The Rapid City Chamber of Commerce hosts four local legislative crackerbarrels during South Dakota’s legislative session. The first of those is coming up fast, on Saturday, January 21, from 9-11 a.m. at the Classroom Building at the School of Mines.
For those of you who have never attended one, the legislators from Districts 29, 32, 33, 34 and 35 (two representatives and one senator from each district), sit across the front of the room, and the audience members have, in the past, been able to ask them questions directly via a microphone held by a Chamber moderator. Sadly, no followup has ever been allowed.
This year, the Chamber is proposing a change in format that will require audience members to write their questions on cards and submit them to the Chamber before the beginning of or during the event. That gives the Chamber of Commerce, in effect, complete control of the questions asked. And since the Republicans hold all 15 of the legislative seats represented, Democrats and Independents will effectively be cut out of the proceedings — unless the Chamber decides to ask a question from one of them. And given the agenda of the Chamber, how likely is that?
Please call the Legislative Representative at the Chamber, Lynn Kendall, at 718-8480, (or if you prefer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org), or the Executive Director, Linda Rabe (pronounced Ray-bee), at 718-8466, (email: email@example.com) and ask them to allow questions directly from the audience again. You might also suggest that a followup question be allowed. Why? All 15 of the legislators are Republicans, and occasionally they say things from the podium that may be incorrect or that deserve a rebuttal. Also, Republicans are NOT the majority party in Pennington County. If you look at current registration figures, the remaining voters (Democrats, Independents and other minor parties) comprise more than 51% of voters in the county. The crackerbarrels should be community conversations about what’s important to ALL the voters, not just to the Republicans on the dais and the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce.
Help us to change the way these crackerbarrels are conducted.
Call the Chamber today!