Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor Johnson Not A Good Advocate Of S.D. Values

Alex Lundry, Watertown

We South Dakotans are in danger of forgetting that in November we will be electing someone to represent our views on the legislative floors of Congress. This person is to serve as our advocate on a host of issues that could range from human cloning to how much is taken out of our paychecks.

Unfortunately, in this year's Senate race, we are being fogged into supporting a candidate who will not represent our interests. Beneath the rhetoric of Tim Johnson and his campaign lies a virtual wasteland of votes cast against the values of South Dakota. It would anger most South Dakotans to find out that this man has not been voting the way we would want him to: He has consistently voted to affirm a women's right to kill her unborn child; he has continually voted against the position of the National Rifle Association; he voted against the Persian Gulf War; he voted for the largest tax increase in history.

And while his votes alone highlight his lack of commitment to our views, his money trail only makes it worse. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 82 percent of Tim Johnson's individual contributions come from outside of South Dakota. This ranks him third in the U.S. Senate for out-of-state contributions.

It is a member of Congress' job to vote as their citizens want them to, hence our representative government. Our state must realize that Johnson is not representing us at all. Instead he is representing himself, which just isn't the way it's supposed to be. Tim may be a good guy, but he certainly isn't a good advocate.

Just Where Is Thune's Influence With Bush

Bill Kerr, Yankton

Thank you, Mr. President, for coming to South Dakota in our hour to need. We needed your presence and your speech to cheer us up. The flag-waving, hand-shaking and speeches were great, but "where's the beef?" I wish you would have taken the time to see the drought-stricken areas of our state to know why we are in need, and reassure us that you will try to find some help for our farmers and ranchers.

It seems that you and Rep. Thune had a bigger need to make a taped political advertisement than for him to show you the damage the drought has done, and make a plea for our farmers and ranchers — and that on a trip paid for by the taxpayers! Let us know if you decide to do the right thing and reimburse our government for the use of Air Force One for a political junket. All that expense and no help for our farmers and ranchers!

Rep. Thune keeps telling us he has influence with the White House, but couldn't seem to convince you that our farmers and ranchers need drought relief. Instead. He joked about the drought being "God's way of reminding us who's in charge." Is that the way you think too, Mr. President?

Most other presidents have toured natural disaster areas and made some effort on behalf of the victims. I wish you could have seen your way to do so.

Healy's Actions Don't Live Up To His Words

Sam Kooiker, Rapid City

Bryce Healy says he is a friend of hunters, but his record in the School and Public Lands office contradicts his claim. For example, did you know Healy recently tried to give away 880 acres of South Dakota's best hunting land near Wind Cave to the Federal Government WITHOUT talking to the hunters? Healy has evidently forgotten that our schoolkids, hunters and ranchers are a lot more important than pine beetles and prairie dogs.

This is why I'll be joining thousands of Republicans, Democrats and independents who will be voting for Alan Aker for Commissioner of School & Public Lands on Nov. 5.

Herseth Out Of Touch, Out Of Step With S.D. Values

Susan Munger, Watertown

Stephanie Herseth will not represent South Dakota values. Undoubtedly, she is a very intelligent and well-educated young woman, but her beliefs do not match my beliefs or those of most South Dakotans. She is endorsed by Emily's List, an organization concerned with electing strong supporters of abortion, and they do not endorse lightly. Only candidates who support partial-birth abortion and federal funding of "abortion-on-demand" receive support from Emily's List, and Ms. Herseth's campaign has already spent $18,000 worth of contributions from Emily's List. Out of all the candidates in congressional races in the entire United States, Stephanie Herseth is ranked 10th for monies received from pro-choice groups. South Dakota is a pro-life state, let's keep it that way.

Johnson Can't Be Trusted On The Abortion Issue

Laura DeRaad, Leola,

I wonder if Sen. Johnson is ashamed that he is pro-abortion, since he claims he is for life. Maybe the senator should check his voting record to refresh his memory.

