The South Dakota Libertarian Party, with which I have been involved since 1992, held its 11th Biennial convention on August 9. Emmett Reistroffer and I kinda co-moderated it. In my moments of audience enrapturement I let it be known that I was cynical about politics, along with everyone who was there, including me.
That said, I would say that most people there thought the experience was entertaining, suspenseful, and worth the $30 they paid for the privilege of having a louder-than-normal voice in placing a nominee on a ballot for a statewide elective office.
First we held intra-party elections. Emmett Reistroffer, Sioux Falls, was elected SDLP chairman, and will be the face of the SDLP for a while.
After that, we discussed a number of options to better present ourselves to South Dakotans than simply adopting the national LP platform as our platform.
Then we had some speakers. Former US Senator Larry Pressler led off. Pressler is on the ballot in November as an Independent candidate for US Senator. My analyses on the speakers' messages will be for more based on my observation of their general impression rather than the content of their speeches, which I was not able to concentrate on while I was photographing them and trying to keep to a timetable.
Pressler directed his speech at the crowd in attendance, speaking about the importance of oppositional groups in a dynamic society. I heard him refer to his experience several times on several different aspects of policy. He presented a rather more thoughtful image of himself than I saw in him 30 years ago, but then, I've changed, too. His wardrobe, consisting of a rumpled blue-stripe seersucker suit, along with his general carriage, suggested to me a slightly thickened Hal Holbrook, and that ain't bad. I saw little, if any, hubris. I saw a man who thinks, probably correctly, that he has better ideas than the folks whose peerage he seeks again. I may vote for Pressler this fall.
After Pressler, Independent candidate for governor, Mike Myers, spoke. Myers has a wonderful speaking voice, which he seems not quite sure of how to use. He seems sincere and trustworthy, but his message, largely about the control of medical services by a few providers, already difficult to convey to us the consumers, kinda gets lost in the mix of playfulness, seriousness, and populism.
Myers was followed by Eric Leggett, an Independent candidate for SoDak House of Reps from Dist 15, mostly downtown Sioux Falls. Leggett sure looks and acts like a young legislator. His delivery is sincere, just impassioned enough to let you know he has the passion, but also has a handle on it. He's not bashful about saying he wants to end the drug war, and I doubt he's ever seen a drug except from across the street. I also had a few moments of interaction with his wife (no dummy) and son, who entertained the crowd until he got tired of it.
After the outside speakers, each of whom was involved in a race not contested by a Libertarian, of course, we turned to nomination of folks to the "constitutional offices," Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor, Treasurer, Commissioner of School and Public Lands, and Public Utilities Commissioner.
Emmett Reistroffer was nominated for and will be on the ballot in November for the office of Secretary of State.
In the photo above, Emmett moderates the half-hour forum during which Attorney General candidates Haber and Evans project their views on the office.
Kurt Evans and Chad Haber each presented a character wanting to achieve transparency in an office characterized by thuggery and and whimsical exercise of power. Haber won the nomination by virtue of having invited, and gained, more people in attendance having met the requirements to vote at the convention, than did Evans. If you're reading this, you're aware of the current prosecution of Haber's wife, Annette Bosworth, and of the allegations against Haber himself. What I saw at the convention was two young (to me) men whom each conducted himself well, and one won in a political move I can't fault. He inspired more people to show up and vote for him than did his opponent.
The next six pictures are of, first, Kurt Evans, then of Chad Haber, during the course of their debate.
The SDLP convention was covered by some media representatives, including David Montgomery from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader,
Leo Kallis, far right (but whose face is still visible), publisher of a blog whose name I hope someone will supply since I can't remember. And Lee Stanahan, far left, who publishes the Dakota Reporter.
And Todd Epp, Northern Plains News/KSOO. The couple in the background are Doug and Candice Boes, whom have undergone huge heartache in having foster children taken by tribal court and awarded to relatives who indisputably abuse the children.
Ken Santema, a businessman from Aberdeen, was nominated for Treasurer. Ryan Gaddy, Sioux Falls musician, promoter and videographer, got the Public Utilities Commissioner nod. John English, a Sioux Falls landscape designer is on the ballot as the Libertarian nominee for Commissioner of School and Public lands.
I have a picture of Santema, directly below. I didn't get an individual shot of Gaddy or English.
However, I got one of the six Libertarian nominees for the constitutional offices. L-R, Emmett Reistroffer, Kurt Evans, Ryan Gaddy, John English, Chad Haber, and Ken Santema.
I'll close with a photo that may encapsulate much about the day.