November 3, 2008

Think globally -- act locally!

The United States is in the middle of an eroding economy – a financial crisis the likes of which we’ve not seen in three-quarters of a century. There’s been something of a national debate about a $700 billion federal bailout to save the economy (really to save the big banks and financial institutions – with only “trickle down” benefits to taxpayers, who will foot the bill). Actually, there’s been no real debate about this at all. Not even the presidential candidates have dared candor, assuming they have original thoughts on how to help resolve the crisis. There’s been no public hearing. Nothing. Nada. We’re expected to “trust” the guys who got us in to this mess to get us out.

Indifference, ignorance, and – make no mistake about it – backroom deals with little or no public scrutiny – have led us to this dire point.

As we wring our hands and worry about what will happen next, it’s time to clean house and start rebuilding confidence in government, and we should start locally. We’re within weeks of casting ballots for people and issues that will directly impact our daily lives.

That’s why I’m supporting Nyla Griffith of Deadwood to represent District 31 in the South Dakota State Senate. Her record as a small business owner, service on the Deadwood City Commission, and her many contributions to civic activities have convinced me that she is a smart choice to succeed Jerry Apa in the Senate. Nyla has declared an unswerving commitment to open government. For me, that’s a clincher.

Unless and until we have truly open government, we’re likely to condemn ourselves to the arrogance that many elected officials fall victim to after gaining office. Accountability is the key, and it comes only to the extent that we insist on knowing what our government is up to and what it's doing.

That’s as true in Deadwood and Spearfish as it is in Pierre and Washington, D.C.

A life-long South Dakotan, Nyla Griffith has taken to the streets, going door-to-door in the district, in an effort to garner support for her candidacy. Last I heard, she’d passed the 3,000 mark and is still meeting with would-be constituents at their front doors. That kind of populist campaigning is hard work, but it reflects a real commitment that I believe will serve this area well in the state legislature.

And her commitment to open government is like a breath of fresh air. I’m proud to give my support to Nyla, and I hope others will take a look at her background – and her priorities – and vote for Nyla Griffith on November 4th.

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