With each election cycle comes reason for cheer, frustration, and ultimately hope: cheer for the races we win, frustration from those we lose, and hope that judgment ultimately vindicates the courage, determination, and integrity of those who seek to serve.
There is reason for hope today.
Today, the South Dakota Democratic Party is allowed to redefine our institutional structures, reexamine our electoral strategies, and redouble our commitment to a better future for our children. I am humbled to be part of a Party that has demonstrated that commitment in countless hours devoted, resources rendered, and talents volunteered to move South Dakota forward.
And it is in this spirit that I humbly take helm of a Party defined by its sisters of courage, brothers of determination, and elders of integrity.
These last two years have demonstrated what such courage, determination, and integrity can accomplish. Children can no longer be denied health insurance for preexisting conditions. Students can access more student aid and families more tax credits to make higher education more affordable. Our troops can begin their return home with dignity and the support for their educational opportunities warranting it. And here at home we have made state government more transparent to better inform South Dakota’s citizens.
Though both parties – and members within both – have expressed their differences on many of these issues, let us not rehash the battles of the past, but renew our commitment to progress here at home. Together, let us work to expand opportunity from Sioux Falls to Sturgis, extend equality to all members of our community, and ensure the prosperous, fulfilling lives our children deserve.
Let us rebuild this party with purpose and faith – faith that, as John F. Kennedy says, “ the people will not condemn those whose devotion to principle leads them to unpopular courses, but will reward courage, respect honor, and ultimately recognize right.”
Let us together welcome a new day for Democrats in South Dakota, and begin the necessary work for a better tomorrow. – Ben