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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mayor Boke Fighting Booth Hatchery Closure; Noem Strangely Noncommital

Spearfish Mayor Dana Boke understands that we need to save the D.C Booth Fish Hatchery:
“This is part of our culture,” Boke said. “My 10-year-old daughter read about it in the paper, and it brought her to tears. That’s how all the kids feel. There are memories all across South Dakota and beyond of this place and the family memories it’s created over time. It’s tied to who we are.

“We need to champion the cause and assist in any way we can to get this thing turned around,” the mayor added [Tom Griffith, "Spearfish's D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery Helped Change South Dakota History," Rapid City Journal, 2013.08.25].
Senator Tim Johnson seems to get it, too:
“I am very disturbed about the rumors that the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery in Spearfish might be closed by the Fish & Wildlife Service,” Johnson said. “The D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery is a tremendous asset of the Black Hills. I have fought hard for funding to invest in the restoration of the hatchery and to make it an informational and educational showcase of fish hatchery operations in the Black Hills and the U.S.” [Griffith, 2013.08.25]
I think Congresswoman Kristi Noem gets it, although as usual, Noem's aloof, self-absorbed talking-point detachment makes it hard to tell. Rep. Noem told a packed Spearfish town hall Friday that she'll "push to get more information and ask the right questions." But after hearing such vociferous feedback from so many Spearfish residents and even visiting the hatchery herself Friday, our Congresswoman's only social media reaction to the town hall is to thank "interested parties" for the "info" and to post photos of herself while cheering the great turnout at "my townhall".

Kristi, get with the program. You go to a town hall during working hours in Spearfish. Concerned citizens pack the hall to express concern about an obviously bad decision from Washington that will kill jobs and hurt tourism and tax revenue. The mayor's daughter is in tears! Politically, the D.C. Booth Hatchery issue is a no-brainer. You tell those eager constituents on the spot, "The Hatchery rocks. It stays open. I'll call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and read them the riot act." You use your social media presence to send the message immediately that you listened and you're doggedly on the case. "Thx for the info" doesn't rally the troops or make a memorable impression on voters who want to know you'll fight for them and for the Hatchery.

I understand Rep. Noem may have difficulty getting passionate about an issue that doesn't appear in the weekly briefing points from Speaker Boehner. But South Dakota's lone Representative needs to get off script and join Mayor Boke in representing her constituents and fighting to save the D.C. Booth Hatchery from the thoughtless Washington budget axe.


  1. Hence the Republicans today Cory. These are the kind of things that are going to be cut if the Republicans have their way. This is why if the media won't ask the tough questions the democrats have to.
    If you listen to the Republican candidates for Senate they talk in generalities and don't offer any details to what they want to cut. We have to keep asking for specifics.

  2. Right on, Owen! The Hatchery is an excellent issue on which to make that point. We aren't talking about "big government" as some abstraction that we can slogan away as evil or irrelevant. We're talking about a real institution, in a real town, employing real people, generating real economic activity, and doing real, tangible good in its community. Can USFWS or anyone else make the case that the money spent on the Hatchery can be better spent on something else?

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  5. Roger Elgersma8/26/2013 4:52 PM

    I do not know a thing about this hatchery. Maybe it is needed maybe not. But politics has to be more than not in my back yard or I do want it in my back yard. How many hatcheries are owned by the government and are they all needed. That is reasonable questions. I have not seen either proof that it is needed or efficient use of money or that it is not. We all want government jobs in our back yard. And the nuclear waste dump in someone elses back yard.
    The right questions need to be asked but not as a smoke screen to not saying that it is really not needed. Answers need to be found, not just questions asked.


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