Latest News & Blog

Presidential Election: “2016 Delegate Pledge Form” due March 9th

Be a Delegate to Nominate the Next President of the United States at the Democratic National Convention

IMPORTANT: To participate in the Presidential Delegate Selection Process, you must submit the “2016 Delegate Pledge Form” before March 9th! 

How can I get the “2016 Delegate Pledge Form“? Download it here: 2016 Delegate Pledge Form.

The Delegate Pledge Form must be printed and signed (electronic signature not accepted), and returned to the South Dakota Democratic Party prior to 5:00 PM on Wednesday March 9, 2016.

Forms may be submitted by:

  • EMAIL: Print form, sign, scan, and email to
  • MAIL: Print form, sign, and mail to
    • South Dakota Democratic Party
    • P.O Box 1485
    • Sioux Falls, SD  57101

Who must complete the “2016 Delegate Pledge Form”? Anyone who plans to participate in the Presidential Delegate Selection process. The “2016 Delegate Pledge Form” must be returned to the South Dakota Democratic Party by March 9th in order to participate in the Legislative District Caucuses in each legislative district on March 12 and the Statewide Caucus in Pierre on March 19th.

Who is eligible? Any South Dakota registered Democrat, at least 18 years old on or before the June 7, 2016 primary is eligible to be a delegate.

How are delegates to the National Convention elected?

Delegates elected in each Legislative District Caucus on Saturday, March 12, 2016 attend the Statewide Caucus on Saturday, March 19, 2016 in Pierre. Find the time and location of your March 12th Legislative District Caucus here.

14 delegates (7 men and 7 women) will be elected on March 19 for each Presidential Candidate. South Dakota’s “binding primary” means that the Primary Election vote on June 7, 2016 will determine the percentage of delegates seated for the National Convention.

How many may attend the statewide caucus from each legislative district? This is determined in each of the 35 legislative districts by the number of votes per district in Nov. of 2012 for President Obama and the July 1, 2015 voter registration of Democrats in the district. Click here to see how many delegates your district can elect.

Read more posts in Uncategorized • Permalink

Press Release- Native American education bills pass Senate

Immediate Release: Thursday, February 4, 2016
Contact: Michael Ewald, Communication Director, (605) 271-5405,

Bills aimed at improving Native American education pass Senate.

Sioux Falls, SD (February 4, 2016)-

The South Dakota Democratic Party welcomed the passage of Senate Bills 81 and 82, saying the proposals will help stop the growing achievement gap between Native American and non-Native American students.

Senate Bill 82 establishes the Native American achievement schools grant program to be administered by the Office of Indian Education within the Department of Education. The purpose of the grant program is to fund the establishment of up to three Native American achievement schools aimed at improving academic outcomes for Native American students.

Assistant Minority Leader Senator Troy Heinert (D-26), the prime sponsor of both pieces of legislation and also a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe explained the schools will help preserve a fundamental component of Native American culture— their language.

“When you lose your language, you lose your culture. When you lose your culture, you lose your identity,” Heinert said.

Senate Bill 81 creates a program whereby paraprofessionals working within Native American schools could take steps toward becoming fully licensed teachers under the scholarship program.

Both bills aim to increase efforts to heal cultural issues between Native American and non-Native American students.

Mato Standing High, Director of Indian Education, testifying before the Senate Committee on Education explained the importance of raising awareness between Native and non-Native communities. After relating a story about a Rapid City school administrator that had expressed excitement about learning aspects of South Dakota Native American history, Standing High said, “I thought to myself, imagine if you could have learned that when you were 6 instead of 66, how that could have changed your perspective on relationships, on stereotypes. When we have a better understanding of each other, it’s better for our children. That’s how it’s for all of us.”


Read more posts in Press Releases, Uncategorized • Permalink

GOP demands “big government” collect your pee, police bathrooms

Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Contact: Michael Ewald, Communication Director, (605) 271-5405,

GOP demands “big government” collect your pee, police bathrooms

Sioux Falls, SD (January 27, 2016)-

The South Dakota Democratic Party expressed concern regarding several pieces of legislation introduced in the 91st Legislative Session.