While Johnson claims that he has always voted against federal funding for abortion, his record clearly reveals that eight times he has voted in favor of using our tax dollars to fund abortion: S.1282, CQ Vote #197, July 1, 1999; S1023, CQ Vote #190, July 22, 1997; HR1868, CQ Vote #794, Nov. 15, 1995; HR1868, CQ Vote #753, Oct. 31, 1995; HR1868, CQ Vote #433, June 28, 1995; HR1561, CQ Vote #350, May 24, 1995; HR2492, CQ Vote #518, Oct. 20, 1993; HR 2508, CQ Vote #149, June 12, 1991.

How can we trust our senator if he does not tell the truth?

Vermillion Bridge Plays A Vital Role In Our Region

Cleo Waters, Irene

A letter from Taunya Yauger (Press & Dakotan, Sept. 4) implies that the Vermillion/Newcastle Bridge is a "bridge to nowhere."

I realize Taunya's viewpoint of that bridge doesn't stand alone: There are others who have voiced the same kind of opinions. What Taunya and those who share her opinion fail to recognize is that all communities are entitled to government funds — not just those that have already benefited from government funds. The Vermillion/Newcastle Bridge has opened up opportunities for many people — just as the Meridian Bridge did at Yankton so many years ago. As far as the bridge going "nowhere," that is an incorrect statement. It goes across the Missouri River to Nebraska. It connects communities, hospitals, businesses and people who can benefit from each other. South Dakota's University is in Vermillion and that city has struggled for many years because it was river-locked on its south side and couldn't grow or draw students from areas so close but yet so far away because of the Mighty Missouri River.

I, for one, applaud Tim Johnson for his hard work and efforts to get federal funding for the Vermillion/Newcastle Bridge, and I applaud John Thune for his collaborative efforts in that same project. By the way, Tim Johnson and John Thune shared the stage and were both speakers at the grand opening of that long overdue and much needed connection between South Dakota and Nebraska communities.

Thune's Stand On Privatization Must Be Clear

Sen. John McIntyre, Sioux Falls

D-District 12

I am one of the co-chairs of the South Dakota Coalition Against the Privatization of Social Security. I am writing because I am concerned about an article that appeared in your paper (Aug., 29) about John Thune holding an event in Yankton with the president of a group called 60 Plus, talking about Social Security.

I think it is important that your readers understand that this 60 Plus group is funded by the pharmaceutical industry, supports risking Social Security in the stock market, and has referred to Social Security, which more than 110,000 South Dakota seniors count on every month, as "an antiquated relic."

I want to be clear that the coalition that I represent is focused solely on opposing the investment of Social Security in the stock market. Directing Social Security into the market absolutely means a cut in benefits for South Dakota seniors, and could mean raising the retirement age. The fact that John Thune is willing to stand with the president of this group is very disappointing to us, and should say something to South Dakota seniors worried about the future of their guaranteed Social Security benefits.

Our coalition has taken a firm stand against privatization, and asked South Dakota candidates to sign a pledge promising to protect the guaranteed benefit of Social Security, and oppose efforts to partially or fully privatize Social Security. There is only one federal candidate in South Dakota who has refused over and over again to sign our pledge, and that candidate is John Thune. He claims to be opposed to privatization, yet he refuses to sign a pledge that simply states that fact, and the voters of South Dakota need to understand that.

If John Thune truly opposes risking Social Security in the stock market, we ask him yet again to sign our coalition's pledge stating that opposition. South Dakota voters deserve to know where their elected officials really stand.

Johnson Has The Right Approach On Energy Issue

Kevin Gallagher, Highmore

I see Mr. Schrader of Alexandria is still beating the ANWR drum though he has toned it down (Press & Dakotan, Sept. 4). And does admit now that conservation, fuel cell technology and bio-fuels should be utilized. Though I'd like to add the new electric-gas hybrid vehicles are now on the market, and will be coming out in SUV models soon.

My feeling is still that there is no lack of oil at present. There is a lack of refinery capacity. Rather than working at opening ANWR I'd prefer to see our oil companies build refineries and storage capacity. But there is not as much profit doing that. Building that costs money, and provides a cushion for spot shortages. These price spikes whenever there is a break in the flow from well to gas station are a lot more profitable than spending money to build infrastructure to prevent these price spikes. And as long as the ANWR oil is under ANWR, we have a reserve.

I'll stick with Sen. Johnson until the case has really been made that we need to drill ANWR, not just that the oil companies want to drill it.

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