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STATEMENT FROM KEVIN WEILAND
March 24, 2010

RAPID CITY, S.D. -- I have authorized friends and supporters across the state to circulate petitions on my behalf as an independent-Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the June Democratic primary.

It's official. Well, almost - Weiland needs 1,213 signatures by the end of the day Tuesday to get on the ballot, but petition drives are in progress across the state. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, the Blue Dog Democratic Representative who voted against Obama's Healthcare Reform because it

doesn't do enough to contain costs and was maneuvered through Congress in a way that stoked partisan resentment

has a primary opponent.  

South Dakota progressives are caught between a rock and a hard place.  Despite the conservative leanings of their red state, two of their three Congressional delegates are Democrats.  This may say more about the ability of Democrats to get pork for the state, than the political leanings of their constituents, but is a fact. Democratic leadership though, is a two-edged sword in this state.  Someone like Daschle can be voted out because he drives a Jag and therefore has lost touch with "real" South Dakotans.

So when the state Democrats find a promising candidate it's a proud moment.  Stephanie Herseth was such a candidate.  The daughter of an accomplished state legislator and the granddaughter of a governor and secretary of state, she had fine credentials for a SD Democrat. She was lauded here at Kos

Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, founder of the influential Daily Kos blog, said the netroots played a major role in the special election of... Stephanie Herseth (D-S.D.) in 2004... Kos said the progressive online community raised... $100,000 for Herseth... Russ Levsen, communications director for Herseth, confirmed that the netroots played a major part in her special election victory. We definitely benefited from the activism, the support online ... and a lot of people coming out to South Dakota because they believed in Stephanie's campaign," Levsen said.

And she is, no doubt about it, a better choice for progressives than any of her Republican opponents (Chris Nelson, Blake Curd, Kristi Noem.) But voting against her base and for her misinformed constituents because she is facing Tea party candidates this fall has led to a serious fallout. Opposing the President on health care was a huge disappointment.  And the perceived opposition of South Dakotans is subject to change, as we have seen.

So do we keep our support with her because she is the incumbent and therefore has the best chance to keep a Democratic seat in Congress? This is a seat, that if lost to Republicans this fall, would hurt progressives.  And yet, when are SD progressives allowed to say, enough!  When can they have a representative who supports Democratic policy?  Why can't progressives from the state of George McGovern elect a progressive? Or at least why can't they try?  

Assuming Dr. Weiland gets the necessary signatures in time,

Herseth Sandlin will face her first  primary opponent since 2002, when she topped a field of four Democrats, including second-place finisher Rick Weiland, Kevin's brother.

Weiland's announcement:  <</p>

I enter this race for Congress because I believe I can offer a different kind of leadership.  

Leadership that will challenge the status quo in Washington.

Leadership that will be honest and bold.

Leadership that puts South Dakota first; not my own re-election.

We are different than we were two years ago, as a nation and as a state.  Small business is scared to death because of the credit freeze and the slowdown in the economy.

Working folks are scared to death because of layoffs and the loss of consumer credit, and the lack of savings.  Farmers are scared to death not only because of the economic slowdown, but because of rising cost of agricultural production, the fluctuation of prices and the volatility in the agricultural markets.

Unions are scared for obvious reasons as well as teachers who depend on public funding, which is not doing very well.  

In other words, there is fear and uncertainty everywhere.  When you are afraid and uncertain, who do you look to?  Someone strong and confident, with a plan and a purpose, someone proactive, not someone reactive.

It’s no secret that Washington is broken.  It’s no secret that we have to get out of this never-ending cycle of doom.

For too long, the influence of big money in politics and the power of corporate lobbyists have produced public policies that favor the powerful.  We have a Congress that can’t get things done, deficits that are hard to imagine and political theater that works to advance the needs of politicians.

The political parties are at war with each other like never before.  Even moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans rarely work together.

The winners are the politicians, the lobbyists, the donors and the big corporations.  

The losers are the American people.

I want the American people to be on top again.

Dr. Weiland, a graduate of the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota trained in internal medicine at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin.  He is the  author of The Dakota Diet

In 2007, Beau LeBeau had had enough. In high school he had been one of the most celebrated athletes in the history of Pine Ridge, but at age 36 he was over-weight, diabetic, and angry at the world. That's when he made the decision to hook up with Dr. Kevin Weiland, a Rapid City physician, and author of The Dakota Diet, in search of the traditional Lakota buffalo diet, and a path to restored health.  Beau's journey was captured in the movie Good Meat, produced by Larry Pourier and Sam Hurst for Native American Public Television.

There is widespread concern in SD that "Weiland will not beat Herseth Sandlin. But the question is: Can he wound her?" Jon Schaff, , a professor of political science at Northern State University in Aberdeen.

Dr. Weiland was essentially unknown before this announcement. But he has a long record of advocacy and public service as a physician and author/speaker on public health issues.  His brother's experience running against John Thune and Herseth Sandlin in the past are an asset.  He may be unknown, but he is not a nobody.  And his campaign is getting help from Steve Hildebrand

a nationally recognized political strategist who helped President Barack Obama claim the White House in 2008. Hildebrand, a Mitchell native who now lives in Sioux Falls, threatened to challenge Herseth Sandlin himself if her "no" vote on health care reform scuttled the bill. It barely passed the House on Sunday without Herseth Sandlin's help, and Hildebrand said on Monday that he wouldn't run.
But by Wednesday, Weiland was preparing an official campaign announcement, and Hildebrand was helping set up media contacts and the petition drive.

Previous diary - re Hildebrand
Previous diary - re Weiland

Petition information here and here

Website here.

He hopes to raise $250,000 before the June 8 primary, which would still put him more than $100,000 behind what Herseth Sandlin had to begin the year.

And Photo here

If Weiland makes it to the primary ... (0+ / 0-)
...please give us a photo of him in your next diary. ;)
I refuse to accept "no can do" as a proper slogan for progressives.

by Meteor Blades on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 06:41:10 PM CDT

Originally posted to meralda on Fri Mar 26, 2010 at 10:22 AM PDT.

Poll

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13%5 votes
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75%28 votes

| 37 votes | Vote | Results

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