I generally don't like to give letters from the campaigns much space, but the following statement from Steve Jarding, Scott Heidepriem's campaign manager, gives a pretty straightforward assessment of the damage done under Mike Rounds's watch. Can we expect more of the same from a Governor Daugaard? Do you really want to take that chance?
Of all the misplaced priorities of the Rounds\Daugaard Administration, perhaps none is as alarming and inexplicable than their legacy with regard to our children. From the time Mike Rounds and Dennis Daugaard took office in 2003 through 2008 (before the national recession took hold) child poverty in South Dakota rose over 20 percent—we know it has continued to rise since then and likely has risen dramatically—official numbers for 2009 are not in yet. On top of this, South Dakota leads the nation in percentage of working moms and in the percentage of wage earners who hold multiple jobs. Many of these workers have no choice. They are trying to make ends meet with little support from Pierre.
One area of support for these children, these moms and these parents would have come in the form of the Birth to Three program. But Mike Rounds and Dennis Daugaard inexplicably did not support this program. Nor did they support the Pre-K program in South Dakota. Yet, literally every empirical study shows that these programs are arguably the best investment a state can make. Kids who have access to Birth to Three and Pre-K programs stay in school, get better grades, are healthier, are less likely to get in trouble, graduate in higher numbers, make a better living—the list goes on and on. But Mike Rounds and Dennis Daugaard do not support them—but they did support giving $38 million to TransCanada to build an oil pipeline they were building anyway. But they won't sell one of their taxpayer funded airplanes. But they won't give up their taxpayer funded vacation house in Custer State Park. But they will give their 19 top executive staff a $533,000 pay raise (of which Dennis Daugaard collected $63,000 of it back into his campaign coffers), and they will raid federal funds given to South Dakota for education and the poor, sticking the money into the general fund to spend covering up their debt -- all while our child poverty rate skyrockets.
We have to take South Dakota back. The lives of thousands of South Dakota's children are depending on it. Literally [links mine; text from Steve Jarding, campaign e-mail, 2010.10.12].
Would anyone care to point out which of Team Heidepriem's arguments here are wrong... or why you'd be willing to take four more years of this kid-unfriendly governing from a Daugaard Administration?