Sanders: Personal Politics |

Sanders: Personal Politics

My observations on certain political candidates have nothing to do with endorsing or pitting one candidate against another, they are what I have seen for myself.

No one works harder at campaigning than Dusty Johnson. Just like the other candidates for various offices, he was at the Black Hills Stock Show. What he did there went above and beyond what was expected. I had taken grandkids to a livestock judging contest at the Central States Fairgrounds, which is a venue located a couple of miles from the stock show complex. The kids were gathered for various contests from range plant identification or livestock judging to equine knowledge. Afterward the contestants, leaders and parents were treated to a burger lunch in a fairgrounds building. While I was waiting to go inside, I saw a man, small in stature, walking and talking through a group and I thought it sure looks like Dusty. But what would he be doing here?

After we all went in to eat, I saw he was indeed Dusty. He introduced himself to every one of voting age and shook hands with 4-Hers. He worked the room in perhaps 20 minutes, then was out the door. Not one to sit in a booth and wait for the people to come to him, I saw him later at the stock show, doing the same thing.

The first time I saw him in action was several years ago when he was chief of staff for a governor. He delivered a speech to a group I was in and I knew then that he would be going places.

“He introduced himself to every one of voting age and shook hands with the 4-Hers. He worked the room in perhaps 20 minutes, then was out the door.”

Shantel Krebs is a former Miss South Dakota and a good shot with her pistol. She blew the head off of a rattlesnake a few years ago. She and her husband ranch, and their livestock includes buffalo. In the reception room of her current state office hangs an impressive buffalo hide with a small sign that says she tanned the hide herself.

I’ve had more interaction with Marty Jackley than the others. Jackley grew up working on an irrigated farm. He knows more than just water runs downhill and is an expert on water law. His expertise could be important to an arid state. He was the attorney for Angostura Irrigation District when it was renewing the contract with the Bureau of Reclamation and I was making history as the first woman to serve on the district board, by default. My husband was actually on the board but was mobilized to Fort Riley, Kan., by the Army and I was asked to fill in until he returned, which turned out to be six months.

During that time, the district board and the BOR held contract negotiations. At one point Jackley and the BOR lawyer were sparring over use of a certain word for the contract. It was then it dawned on me why I like lawyerly proceedings on TV or otherwise: Words are the fuel for the practice of law and words are my life. 

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