Messages from the Chair

Letter to the Editor from Our Chair

No Business Representing South Dakota

South Dakota Democratic Party Chair Ann Tornberg sent the following letter to the editors of the daily newspapers of South Dakota last week:

Ann color headshotMembers of South Dakota’s congressional delegation have historically made great efforts to stay connected to the people of South Dakota through town halls or community meetings. Senators Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson, for example, were back in South Dakota as often as possible and held town hall meetings all over the state to hear the concerns of voters. Sometimes the questions were friendly, sometimes not, but they felt holding these meetings was an important part of their duties as our elected representatives.

That’s why it is so disappointing that Representative Noem and Senators Rounds and Thune did not schedule any public town halls during February’s congressional recess and seem to have no plans to do so in the future. Our congressional delegation has a responsibility as our representatives to meet with their constituents, answer our questions, and give reasons for their votes and actions in Washington. There’s such a great interest in attending town halls that citizen groups scheduled town halls themselves and invited our delegation to show up; unfortunately, none did. If Kristi Noem, Mike Rounds, and John Thune are afraid of tough questions, they have no business representing the people of South Dakota in Congress.

Ann Tornberg

Chair, South Dakota Democratic Party

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We Are Hiring!


SDDP Job Opening- Communications and Compliance Director

Please send a resume and cover letter to SDDP Chair Ann Tornberg at by Friday July 3, 2015.  Interviews will be scheduled starting July 6, 2015.

Do you support our party’s Mission?

Democrats believe that we’re greater together than we are on our own-that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules.  Our values guide us in our fight for equality and opportunity for all South Dakotans.  It’s with these values that we help elect Democrats up and down the ballot in every corner of the state.

Are you the right fit for our team?

With a small team of staff at the South Dakota Democratic Party, we’re looking for a self-motivated person who is passionate about the work we do to elect Democrats.  The Communication/Compliance Director must be able to adapt to diverse situations and demands while keeping a positive attitude.  The Communication/Compliance Director must be outgoing, personable and welcoming to elected leaders, donors, volunteers, partners, and prospective candidates.  He/She must be well organized; attention to detail is a crucial element to the job.  Design abilities would also be a positive attribute.




  • Effectively publicize the goals, platform, activities, and accomplishments of the State Party with the news media and key constituency groups through traditional and social media as well as digital marketing.
  • Proactively manage a multidisciplinary department that manages all communications requests, rapid response communications, digital media, and the tracking operation.
  • Serve as on-the-record spokesperson for the SDDP, Party Chairperson, and other principals.
  • Handle all media requests and prepare and disseminate communications tools such as press releases, op-eds, public statements, speeches, talking points, presentations, media advisories, briefings, pitch ideas, videos, email blasts, newsletters, social media, and graphics.
  • Maintain relationships with media professionals across the state.
  • Work with staff to manage difficult communications situations including crisis communications.
  • Manage and produce email and social media calendar, direct list-building initiatives, and maintain content for the website and multiple social media platforms.
  • Develop and execute press events with surrogates and elected officials.
  • Prepare and execute short and long-term communications plans.
  • Provide media training for county party representatives.
  • Work with DNC, campaigns and democratic committees to coordinate press and communications strategy and assist as needed.


  • Manage accounts in Quickbooks, creating financial reports for the Executive Board and Central Committee Meetings
  • Maintain and file FEC reports in accordance with federal election law; Serve as primary contact with accountant and compliance attorneys
  • Prepare and submit state compliance reports.



  • Three years of professional work in communications, campaigns or related area;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication as well as grammatical and copy editing skills;
  • Ability to think quickly on your feet and work in a fast-paced team environment;
  • Experience executing digital and traditional communications strategies;
  • Keen eye for identifying opportunities and potential risk, and ability to rally assets;
  • Knowledge of NGP, VAN, Quickbooks, and other related software preferred;
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • The ability to work under tight deadlines and adapt quickly to changing work priorities.



This is a full-time position. Salary is commensurate with experience along with full benefits package. Please send resume, cover letter, and three professional references via email to by Friday July 3, 2015.  Interviews will be scheduled starting July 6, 2015.Please list “Communications/Compliance Director” in the subject line.

