Guest Commentary: State government must be transparent

One of South Dakota's greatest governors was Peter Norbeck.  Governor Norbeck was instrumental in the establishment of Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park.  He built himself a log cabin retreat in the state park, which he named "Valhalla," a name taken from Norse mythology.  The cabin came to be owned by the state, and for the past several decades it has been used as a retreat for the governor and other state officials.

I want more South Dakotans to be able to enjoy this historic treasure, and late last month I adopted a new policy for the use of Valhalla.  The cabin will be open for public tours on the weekend of May 20-22, which is the free admittance weekend in the state parks.  Tours will also be available one morning a week during the summer.  In addition, Valhalla will be made available for daytime rental on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, beginning in May and going until September.  I hope that South Dakotans will use this opportunity to enjoy this landmark.

I will also be releasing, upon request, a list of those guests who have rented Valhalla since I took office.  Every guest, including me, will pay $200 a day to use the cabin.

Likewise, I will be releasing guest lists this year for the Governor's Golf Classic, the Governor's Pheasant Hunt, and the Buffalo Roundup, excluding only confidential business prospects.  These events are used to showcase South Dakota to business owners who are considering expansion in South Dakota.  Our in-state guests should be proud to be invited to help welcome these business owners to South Dakota.

I value the trust that South Dakota voters have placed in me, and I hope these acts will help make state government more open and transparent.

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