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What can one say? The Legislature’s in session

March 2, 2010

It’s a day of bad news and frustration.  My current woe is learning about what happened to John Cooper’s nomination for a commissioner’s slot on South Dakota’s Game, Fish & Parks Commission this morning.  The crazies came out of the woodwork to testify against him in the Ag Committee, which in turn voted a “Do Not Approve” endorsement before sending it along to the full Senate.  I know Coop and I believe he’d be the best thing for that commission since sliced bread.

Rather than emote, I’m going to copy out today’s Badlands Blue blog post for you.  It captures everything I want to say, and without resorting to the blue-language I favor in these situations:

Mar 2, 2010

Legislature’s War on Competence continues

State Capitol veteran reporter Bob Mercer posted this piece of dreadful news on his Pure Pierre Politics blog. The Senate Ag Committee voted 7-2 to oppose former Game, Fish & Parks Secretary John Cooper from being seated on the S.D. Game, Fish & Parks Commission. We at the Blue are sickened that three of those seven votes came from Democrats while the only two votes opposing the resolution were Republicans Sen. Cooper Garnos of Presho and Sen. Mike Velhe of Mitchell. Next to passage of the absurd HCR 1009 blaming global warming on astrology, failing to seat Cooper on the GF&P Commission would be the dumbest thing the 2010 S.D. Legislature has done … so far. Cooper might have pissed off some selfish people in his time, but that’s because he was a department secretary and a federal law enforcement agent who put the resource ahead of the dollar signs. This doesn’t make Cooper a conservative, liberal, Democrat or Republican … it makes him highly competent. And the dumb rubes in Pierre don’t like those kinda people.

What the shallow seven on Ag don’t want to realize is the GF&P Commission, by law, is designed to be balanced so that no demographic (ag vs rural, Dem vs Rep, East River vs West River, etc.) gets overwhelming control. The commission has a history of seeking competent, fair and conscientious people to serve the public. The commission’s ethic is placing the conservation of wildlife resources above the quick buck artists who think they have a constitutional right to make a lot of money and exclude the public from quality hunting and fishing experiences. As secretary, Cooper was a loyal, assertive servant to the ethic of the department and the commission. Rounds’ choice to have Cooper sit on the commission to replace Brookings former mayor Spencer Hawley was a classy pick. You may recall that Brookings is also home to another true conservationist who served on the Commission, Tom Yseth.

The issue of allowing Cooper on the GF&P Commission goes forward to a vote by the entire state senate. Hopefully, the entire Senate won’t disgrace itself as badly as seven dummies on Senate Ag did today.

[If you’re inclined toward western-progressive-small-state-politics, you might want to check Badlands Blue out occasionally.  Catch it at ]
— Margadant
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