Months of social media interest tugging at Matt Varilek to run for the House seat now occupied by Kristi Noem had not provoked Varilek to jump in quite yet. But even today – a full week into his official “Meet Matt” tour – he wanted to formally introduce himself to a packed house of 150 supporters at the Sioux Falls VFW.
“As you’ve heard I’ve made an announcement, but I wanted to announce it here, face to face,” he began. “I have decided to run for this house seat.” The crowd erupted.
Varilek has deep roots in South Dakota. He was born in Yankton and served as an aide for Senator Tim Johnson. His campaign website describes his “Meet Matt” tour where Varilek hopes to “share my message of focusing on middle-class interests and bringing people together around our country’s problems.”
On Friday, January 27, Varilek spent time at the Democratic Forum at the Sioux Falls VFW and later stopped by the Cornerstone Coffee in Mitchell to make that message heard.
Crowds have formed everywhere Matt has stopped. The VFW in Sioux Falls had to add over two dozen seats with a few people deciding to stand instead of navigate their way around to find an open spot. I occasionally had to shift in my seat to see the candidate as waitresses dart from table to table.
Matt Varilek has the look of a person who you grew up with. Someone who looks you in the eye and doesn’t vacillate much. When he discussed the naming of his campaign they decided on something that would be “simple and straightforward.”
That’s the sense you get from Varilek. A sort of harkening back to the good ol’ days. Varilek talked about helping people and that should be what politics is all about. He hopes for two main things for the people of South Dakota.
- Leadership they can be proud of
- Constructive approach to politics
Indeed Varilek urges us to work towards making South Dakota a more prosperous state and that each person should have the ability to put food on the table. He opened his remarks with a story about his hard-working mother who could only afford reduced lunch for her son. And how quickly young Matt Varilek realized that his different color of lunch ticket meant a singling out. Varilek seems to have an eye on the future and a respect for tradition. And I would say that he is not only good for South Dakota but also for the United States.
Varilek will be busy in the coming weeks with campaign stops in Sturgis (Feb. 10), Rapid City (Feb. 11), Pierre (Feb. 16), and Huron (Feb. 17). Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@MattforSD) or his campaign page on Facebook. Or if you want to learn more, go to www.mattforsd.com or the South Dakota Democratic party at www.sddp.org.
***Jonathon Josten is our unparalleled intern at SDDP headquarters. An Augustana college graduate and current graduate student at the University of Sioux Falls, Jon enjoys writing and theater. Needless to say, politics provide enough theatrical antics to keep him busy.