The South Dakota Democratic Party is an equal opportunity employer and it is our policy to recruit, hire, train, promote and administer any and all personnel actions with regard to sex, race, age, color, creed, national origin, religion, economic status, sexual orientation, veteran status, gender identity or expression, ethnic identity or physical disability, or any other legally protected basis.

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Get Active, South Dakota!

The SDDP headquarters now resembles a “war room” and it’s hard to keep coffee in the pot for longer than 20 minutes! Our quest to send Noem on a permanent vacation and make sure our Democratic values are also represented fairly in Pierre is plowing full steam ahead.

There are less than 50 days until Election Day. We have a lot of work to do in a short time. Candidates across the state – some of them in your own backyard – could use your help.

Ready to lend a hand? Let us know!
We’ll find a campaign activity that works for you! »

Even if it’s just an hour or two this weekend or next, every one of our hardworking candidates could use an extra hand. There are yard signs to be delivered, doors to be knocked, and calls to be made. There are even ways you can help from the comfort of your own home!

Get active! Donate a little time, make a big difference! »

With just a little of your time, we’ll return South Dakota to a place where our representatives in Pierre and Washington are doing their jobs – fighting for the values of everyday South Dakotans like you.

We can do it.


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Greetings from Charlotte!

Wow! Just wow!

I’m happy to report that the South Dakota Democrats made it to Charlotte…and boy were we blown away on the first day! Thanks to rousing speeches from First Lady Michelle ObamaMayor Julian Castro, and Governor Deval Patrick we are fired up and ready to go!

There are 32 delegates and super delegates representing South Dakota at the Democratic National Convention this year. We’ll spend our days in caucus meetings, then each evening we’ll join Democrats from across the nation, to participate in activites on the convention floor.

We delegates and all South Dakota Democrats have our work cut out for us over the next 60 days.  We have a great opportunity to make an impact this year from Pierre to Washington D.C. With your financial help, we’ll be able seize that opportunity and celebrate on election night.

Help Us Raise $1000 Before the South Dakota Delegation Returns Home.

If the SDDP receives enough $5 contributions from dedicated Democrats like you, we’ll not only meet our goal and greet our returning delegation with great news, we’ll also be in a better position to send Noem home, elect legislators who share our priorities and values, and send a clear message to Governor Daugaard – that Democrats in Pierre will never back down in a fight for everyday South Dakotans. Continue Reading »

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Where is Kristi?

Congresswoman Kristi Noem has returned to South Dakota for five weeks, but she has scheduled ONLY ONE public event with South Dakota voters!

Our farmers and ranchers are anxiously waiting for Kristi Noem to pass a Farm Bill, among other significant legislation that affects South Dakotans. Noem needs to explain her positions on the big issues in communities across our state. She has an obligation to host public events, including debates and town halls, which she herself declared is “an important part of the job.”

So, we’re launching the five week long #WhereIsKristi campaign where, during each week of her congressional vacation, we’ll creatively showcase the big issues Noem avoids by refusing to schedule public events.

Here’s how you can help us make this campaign a success:

Let’s give Noem the nudge she needs. After all, the voters deserve to hear from their representative.


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Noem’s Vacation

Congress went on vacation last week, leaving little hope that South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers will see a Farm Bill extension from Congress.

Kristi Noem says she went to bat for the Farm Bill – and the results are in:

  • The House leadership refuses to even hold a vote on the Farm Bill.
  • After toying with the idea of a one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, the House scrapped that idea too.
  • The stop-gap disaster relief bill passed by the House on Thursday addressed only a portion of the industries that need support.

Since Congress won’t return to Washington until September–at which point they have about three weeks to finish their business before the election–Kristi will probably be back in South Dakota soon, walking in parades, attending rodeos, hosting taxpayer-funded tele town halls, and, if we’re lucky, a few debates with Matt Varilek.

If you see Kristi in your community, be sure to ask her:

“What are you doing right now to pass a farm bill for South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers?”

