By Kayla Sylvester, Yankton High School
A legacy isn’t about the length of time in office; it’s about the things that remain for generations to come. So at the Young Elected Legislative Leaders (YELL) retreat this past April when high school students like me from across South Dakota got to hear from Governor Harvey Wollman, we heard from a man who left a lasting legacy in a short period of time. He gave an inspirational message, which is expected from a former Governor who chose to speak to a group of teenagers, but what stuck with me was a reality check. The fact is that this state needs another Democrat governor, and hopefully one of us or maybe even someone sooner could fill that need.
When Governor Wollman spoke I thought ”wow we have an awesome party.” Its true, we got to hear from countless Democrats who all cared about the future of the party and knew that we were that future. One of the things that our party has over the other is the fact that we have to make an effort to talk to young democrats out there, because there are a ton. The other party takes for granted their numbers in a historically red state. Another thing I took away from listening to Democratic leaders like Governor Harvey Wollman at YELL is that we are clearly party with the best ideas. We have a tradition of suggesting something one year, and five years later the Republicans finally come around and see the ”right” side and think it’s their idea. As the minority party in Pierre we have had to accept it that way. But when Harvey Wollman served in Pierre, he accomplished more for the future of South Dakota than the other party has done ever since. He helped create the modern South Dakota Retirement System and the Investment Council, the main reason South Dakota still ranks among the best run states in the nation. He helped create the four year medical school too. Just imagine what South Dakota would look like without him?
Yes, YELL was all about us young Democrats in the state, but the reason the state is what it is today is because of people like Governor Harvey Wollman. So today with the unveiling of his statue at the Capitol Rotunda, I would like to thank and congratulate Governor Wollman on behalf of all the YELL participants. We were inspired to work hard and hopefully find the next Democratic Governor of the state among the group.
Want more young Democrats like Kayla setting their sights on elected office? The Young Elected Legislative Leaders retreat is only made possible by supporters like you. Make a contribution of $20, $10, $3 or whatever you can afford towards our next group of Young Elected Legislative Leaders. Thank you for being a strong South Dakota Democrat. –Zach Crago & the entire SDDP team