The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ken Knuppe wants the governor's chair

Ken Knuppe is making it official by his response to my inquiry that he's running for governor. You can learn about him to some extent at his website, where he posted the issues on which he plans to base his campaign...

* Keep government simple and accessible to all people
* Strengthen the economy
* Promote small business
* Enhance profitability in agriculture
* Improve insurance options for small businesses
* Capture and utilize various forms of energy
* Ensure property tax structure is fair and effective
* Improve education funding

I asked him to expound on these issues as a way to introduce himself to Decorous Forumpians. Here's what he sent me:

Thanks for the inquiry. The issues that are listed above are goals of mine. However, beyond one issue in particular, I believe in a government structure that is prepared to handle a multitude of topics. Government is about people (don't think I have to remind you about ”government of the people, by the people, and for the people"). To solve the problems of today and the unknown problems of tomorrow, our state must get the right people involved in finding solutions. There are good people in our state government, but there are also those who are only looking out for themselves.

Government is not here to control our lives. But in order to function as a society, we do need laws that all citizens abide by. Plus, when an issue arises that is best handled by government, we need leadership that will bring people together in an open, objective manner, to come up with solutions. Those solutions don’t have to be difficult either. They need to be fairly straightforward and easy to understand. That way, there is less chance of mistakes or fraud - greater transparency.

A strong economy that provides opportunities to all South Dakotans is based on established and productive businesses. It is encouraging to talk about bringing in new businesses to our towns and cities, but we mustn’t forget about the businesses that are already established, and are providing income in the area.

For example, agriculture is still the number one industry in this state. The dollars and cents that those agricultural workers make is money that is spent in their local towns and cities. This backbone of South Dakota economic activity encourages people to start small businesses, and in turn, strengthen our economy.

I know from personal experience that health insurance for owners of small businesses is treated differently than insurance for someone with an employer. And not just being more expensive, either. My wife and I have tried to get health insurance as a small business, and there were riders attached. Monica (my wife) got a teaching job where the health insurance plan was with the same company we had been working with previously, and the company dropped the riders because now “we (or Monica, anyways) had an employer”. Insurance coverage should be the same, whether a person owns his/her own business, or whether he/she has an employer.

There are several things going on right now involving alternate forms of energy, including ethanol, wind energy, and solar energy. Although none of these are the “silver bullet” to our energy problems, they still can be used to cut back on our current energy use. These forms might not be cost effective yet, but as we continue to experiment, new ideas will develop. Plus, we still need to make sure our current forms of energy are being used in an efficient and cost effective way.

Property tax is something that comes up every year, and other than increased complexity, it doesn’t’ seem like anything really gets done. Personally, I’d like to see our tax system simplified. If we can get people involved who can look at the situation in an objective manner, we can provide a simplified solution. In addition, nobody wants to see their taxes raised, especially for no reason other than to increase the size of government.

As for improving education funding, I would like to see more of our current funding go directly to the classrooms. Whether it be for books, lab supplies, or teacher pay, this money should be providing more opportunity for each individual student. Additionally, there needs to be more flexibility on how school systems want to spend the money that is allotted to them. Not every school has the same needs, and local communities know what they need better than a few folks in Pierre. Above all, I'd like to engage discussions with actual teachers across the state to ask them what does work and what doesn’t work. People with hands on experience are usually where I find the best advice to those kinds of questions.

There is a quote by Teddy Roosevelt – “The government is us - we are the government, you and I”. Very simple statement, yet it speaks volumes. We not only need to remind ourselves of this every once in awhile, we also need to keep reminding those in Pierre as well.

All the best, Ken

Well, does that answer any questions, Forumpians? I think I have one or two follow-ups, myself.


Bill Fleming said...

Forumpians? Hilarious. Love it.

Michael Sanborn said...


I think he addressed your questions. But, he needs an editor.

I appreciate him taking the time to expound on his bullet points for the souls who spend their early mornings here.

Thanks, Ken.

Now that you've told us what is important and why it's important. Perhaps you could tell us how you intend to accomplish your bullet points.

Bob Newland said...

Well, I'll hire on as Knuppe's press secretary if he wants one. Known felons are de rigeur in campaigns these days.

I believe I could aid Mr. Knuppe in explaining how he could accomplish some of his goals, but I won't do it for free. I am not that much of an idealist.