Dennis Daugaard – A Mid-Term Snapshot

In 2010, Dennis Daugaard was elected Governor of South Dakota by convincing folks that he was a fiscal and social conservative, that he was opposed to ObamaCare and that he was skilled in ways of economic development.


Nearing the midpoint of his tenure we now see quite a different profile of his accomplishments to date.


Despite his claim of fiscal conservativism, taxes have increased by $100 million dollars per year on his watch. Hardly the actions of a fiscal conservative in a recessionary environment.


Despite the fact that South Dakota has joined in the suit challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare and Governor Daugaard’s repeated statements that he is opposed to ObamaCare, his administration has asked for, and received, $6.8 million dollars to set up the healthcare exchanges that are integral to the implementation of ObamaCare in South Dakota. In so doing, he has actively instituted the mechanism to administer ObamaCare in South Dakota, not only contradicting his public statements but also creating a crisis of public trust. Moreover, in the 2012 legislative session Governor Daugaard sent his legion of state (taxpayer paid) lobbyists to defeat any proposed legislation that would hinder, impede or stop the establishment of healthcare exchanges.  Hardly the actions of a governor opposed to ObamaCare.


In the arena of economic growth and development, the Daugaard administration has awarded a $5 million dollar contract to Manpower of Minnesota to recruit 1000 skilled workers to come to South Dakota. A group of recruiting firms in South Dakota have filed suit in Pierre alleging that they were not advised of the request for bids. The courts will decide the legality, but the notion that the state should spend $5 million dollars to recruit 1000 workers seems frivilous and unnecessary, especially to an out of state vendor. Hardly the action of a solid plan for economic development.


In the 2012 Legislative session, Governor Daugaard also ushered through a bill to address education reform which involves controversial incentives for teachers. The law is short on details and long on uncertainty and unpopularity which may result in a ballot issue in November.


Finally, Governor Daugaard invested his political capital by endorsing 5 Senatorial candidates in the recent GOP primary. Breaking with tradition and trying to influence the people’s choice of legislative candidates didn’t go well for the governor as he lost 3 out of the 5 races. Moreover, some of the candidates he endorsed could hardly be described as fiscally or socially conservative.


The above review leads me to believe that if Governor Daugaard continues on the path of accomplishment he has followed thus far, that he will likely find himself in a primary battle of his own in 2014, should he decide to run for re-election. 


***Ed Randazzo, is a nationally syndicated author. He has been a conservative activist and consultant for over 30 years and is currently the Chief News Editor of Life and Liberty Media and Co-Producer of Liberty Today, a weekly television program seen on cable systems in most of South Dakota***


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