Letters Vote for Kozak

To the editor:

The mayoral debate, on Saturday, May 22, was most enlightening. When discussing qualifications for the job of mayor, Roger Kozak cited actual achievements and changes that he has been involved in implementing; Dan Christopherson talked about the people he knows and his "I'm the guy who listens" and "we need to make people in Vermillion feel good about Vermillion" plans.

The information Roger shared about his leadership efforts and the existing results are a matter of accessible record. The information Dan shared about listening and making others feel good has no documentation and sounded like qualifications for a facilitator of a support group rather than those for a mayor.

Given that most people I know here already feel good about Vermillion, Dan's statements about people being in need of help from a mayor in order to feel good about the city of Vermillion sounded hollow. It was difficult to take his platform seriously. Dan appeared to be in a situation of tying to create an issue where an issue does not exist.

It did, however, make more sense when I later learned that Dan's "the listener" and "feel good" lines were just that: campaign lines. It was stated in a conversation involving one of his strong supporters that these lines were being used because "they sell well and win elections."

While Dan's campaign approach may utilize his skills in sales, those skills have little to do with leadership skills and experience that will be required for him to fulfill the job of mayor. I ask Vermillion citizens to consider the following: If we are going to elect a mayor who is able to effectively carry out responsibilities to our community, do we want someone who is trying to sell himself by saying he listens and is going to help us feel good or do we want someone who has already been demonstrating effective leadership skills by being instrumental in maintaining basic living necessities such as electric, water and community infrastructure; encouraging economic development and growth by bringing businesses to town; and by having the foresight in planning so the community can accommodate that growth effectively and efficiently?

Based on information from the debate and on each of the candidate's records, I strongly recommend voting for Roger Kozak for Mayor.

Kate Stewart


Hearsay hurtful to election process

To the editor in response to Kate Stewart letter:

Personal character attacks have no place in any election, but especially not in a municipal contest. Unfounded, unsubstantiated and questionable hearsay is not only untrue, but also hurtful. How can this tactic be good for the general public and for the community as a whole? We all know each other and live and work together on a daily basis. These attacks cause negative feelings, divisiveness and a general feeling of uneasiness in the very community we consider our home. If one cannot get elected on their own merits, then personal motivations should be reexamined.

Winning elections may be the motivation of some, but my motivation is listening and serving the people. I have no burning desire to reach any certain personal level in local government; I just want to serve the taxpayers who asked me to do so. The voters will decide if they want a caring, amiable, compassionate mayor who will always treat everyone with dignity and respect and who will strive to build consensus and get things done quickly and effectively with less expense.

My vision for Vermillion is a vital and desirable community where children raised here have opportunities to remain and raise their own families, and where people want to stay and live their lives. If one believes we can actually accomplish this goal without establishing a caring environment where residents feel good about their local government and about one another, they are not being truly realistic.

All of life is about emotions, feelings and relationships. We all need each other to survive and certainly to be successful. If one does not believe that we all need each other, consider the most severe form of punishment that our society imposes, short of capital punishment, solitary confinement. I challenge you to recruit a new business into any community if you do not establish a caring relationship based upon positive feelings and warm emotions first.

People will eventually forget what you say and do, but they will NEVER forget how you make them FEEL!

Thank you,

Dan Christopherson

Candidate for mayor of Vermillion

A proven leader

To the editor:

During the years I've lived and had my lumber business in Vermillion, I've followed state politics and politicians. From that I've figured out that if you want something done in Pierre, you'd better vote for the person who's already done something.

When we send someone to Pierre, they don't change over night into a leader who gets things done. What you see today is what you get.

That's why I think Judy Clark is the person to represent us in the S.D. Senate. She's already proven that she's a leader. It's obvious that she can work with people to achieve a goal, as she has in recruiting volunteers to plant flowers for Vermillion Beautiful and working on so many other projects.

It's a good combination. Judy has the experience of four years in the S.D. House and on the Appropriations Committee, and proven leadership working for our community. I think it's a winning combination for Vermillion and District 17.

I'm going to vote for Judy Clark for S.D. Senate.