We’d love to hear her response, too. So, If you have a camera or video-capable cell phone on hand, please record her answer and send us a video!

It’s time Kristi start taking responsibility for a Congress that keeps wasting time and taxpayer money while not addressing concerns during the worst drought in 50 years.

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No Vision for Agriculture from Noem

The U.S. House of Representatives takes up the Farm Bill tomorrow. Agriculture is our state’s largest industry, so this legislation affects every South Dakota family – directly or indirectly.

Given the powerful impact of federal agriculture policy, I visited Kristi Noem’s campaign website to learn about her positions on these issues. What I found – or didn’t find- appalled me. There’s not a single word about agriculture among the ‘Issues’ she chooses to spotlight.

Think South Dakotans need a representative in Washington
who understands our policy priorities?

Take Action! Sign Up to Write a Letter to the Editor »

As Congress considers one of the most important bills for our state, Noem doesn’t even tell us where she stands on these issues. And this isn’t the first time. She attended only four of twenty agriculture committee hearings, did not make a single statement of substance during those she actually did attend, refused to explain why, then proclaimed she didn’t “go to DC to talk.”

Yet curiously, in her “Vision for Congress” Noem writes that she “will go to our nation’s capital and be South Dakota’s lone voice in the people’s House. We need a voice that speaks for the people of South Dakota and is not focused on currying favor… It’s time our voice was heard.”

Congresswoman Noem isn’t making your voice heard in the halls of Congress. And now, she says that’s not even what she went to DC to do. What’s that mean for us?

It’s time we made our voices heard back home.

Will you write a letter to the editor? Sign up here! »

South Dakota can no longer afford Noem’s silence.


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Be There Thursday!

South Dakota Democrat? Want to make a difference? Not really sure how to begin, but want to get active? I’ve got the answer!

Join me and other fellow Democrats from across the state in Aberdeen this weekend for our state convention!

If you’ve never been to one before, don’t worry. We’ll have many friends there to welcome you. What’s more, we need as many Democrats as possible to participate, both veteran convention attendees and newcomers, if we are to make real progress in our state this year.

South Dakota Democratic Party State Convention
June 14th – 16th
Best Western Ramkota

1400 8th Avenue Northwest
Aberdeen, SD 57401

Here’s a glimpse of just some of the opportunities at the convention. You’ll be able to:

They’ll be breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and mixers in between! Download the full Convention Schedule »

We’ve lined up a special guest for the banquet on Friday evening, Secretary of the Democratic National Committee, Alice Germond. Don’t forget to grab your ticket!

There’s truly something for everyone!

I hope that I’ll see you Thursday in Aberdeen. It won’t be the same without you!

– Ben
Chairman, SDDP

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We Have a Winner: Matt Varilek!

Matt Varilek.

Get used to seeing that name a lot more often because he’s going to be South Dakota’s Democratic candidate facing off against Congresswoman Kristi Noem in November.

Matt campaigned tirelessly through June to win the Party’s nomination. Take this opportunity to congratulate Matt by joining his campaign.

Let’s take back Congress! Get on board with Matt Varilek! »

A heartfelt congratulations to Jeff Barth on a well-run campaign. Who can forget the incredible YouTube video that helped put this race on the map and the issues that Democrats are fighting for to hold Congresswoman Noem accountable? Instant classic. This isn’t the last we’ve heard of Jeff Barth. Thank you for stepping up to the plate for the people of South Dakota.

The November election starts today. We must close ranks behind the South Dakotan that will put our children, our teachers, our family farmers, our senior citizens, and the needs of middle class and working people first. This morning Matt had one clear message to share: it’s time to send Noem home.

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‘Don’t confuse me with facts.’  That’s what I imagined Representative Kristi Noem was thinking when she claimed the War on Women is a ‘myth.’

Noem recently went on the record to oppose the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA is important legislation put in place to protect women – like Native American women, 45% of whom are subject to rape, physical violence, or stalking by a domestic partner during their lifetimes.

Let’s be clear. This issue isn’t about politics. This is about doing what’s right for women who are victims of domestic violence – no matter who they are.

This can be accomplished – with your help. Continue Reading »

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