“The party of ‘small government’ wants to collect your pee and police your bathroom. To be honest, the fixation on these issues— as opposed to teacher pay, government ethics, or Medicaid expansion— is strange.” South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Suzanne Jones Pranger said before continuing, “It’s mind boggling when you consider the proponents of these measures are nowhere when we seek investigation into scandals that have cost South Dakota taxpayers millions of dollars and several lives.”

House Bill 1008 would require transgender students use separate facilities than that of the gender with which they identify and would require these students submit a request to school administrators for accommodation in a separate facility.

“It’s a ‘big government’ solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. It sends a damaging signal to transgender students they aren’t welcome,” said Communication Director Michael Ewald.

Advocates for transgender rights warn that those who identify with a gender other than their biological sex at birth are at a substantially higher risk of bullying.  Studies show nearly 41% of transgender persons will attempt suicide in their lifetime.

“Separate but equal bathrooms aren’t going to help students feel comfortable in their educational environment. There are real costs to this imagined issue,” Ewald said.

Another piece of legislation, House Bill 1076, would require welfare recipients submit to drug tests in order to receive SNAP benefits.

“This proposal is proven to be a waste of time and resources. The attitude that ’these people are poor, so they must be on drugs’ is superficial and not based in factual analysis.” Jones Pranger said.

Democrats point out that all but one state with active welfare testing programs found violation rates less than 1% positive in 2015.

For example, Tennessee had 16,017 eligible applicants that could be tested under their state program— only 37 tested positive for drug use.  In Missouri, 38,970 were eligible to be tested— only 48 tested positive.

Democrats are also concerned with the universal nature of the testing program which they warn leaves the state open to Constitutional challenges.

“This legislation is yet another example of the Republican controlled Legislature proposing policies that may be challenged in court on Constitutional grounds— costing taxpayers even more money than would already be expended to administer the policy,” concluded Jones Pranger.


Read more posts in Press Releases, Uncategorized • Permalink

Press Release- Democrats respond to Noem’s IHS comments

Immediate Release: Saturday, January 23, 2016

Contact: Michael Ewald, Communication Director, (605) 271-5405,


South Dakota Democratic Party responds to Noem’s IHS comments.

Sioux Falls, SD (January 23, 2016)-

South Dakota Democratic Party officials responded to Representative Kristi Noem’s recent remarks regarding the need to improve the deteriorating healthcare conditions on Native American reservations.

“While we support any effort to improve the poor healthcare conditions in tribal communities, we wish Rep. Noem would have been paying more attention when she voted to cut $220 million from Indian Health Services (IHS) in 2011,” said Communication Director Michael Ewald, referring to the federal agency charged with providing adequate healthcare to Native Americans.

Rep. Noem, along with Congressional Republicans, voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011 which caused the automatic budget cuts in 2013 known as “sequestration” which resulted in significant reductions in government services, including IHS.

It had particular harsh impacts on the suicide epidemic on Pine Ridge. Indian Health Board Chairperson Cathy Abramson told lawmakers at the time “behavioral health services on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota will be reduced because of sequestration. She said the reservation suffers regularly “with suicide, alcoholism and other substance-abuse issues.” “There have been 100 suicide attempts in 110 days on Pine Ridge. Because of sequestration they will not be able to hire two mental health service providers,”

“The sequestration cuts are literally a matter of life and death for American Indians,” she said.

“It’s a crisis of her own creation. IHS has always had funding problems. It was obvious sequestration would make a bad situation worse.” Ewald continued.

IHS predicted the cuts would nationwide “lead to 3,000 fewer inpatient admissions and 804,000 fewer outpatient visits each year.”

Additionally, Democrats were critical Rep. Noem wouldn’t comment on the Medicaid expansion proposal likely to come before the state legislature. “It’s clear by her refusal to answer questions about Medicaid expansion that she hasn’t thought through her position enough to provide the leadership our Native American communities severely need.”

