SDDP Executive Director Responds to State of the State Address →

SDDP Executive Director Responds to State of the State Address

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement from Executive Director Sam Parkinson in response to today’s State of the State Address by Governor Dennis Daugaard:

“40 years of one-party rule has led to one budget shortfall after another, a state government plagued by scandal and which regularly overturns the expressed will of the voters, a state educational system falling behind our neighbors, and a state economy where working families are struggling to get ahead. South Dakotans deserve better leadership than they have received from the Republican establishment in Pierre. South Dakota Democrats are fighting for a state government and a state economy that works for everyone, not those at the top, like the powerful and well-connected special interests who have way too much power in Pierre. It’s time for a change in leadership; this November, South Dakotans will remember who is fighting for them and who is fighting for the special interests.”

Here’s a look at how the Republican leadership in Pierre has failed the people of South Dakota:

  • Working families are having to work harder to make ends meet, and many are falling behind.
    • SD is top in the nation in multiple-jobholding rates, according to most recent estimates available – We’re at 9.1% and the national average is 4.9%
    • We rank second in the nation in the percentage of our families where both spouses are in the workforce – We’re at 61.7% and the national average is 51.2%.
    • We’re 42nd in the nation for median earnings for men and 41st for women, and women in South Dakota earn about $10,000 less than men on average.
    • We have the 7th highest percentage of our elderly population below the poverty level.
    • We have an infant mortality rate higher than the national average.
    • South Dakota has the largest employment gap between American Indians and Whites in the nation.
      • In 2016, the employment rate of White adults in South Dakota was 35.2 percentage points higher than for American Indian adults.
      • South Dakota ranked 49th in the nation for proportion of American Indian adults working at just 45.2% in 2016. By comparison, 80.4% of White adults were at work—the second highest proportion in the nation.
  • State government isn’t working as it should.
    • There’s a profound lack of accountability, and the state isn’t making the smart investments to support an innovative and dynamic economy.
    • SD has been ranked 3rd-most corrupt state in the nation.
    • SD has been named one of the 10 least innovative states in the nation by Forbes.
  • Under our current system of politics as usual, our economy is sputtering.
    • Our low unemployment rate (3 %) can’t overcome other fundamental weaknesses:
      • South Dakota’s economy shrank 0.3% from Quarter 1 to Quarter 2 in 2017. Iowa was the only other state with a negative GDP (-0.7%) in Q2 of 2017.
      • South Dakota’s economy has now shrunk in three (3) consecutive quarters (-2.9 in Q4 of 2016, -5.9 in Q1 of 2017, and -0.3 in Q2 of 2017).
      • Since 2011, Gov. Daugaard’s first year in office, through 2016, SD’s per capita GDP growth has been 0.2% (an average of 0.04% a year).
        • During that period the overall per capita GDP growth in the United States has been 6% – 30 times faster than South Dakota’s.
        • The only neighboring state which has underperformed South Dakota during this period is Wyoming.
      • In 2016, South Dakota’s per capita personal income grew just 0.4%, below the national average of 2.5% in metro areas and 1.0% non-metro areas.
      • Per capita personal income fell in 45 South Dakota counties in 2016 and rose in only 21 counties. County charthere.

Source: The Census Bureau, unless otherwise another hyperlink is provided.


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SDDP Statement on MFG Plant Closure →


SDDP Statement on MFG Plant Closure

SIOUX FALLS – The South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement from Executive Director Sam Parkinson in response to today’s announcement from Molded Fiber Glass Companies (MFG) that they would close their plant in Aberdeen in response to “proposed revisions in tax policies impacting the wind energy industry in the United States:”

“Today’s news is the latest evidence that the tax policies of Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress – supported by Rep. Kristi Noem and Senators Mike Rounds and John Thune – will cost South Dakotans jobs. The 409 MFG employees who will lose their jobs are just the latest victims of a Republican tax agenda that is great for the wealthy and large corporations, but will harm everybody else. Unlike Republicans, Democrats are fighting for a pro-growth tax structure that promotes manufacturing jobs, including in the wind energy industry and other renewable energy industries. We believe our economy should work for everyone, not just the privileged few.”


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Message from the Vice Chair

GOP is Trying to Rewrite History

The campaign season has started as well as the GOP rhetoric. People are entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts. Our Republican friends seem to drive the narrative with made up facts. As Democrats we must stop letting Republicans drive the narrative. If we do not, these lies become truth to many Americans. If Republicans control the narrative, they will control Congress, the Senate and the Presidency, and we will be back to the failed policies of the 2008 Recession.

I want to display a few graphs developed from the Budget of the United States Historical Tables Fiscal Year 2015. First let’s address who added substantially to the budget deficit and refute the first attempt to rewrite historical data.


Source: Dave Johnson, “Three Charts to E-Mail to Your Right-Wing Brother-in-Law,” Huffington Post, 2014/10/09,

Note: President Clinton’s last budget posted a $128 billion surplus.

Let’s look at the Republicans’ second attempt to rewrite history. The second graph speaks to spending.


