidates, registering voters, and getting out the vote, I believe we will make history in 2014!

I’m looking forward to the summer ahead and can’t wait to see you volunteering beside me! In the mean time, check out the photos from convention below!

Chair Deb Knecht


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GOP Medicaid expansion blockade means missed opportunities for SD

Sioux Falls (July 2, 2014) — South Dakota is missing out on huge opportunities as a result of the Governor Dennis Daugaard’s medicaid expansion blockade, according to a new report published by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors.

South Dakota Democratic party Executive Director Zach Crago says that the report underscores the importance of Medicaid Expansion in South Dakota.

“The numbers don’t lie – Medicaid expansion makes dollars and sense for South Dakota,” says Crago. “Medicaid Expansion injects hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy to insure 26,000 people who fall in the Daugaard coverage gap. That investment creates jobs and offers a lifeline to hardworking South Dakotans without health insurance. South Dakota cannot wait any longer for Governor Dennis Daugaard and GOP state legislators to expand Medicaid.”

The missed opportunities South Dakota faces because Governor Dennis Daugaard and GOP state legislators refuse to expand Medicaid include:

Missed Opportunities: PREVENTATIVE CARE:

  • 26,000 South Dakotans will be left uninsured because they work too much to qualify for regular Medicaid but earn too little to qualify for subsidies on the healthcare exchange.
  • 3,800 South Dakotans will be get cholesterol level screenings.
  • 1,500 South Dakotans will not receive needed pap smears.
  • 900 South Dakotans will not get potentially life saving mammograms


  • 6,000 South Dakotans will not have access to a usual source of clinical care.
  • 3,000 South Dakotans will not get all their needed care in a 12 month period.
  • 70,800 needed physicians visits will not occur.
  • 2,000 South Dakotans who suffer from depression will not see relief.
  • 3,000 South Dakotans will not report good health.

Missed Opportunities: FINANCIAL HARDSHIP

  • 10,500 South Dakotans will suffer catastrophic out of pocket healthcare costs.
  • 3,700 South Dakotans will have to borrow money or skip paying payments to pay a medical bill.

Missed Opportunities: FEDERAL SPENDING

  • $420 million in federal investments to South Dakota between 2014 and 2016 will be forgone.
  • 1900 jobs will not be created.


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Press Release: Knecht Statement on Hobby Lobby Decision

Sioux Falls (June 30, 2014) — South Dakota Democratic Party Chairwoman Deb Knecht released the following statement after the US Supreme Court gave bosses the power to deny women coverage for birth control: 

“Today’s Supreme Court decision will make it even more difficult for South Dakota women to access basic preventative healthcare like birth control.
“This decision means your boss has the power to make healthcare decisions for you based on his own personal beliefs. That’s wrong – and it’s going to cost women hundreds of dollars a year if their employers refuse to cover birth control. Health care decisions should be left between a woman and her doctor – not her boss.
“I’m also deeply concerned about the implications of this decision now that the personal beliefs of the owners of a corporation can trump laws protecting the rights of women to healthcare. What’s next? As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her dissent, would this exemption “extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]‘
“But I’m not surprised Republicans are praising the decision. Time and time again, the GOP has stood on the wrong side of many issues facing women such as opposing equal pay legislation, delaying the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and interfering between a woman and her doctor. It’s just more of the same here even though the public supports the birth control measure by a two to one margin. 
“The contrast between our parties again is clear: Democrats are fighting for women. Republicans are fighting against them.”


Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby is not just a healthcare or a women’s issue  – it’s an economic issue and a family issue.

o   Nearly 50 million women are now guaranteed access to contraception without a copay while access to birth control at no-cost could save the average woman up to $600 each year — that’s up to $600 that a family could use to put gas in a car, food on the table, or put toward a child’s education.

o   Birth control has helped women move closer to economic equity. Research finds that availability of the pill is responsible for a third of women’s wage increases relative to men since the 1960s.

o   Birth control expands opportunities for women. A 2012 report by the Guttmacher Institute confirmed that women use contraception to better achieve their life goals, with the majority of participants reporting that contraception has had a significant impact on their lives.

The GOP is not listening to the American people on this issue.

o   A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll asked whether employers should be able to choose what forms of contraceptives their health plans provide based on their religious beliefs. Of those responding, 53 percent disagreed and 35 percent agreed.

o   The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, released in April, found “the public supports the requirement by a nearly 2-to-1 margin (61% support, 32% oppose).”

o   According to a PRRI Religion and Politics Tracking Survey, the majority of Americans believe that publicly held and privately owned corporations should be required to provide contraception coverage at no cost to their employees.

o   A Hart Research Poll found that 68% of women voters between the ages of 18 and 55 say that corporations should not be able to exempt themselves from the requirement of covering contraception in their health plans because they object to contraception on religious grounds. More than half of women characterize their opposition to this exemption as strong.

Hobby Lobby decision birth control

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