Norm Herren


Dan is best choice

To the editor:

When it comes to public service and leadership, I believe one of the most important criteria is honesty and truthfulness in the conduct of a person's public office. Citizens should never be required to determine whether the statement made by any public official reflect what that official really thinks, or whether those statements are simply what that official wants the citizens to think. This is one of the reasons I support Dan Christopherson for Mayor.

I have known Dan for many years, and have worked with him in various capacities. He is honest and hardworking. Equally important, he is a consensus builder. I have seen Dan take the time to actually listen to various points of view, weigh different viewpoints, and use his sound judgment to accomplish important goals. He also believes that the actions of public officials should be done in the open so that citizens are less apt to be surprised. He respects the citizens of Vermillion, and would work hard at making sure that the rights of citizens are respected.

Equally important is what Dan is not. Dan is not disingenuous, saying one thing to the citizens while actually doing something else. As a wise man I know once said, "Every good leader should turn around occasionally and see if anybody is following." If the citizens of Vermillion are to follow the lead of their mayor, they need to know that their mayor will both listen and lead honestly. When it comes to Dan, he is a man who can be trusted in all instances, without exception. Not spin, not misleading statements, I want just the plain and simple truth. I think that's an important virtue of any true leader.

Dan's family roots are in Vermillion. His love of our community has led him to dedicate himself to an ever brighter future for Vermillion. I believe that Dan Christopherson is the best choice for mayor of Vermillion.


Frank Slagle


A clear choice

To the editor:

I am writing this letter giving my whole-hearted to support to Jim Larsen for the District 17 Republican Primary seat on June 1.

Jim and I are both veterans of the first Gulf War and we have much in common on many issues and in every day life. Jim not only supports, but also lives the core family values my wife and I cherish. Jim supports the life of the unborn child and I know he would have voted to support the bill before the South Dakota Legislature that would have prohibited most abortions in this state.

I also wish to point out that Jim is a strong supporter of the university and realizes how important USD is to the economy of Vermillion and the surrounding area. Having grown up on a farm, Jim knows what trials farmers and ranchers go through and wants to be the voice that represents District 17 on this important issue.

Jim is a small businessman here in Vermillion where he owns and operates his own business. As an ombudsman for the Small Business Association, he will listen to and represent the needs of business owners in Vermillion and throughout the rest of Clay and Turner County to promote our products.

Jim's ideas for economic development in this district far surpass any of those that I have heard from the candidates of either party. Jim is the only clear choice for the Republican seat in District 17 and I know he will represent us in Pierre as we want to be represented. If you have any questions or concerns I know Jim would be willing to discuss them with you. Vote Larsen on June 1 to make a difference for Vermillion and District 17.

Dr. Patrick Wempe


Wear seatbelts

To the editor:

Many people, especially commercial vehicle drivers, still don't take one of the simplest and most effective steps to stay safe: Buckling Up. According to a new study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, less than half of the truck drivers across America wear seatbelts.

The seatbelt study, the first of its kind to strictly focus on truck drivers, found only 48 percent of America's 11 million commercial drivers wear seatbelts. This is drastically lower than the 79 percent of passenger car drivers who buckle up.

According to the Department of Transportation, the low number of truck drivers buckling up has taken a toll. Of the 588 truck drivers killed in crashes last year, more than half were not wearing safety belts. Of the 171 drivers who were ejected from their trucks, almost 80 percent of them were not buckled up.

Sometimes the fear of getting a traffic ticket is the only reason that someone will wear a seatbelt. That's why state and local law enforcement officers across the country, including the South Dakota Highway patrol Motor Carrier Services Division, are joining the national Click It or Ticket 2004 Seat Belt Mobilization that runs from May 24 to June 6. Officers will aggressively ticket all unbelted drivers, including commercial vehicle drivers. High- visibility enforcement has proven effective in increasing safety belt use.

Bottom line: law enforcement officers would rather write someone a ticket than find that same person dead or critically injured because he or she wasn't restrained in the crash.

Wear your safety belt every trip, every time � and encourage your friends, family and fellow truck drivers to do the same. Or risk getting a ticket, especially May 24 to June 6.


Inspector Trent Heuertz

South Dakota Highway Patrol

Motor Carrier Services

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