Source: Dave Johnson, “Three Charts to E-Mail to Your Right-Wing Brother-in-Law,” Huffington Post, 2014/10/09,

This sure does not make Democrats look like the party that likes to spend money. I would think that the graph says it all.

So if the above is not enough, let’s take a look at the debt ceiling crisis of 2011. The Republican Party demanded that the President negotiate over deficit reduction (which Bush had a lot to do with) in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling.  The crisis sparked the most volatile week for financial markets since the 2008 market. The stock market trended significantly downward. Later that week Standard and Poor’s downgraded the credit rating of the United States Government for the first time in our country’s history.  The Government Accounting Office estimated that the delay in raising the debt ceiling increased government borrowing costs by $1.3 billion in 2011. We also had a 16 day partial shutdown of government as a result of the crisis. The GOP previously did not have a problem raising the debt ceiling. See the diagram.


Source:, 2011,

Now for those GOP friends that say the stimulus did not work. See the next graphic.


Source: Dave Johnson, “Three Charts to E-Mail to Your Right-Wing Brother-in-Law,” Huffington Post, 2014/10/09, 

We have had 56 months of private sector job growth under this administration. The graph speaks for itself.

In 2008 our country was on the brink of disaster as a result of the poor policy decisions made during the Bush Administration. The auto industry had to be rescued, Wall Street had to be bailed out, the Trickle Down did not work, and many working class Americans were out of a job. Republicans created those problems; Democrats had to solve them. The upper one percent continued to see increases in their wages and the rest of us saw little in the way of wage increases. In fact I saw a Times Magazine article that says since 1979 the one percent saw a 138% increase in their wages while the rest of us saw a 15% increase in our wages. Republicans only give lip service to supporting the middle class.

I ask you, my fellow Democrats, to do the same thing I’m trying to do with these four charts: stop letting GOP drive the narrative and rewrite history. Stand up for our Democratic values because we are on the right side of the issues. When you hear Republicans – friends, neighbors, whomever spreading false information let them know that what they are saying is simply not true and give them the true facts.

Setting the record straight with the facts during this election cycle is so important for our country and the hard working folks like us. We need to ensure we get out and vote, work on the campaigns of our Democratic candidates, and raise donations so our candidates can get our message out. We cannot let the GOP’s falsehoods return us to the failed policies of the past. What’s at stake? The continued erosion of the middle class. So if you believe we deserve better, then fight for a better America. Don’t give this next election away.

Joe Lowe

State Party Vice Chairman

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Minimum Wage Hikes WIN on the Ballot in 2013

What happens when voters get to decide whether to raise the minimum wage? Voters say YES.

We saw that twice on Tuesday, November 6, 2013, on a statewide ballot in New Jersey & on a municipal ballot in SeaTac, Washington, home of the Seattle-Tacoma airport where they raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

NPR covered both ballot questions, and they’ve put together this great article about raising the minimum that deserves reading.

We know that raising the minimum wage shows that we value hard work. Raising the minimum wage puts money in the pockets of hardworking people who’ll spend it on the things their families need everyday. That supports working families, boosts businesses, and grows the economy. That’s why we filed 25,000 signatures to raise the minimum wage in South Dakota – to build an economy that works for everyone.

South Dakotans for Raising the Minimum Wage

It's going to take people of all backgrounds coming together to raise the minimum wage. Help us learn more about you and please share your story today.
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McDonalds and the Minimum Wage

Need another reason why South Dakotans want to raise the minimum wage?

According to a new study produced by the University of California Berkeley Labor Center & the University of Illiniois, 52% of fast food workers with families have to rely on public assistance programs.

In fact, McDonald’s actually provides a private helpline for employees who are looking for food stamps, heating assistance, and other help from government programs.

McDonald’s privately recognizes that public assistance is a necessity for a lot of fast food workers. They publicly admit in “Practical Money Skills” trainings that McDonald’s workers need two jobs to make ends meet.

Here in South Dakota, we value hard work. If you show up, work hard, and play by the rules, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty. You should be able to earn a wage that lifts you out of government assistance. That’s why we’re part of a team that’s gathering signatures RIGHT NOW for our initiated measure to raise the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour with annual cost of living increases.

We have until November 4th to collect 15,855 signatures. There’s still time to make a difference for 62,000 South Dakotans who’ll earn more from our initiated measure to raise the minimum wage. Can you help us?

I support raising South Dakota's minimum wage!

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Where you can find us

South Dakota Democrats are committed to being a part of community events across the state. Want to know a few places you can find us this weekend?

1) Black Hills Powwow – Rapid City: South Dakota Democrats are proud to sponsor a booth at the 27th annual Black Hills Powwow, we’re we’ll be joining our friends across Indian country in celebration of Great Plains indigenous song and dance. We’ll be bringing with us petitions to raise the minimum wage, voter registration forms, and more.

2) Latino American Festival – Sioux Falls: The Latino American Festival is in its 2nd year, and we’re excited to be part of it! Look for our table with petitions, voter registration forms and gear from our friends at the Rick Weiland for US Senate campaign.