The legislation would expand Medicaid to an estimated 50,000 South Dakotans and revise issues with IHS administration, significantly improving access and care to Native Americans.

So why the tough talk now on tribal healthcare?

“I think Representative Noem has so few accomplishments from her time in the House that she’s worried about her next election. I would be too when you’re so loyal to the establishment in Washington that you can’t voice support back home for a policy universally recognized to make a substantial impact. Where’s the leadership in that?” Ewald said.



Read more posts in Press Releases, Uncategorized • Permalink

Captain Chaos and the Rest of the GOP Crew

Message from Joe Lowe, Vice Chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party.

It is time to speak again about letting the GOP drive the narrative. This election is one of the most important in our country’s recent history. What’s at stake? The soul of America.  Many of the GOP candidates believe that each person is responsible for his or her lot in life. I believe it is a shared responsibility. That is why I am a Democrat.

We are a great party and have much to be proud of. For more than 200 years, our party has led the fight for civil rights, health care, Social Security, workers’ rights, and women’s rights. We are the party of Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, FDR, and the countless everyday Americans who work each day to build a more perfect union. Let’s look at some of our accomplishments:

1. Under the leadership of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. Constitution was amended to grant women the right to vote. Now, almost 100 years later, the Democratic Party continues to champion women’s rights.

2. In the 1930s, Americans turned to Democrats and elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt to end the Great Depression. President Roosevelt offered Americans a New Deal that put people back to work, stabilized farm prices, and brought electricity to rural homes and communities

3. Under President Roosevelt, Social Security established a promise that lasts to this day: growing old would never again mean growing poor. It was largely opposed by Republican legislators.

4. In 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill—a historic measure that provided unprecedented benefits for soldiers returning from World War II, including low-cost mortgages, loans to start a business, and tuition and living expenses for those seeking higher education.

5. Harry Truman helped rebuild Europe after World War II with the Marshall Plan and oversaw the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

6. In the 1960s, Americans again turned to Democrats and elected President John F. Kennedy to tackle the challenges of a new era. President Kennedy dared Americans to put a man on the moon, created the Peace Corps, and negotiated a treaty banning atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

7. President Johnson’s enactment of Medicare was a watershed moment in America’s history that redefined our country’s commitment to our seniors.

8. In 1976, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Americans elected Jimmy Carter to restore dignity to the White House. He created the Departments of Education and Energy and helped to forge a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt.

9. In 1992, after 12 years of Republican presidents, record budget deficits, and high unemployment, Americans turned to Democrats once again and elected Bill Clinton to get America moving again. President Clinton balanced the budget, helped the economy add 23 million new jobs, and oversaw the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in history.

10. And in 2008, Americans turned to Democrats and elected President Obama to reverse our country’s slide into the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression and undo eight years of policies that favored the few over the many. Under President Obama’s direction and congressional Democrats’ leadership, we’ve reformed a health care system that was broken and extended health insurance to 32 million Americans. [Source: Our History Democrats.Org]

To defend and promote our accomplishments and values, we must fight the GOP’s effort to drive the narrative with falsehoods and flat-out lies. Each of us has to stand up and ensure the truth is known when we speak to our friends and neighbors. I want to address some of the facts surrounding Mr. Trump (Captain Chaos). These are not my facts. Many of the facts come from the Wall Street Journal article “Trump and His Debts: A Narrow Escape”[Jan. 4, 2016]. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Mr. Trump touts family values, but if you weren’t in a coma during the ’90s, you know about Ms. Maples. The aspiring actress’s affair with the mogul 17 years her senior that precipitated the “divorce of the century”  [Judith Newman, NY Times “Marla Maples Finds Her Groove,” New York Times, Nov. 14, 2012].
  • Summer 1990: Trump is deep in debt over his opulent Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, NJ . He agrees with a group of lenders to restructure 2.1 billion of loans.
  • Fall 1990: He struggles to pay the interest on Taj Mahal casino and negotiates with his bondholders. He also told contractors, who were owed money, after the restructure, to accept a 30% cut in what they were owed or risk losing more.
  • July 1991: Places his casino under bankruptcy protection.
  • 1991: Sells his personal Boing 727 and Trump Princess Yacht.
  • March 1992: Places two more casinos, Trump Plaza and Trump Castle, into bankruptcy.
  • 1993: Uses part of the proceeds of a Trump Plaza note sale to repay debt in New York.
  • 1993: Sues his co-owner of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York, the Pritzker family.
  • 1994: Sells 70% of a West Side Manhattan tract to Hong Investors.

