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

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Welcome to the Forum Mr. Howie.

Wanna look Gordo straight in the eye?
Click his picture for a closer encounter.

Nice to see Senator Gordon Howie pop in unexpectedly earlier today, huh? I say "unexpectedly" because I've been getting ready to start an interview with him here, had the first installment ready, and then he waded into Mike Sanborn's post below with a kindly suggestion that Mike subsequently honored. (see the Money vs Life post below.) Glad we got that straightened out, guys. ANYWAY, here's the first installment of my interview with Senator Howie:

So, Gordon, you and I have known each other since way back in the Shakey's Pizza days when my company did some ads for you.

We've always gotten along pretty well, probably because we both have a pretty good sense of humor.

For instance, did you notice that I've already stolen your joke about the guy trying to have a positive attitude, but doesn't think it'll really do him any good?

I'm sorry, I should have given you credit for it, but I didn't know if it was ok with you if I told people we'd been talking about politics and the governors race together lately.

Do you want to fill the "Forumpians"in about that a little to get the ball rolling?

You said you wanted to make a video or something, right?


As I have met with, talked and listened to the candidates who are currently running for Governor, I have been considering what South Dakota needs. Some people have encouraged me to run. While I do not have plans in place for a campaign, I have not ruled it out at this point in time. I believe the most important thing is not WHO sits in that chair, but rather what they will do, and what they are committed to.

Our next Governor, and our State Legislators must be willing to draw a line in the sand, and protect State's rights. Let's have some discussion about that issue so we see where all of these candidates stand. We need "bottom up" government, not "top down". The government that works best is the one closest to the people. Federal control does not make for good government. From government run health care to Federally mandated animal ID programs, we have to say NO. That will take a State leadership team with real conviction.

Real estate taxes are too high, and going higher. We need someone committed to finding a better way to fund K-12 Education, other than on the backs of property owners. School funding continues to be problematic every year. We need to create an environment of excellence and effeciency through competition. School vouchers would allow parents to choose the best schools and create incentives for new and better solutions to educate our kids.

We need to refuse to spend more on next years State budget than we spent in our last one. If revenues continue to fall, we may need to consider accross the board cuts to reduce spending even further. The attempts during last session to pass "revenue enhancers" was little more than an all out attempt to raise taxes on those who were least likely to mount an effective defense. That is not the way to run state government. We need to cut spending, not raise taxes.

Thanks for the opportunity to talk with you. There is a lot more to discuss, but I didn't want to dump the whole load on you at one time!

Thanks Gordon!

So Forumpians (love that word, Bob, did you coin it?)

...any questions for Senator Howie before we continue?


Bob Newland said...

Mr. Howie: Who owns me? Do I own me? Does the state own me? Is there a public/private "partnership" of ownership? And what does "ownership" of me entail?

You may answer the question by inserting "you" instead of "me" if you'd like.

Lisa said...

Okay so politics isn't really my thing, so I have no idea why I am here. But at the risk of being completely OT, (and it doesn't hurt your SEO rankings to have more comments on your blog) :-) I will say that I bought some terrific bison meat from Gordon last year. Still working through the last of it! Thanks Gordon!

Michael Sanborn said...

Welcome again Mr. Howie. Glad to see you join the discussion.

We disagree on several issues, but for the most part, I'm a less government is better government fellow.

Michael Sanborn said...

Welcome to the Decorum Forum Tavern, Lisa!

Pull up a bar stool, swap some lies and hopefully learn to have politics become "your thing."

Bill Fleming said...

Well, let's get this out on the table right away, ok Gordon?

Bob, can't talk about this right now, so I will.

I saw a news feature on some Oakland California merchants, retailers providing medical cannabis to people who have a doc's pink slip to have it.

The news was, they were voluntarily offering to have a special city sales tax imposed on their merchandise. Said the city could probably use the money in these tough times.

Now, this ain't no gol-dang Californee out here, I know, Mr. Howie, but it did seem like a pretty civilized attitude on the merchants' part to me.

Didn't hear if the city elders were willing to go along with the idea or not.

I suppose they might have to have a joint meeting of opposing aldermen or something. (...ok, ok old lame joke...)

Anyway, Gordon, what's your position on the medical marijuana issue?

Are you open to discussion about it?

Is there a possible new revenue stream for state and local government there?

And on a related matter, how do you feel about the smoking ban.

I'm sorry but I didn't track your vote on that when it went through.

Do you want to see that issue on the ballot? And will you tell us how you'll be voting (as a private citizen, not a State Senator) if or when it it does get referred to the people?

Neal said...

It wouldn't be smart for Sen. Howie to answer your questions about medical marijuana, Bill. Why? Because he would get thrashed in any debate on the topic. Not personally, mind you. I mean in terms of merit and substance.

No true limited government, state's rights conservative can oppose medical marijuana and remain consistent with their purported political philosophy.

Gordon Howie said...

I don't often get accused of doing the "smart" thing, so in keeping with that tradition... I'll give you a shot on the legalization of marijuana. I don't support it, and not interested in much conversation about it. So, Bill, does that take it off the table or put it on the table? I suppose it will create a little buzz....
Thanks for the input on the Bison, Lisa. We enjoy it too, but there still isn't anything quite like a beef ribeye!!
I didn't (and don't) support the smoking ban. I personally prefer an establishment that is smoke free, but I support the right of a business owner to make that decision and his customers ability to choose whether or not to patronize the business. (cannabis supporters will have fun with this, won't they?)
I have heard all the arguments about health, some of which are very compelling, but at the end of the day you have to make a decision. I have made mine. There really isn't a lot more I can say about it that you all haven't heard.

Bill Fleming said...

Yeah, there's a philosophical contradiction there Gordon, libertarian on the one hand and authoritarian on the other, but if you don't want to go into it deeper, that's ok with me, mon.

I'm sure you must have other, bigger fish to fry.

Besides, the people themselves will sort this one out in good time, right?

That's why we have I & R in SD, right?

By the way, being a Senator in a representative government, how DO you feel about I & R?

Neal said...

Sen. Howie said,
"I'll give you a shot on the legalization of marijuana."

Sweet. Thanks. This won't take much time at all.

A Comprehensive List of Reasons Marijuana Should be Legal for Medical Purposes

1. Marijuana has therapeutic value to some people who suffer from certain debilitating medical conditions.

The End

Thanks for coming. I'll be here all week.

Les said...

As a supporter of legalizing marijuana, (not a supporter of smoking it, I drink very little as well) I wish people would get past the knee jerk (South Dakota roper vs doper) and look at the damage and costs to our society over the last 40 years. Medical is a no brainer. The rest should be, as we look for tax revenue and ways to evaporate the strangle hold the cartel's have on all those they crush daily. I would rather have a little THC on my hand's than the blood of so many.

Bill Fleming said...

Well said, Les. Well said indeed.

caheidelberger said...

States' rights? Limited federal government? There's an argument that will go nowhere in a state that gets $1.53 back from Washington for every $1 it pays in federal taxes.

And vouchers: how will vouchers materially improve on the current open enrollment system? And how will vouchers bring choice for folks who live in counties with just one school system (Harding, Miner, etc.)?

Mr. Howie might want to revamp his talking points so they actually apply to the state he serves.