3) Webster Area Pumpkin Fest & Night Parade – Webster: And for our friends in northeast South Dakota, look for our compliance director, Jen Rumpca, who’s going back to her hometown to celebrate the 14th annual Webster Area Pumpkin Festival with petitions to raise the minimum wage in hand.

Everywhere we go, we’re building community and a shared sense of commitment for a better South Dakota. But as always, our activities are only made possible by volunteers and contributors like you. Want to see us continue our hard work? You can help.

Be a donor. Make a contribution of $5 or more at the following secure link today:

Be a volunteer. You can help circulate a petition to raise the minimum wage, staff a booth at future events, or help Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.

I want to be a volunteer!

The South Dakota Democratic Party is volunteer driven organization. Our volunteers spread our message, determine our goals, and help elect Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. Be a South Dakota Democratic Party volunteer today!

Thank you for being part of our team.


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A Dream Delivered: Raise the Wage

Yesterday, America celebrated 50 years of progress towards equality since Dr. Martin Luther King delivered Jr. his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. But what did equality mean to King?

Three weeks before Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, he spoke for strikers in Memphis about genuine equality:

“Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality. For we know now that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger?”

Today, I want to reflect on the cause of the March on Washington – for Jobs and freedom – for which march organizers alongside Dr. King like Bayard Rustin called for immediate action towards King’s genuine equality: “We demand that there be an increase in the national minimum wage so that men may live in dignity.”

Genuine equality & dignity in work. Is that a dream we can help deliver in South Dakota today?

As far as I know, Dr. King never visited South Dakota. He never saw our wind-blown prairie, our rolling clouds roaming our endless blue skies, or our beautiful Black Hills with its monuments to Crazy Horse and America’s founding fathers. But I’m sure he’d recognize the modesty of our unassuming family farmers, the unfailing work ethic of our teachers and our welders, the pride of our tribal members in Indian country. And yes, I think he’d also recognize the unease betraying the sunny smiles of South Dakota’s moms holding two low wage jobs to make ends meet or the anguish that comes to good dads who work hard, play by the rules, but just can’t get ahead.

If Dr. King visited today, he might call for a March on Pierre for Jobs and Freedom.

Indeed, at the time of King’s March on Washington, the minimum wage was $8.37 an hour when adjusted for the rising cost of living, a full dollar and 12 cents higher than today’s rate of $7.25 an hour. Even South Dakotans in the lowest cost-of-living county in America say they can’t make ends meet with the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. That is unacceptable.

That’s why the South Dakota Democratic Party is proud to continue Dr. King’s efforts for genuine equality by advocating for an initiated measure to raise the minimum wage.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom recognized that the freedom our founding fathers fought for is limited by low wages, and raising the minimum wage can provide a pathway out of poverty towards the “freedom from want” that FDR spoke of and to which our very own Senator George McGovern dedicated his life.

It’s time to deliver on part of the dream that King and so many others stood up for 50 years ago in Washington. We’ll march across South Dakota – going door to door, standing in front of courthouses and post offices, and passing along petitions among friends at coffee shops and family at the dinner table.

But we can’t do it unless we march together. As President Obama reminded us on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday, “The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own.” Be a part of our effort. Learn more about how you can help at or request a petition right away at

On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, let us commit ourselves to “genuine equality”: economic opportunity and the freedom it provides working South Dakotans by raising the minimum wage.

Let us recognize this anniversary as the year we marched for a “dream delivered.”

– Zach Crago
Interim Executive Director, SDDP

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Democrats blast plan to add state workers →

Chairman’s Note: South Dakota Democrats are making a clear stand for affordable healthcare. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to let Governor Daugaard get away with any funny business either. In fact, after Governor Daugaard offered his “conservative” and “cautious” budget, our Democratic legislators discovered over 100 newly created state government jobs Daugaard had failed to mention to the public. Let’s be clear about one thing – it’s not a problem to use growing revenues to patch the holes from budget cuts in 2011. But to dump new money into the executive branch before patching up the immense damage from budget cuts to our schools, nursing homes, highways and bridges is an incredibly dishonest way to budget our tax dollars.

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Sen. Tim Johnson: Buffett Rule’s Demise Hurts Middle Class →

Chairman’s Note: Instead of investing in the middle class, Republicans in Washington again protected the low taxes for millionaires and billionaires. The fact is the ultra-wealthy are paying lower taxes than they ever have in modern American history at the same time that investments in infrastructure, education, and innovation that grow our economy are being slashed by Washington Republicans. High taxes on the middle class, low taxes on the ultra-wealthy, and no investments in our future is a recipe for economic disaster. America needs tax fairness. Our middle class depends on it.

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Presidential Proclamation — National Equal Pay Day, 2012 →

Chairman’s Note: Tuesday, April 17, 2012, marked Equal Pay Day: To earn what men did in 2011 alone, women would have had to keep working all the way until this past Tuesday — an extra 4 1/2 months. It’s a reminder that we still have much work to do to make pay more fair.

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