Trump touts his great business prowess, but like his candidacy for President, that prowess doesn’t fit the facts. Trump counts on showmanship to distract from those facts, and the polls show far too many Republicans fall for it.

Trump isn’t the only Republican hiding facts with showmanship. Let’s look at some of the misshapen GOP rhetoric presented in the last GOP debate:

Ted Cruz claim: President Obama’s preparing to send $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei.

Ted Cruz makes it sound if we are giving the largest foreign aid payment to Iran. In reality, we have secured a seven-nation nuclear deal that commits Iran to curbing its nuclear activities. The deal allows Iran to regain access to about $100 billion of its own money that was frozen by international sanctions.

Jeb Bush comments on the prisoner release: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he saw “weakness” in the Obama administration’s dealings with Iran. “Let’s take a step back here,” Bush told a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. “The bigger issue is that we’ve legitimized a regime who shows no interest in actually moving toward the so-called community of nations.”

In truth, the U.S. has not been alone in shifting its pose toward Iran, which is part of what would make undoing it difficult. The nuclear deal was negotiated alongside France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, a coalition that managed to hang together through lengthy discussions and difficult domestic politics. Since then, Iran has joined in international talks seeking an end to the Syrian civil war. White House officials say they see those talks as a test of whether other conversations are possible [Source -Analysis: “Prisoner Swap Puts GOP Candidates in a Tough Spot,” AP, Jan. 16, 2016]. Again, the GOP Presidential candidates are critical yet offer no other solutions except the normal hawkish talk.

In this case diplomacy did work and it did not cost us American lives like the 6,840 U.S. service members that have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom [Source: Washington Post—Face of the Fallen]

Trump claim about Syrian refugees: “When I look at the migration, I look at the line, I said… where are the women? It looked like very few women. Very few children. Strong and powerful men, young and people are looking at that and they’re saying what going on?”

Trump must have looking from the same spot where he saw Muslims dancing in the street after 9-11.  According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, of the 4.6 million Syrian refugees, men ages 18 to 59 make up 21.4 %. The rest are women and children, or people over 60 or older [Source- Associated Press- Fact Check-“Misshapen rhetoric in Thursday’s Republican debate.” January 16, 2016].

Captain Chaos and his fellow The GOP Presidential Candidates are living in an alternate world where they constantly misshape the facts. They perpetuate fear as their main tool to gain support in the polls. In addition many are playing the Evangelical card. I do not believe one of the prime tenants of the Christian Religion is to spread hateful statements about Blacks, Latinos, and persons of other faiths.

For our party much is at stake, and I am asking you, my fellow Democrats, to get involved and not give the election away. Stand up to those that are spreading falsehoods, both at the state and national level. We are a great party with great values, and one of those values is our commitment to telling the truth.

We have outstanding Democratic presidential candidates as well as Paula Hawks, who is running for US Congress. They need your support. I am also asking you to come together after our presidential candidate is picked and support either Hillary or Bernie.  Don’t walk away from being involved just because your candidate did not prevail. Whoever leads our ticket, we Democrats cannot give this election away. Let’s fight for the facts and fight for our values.

Joe Lowe
Vice Chairman
South Dakota Democratic Party

Read more posts in Blog, Uncategorized • Permalink • No comments: Say Something! »

Join Us on Facebook!

Latest Tweet

  • The 2016 Democratic Presidential Delegate Selection Process is now open. Forms due March 9!

Photo Gallery

View more photos »

Posts by Category:

Monthly Archive