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More Candidates to Face Off in South Dakota Primary

RAPID CITY, S.D. ñ South Dakota will hold primary elections June 6, and for the first time ever there will be nine American Indian candidates vying for seats in the state Legislature.

Two incumbents, state Sen. Theresa Two Bulls, Oglala, and state Rep. Thomas Van Norman, Cheyenne River Sioux, will run unopposed in the primary.

A new district split that was created as the result of a voting rights lawsuit does not have an American Indian candidate. Organizers said they tried to find someone to run, but time was against them. The district was split to allow American Indian candidates a better chance at electing a preferred candidate.

Two tribal members, Charon Asetoyer and Faith Spotted Eagle, are running in one district. Both will face a primary challenge. Rep. Jim Bradford, Pine Ridge, who now serves in the House, will have opposition in the primary.

Maxine Broken Nose, Pine Ridge, is a candidate for the state House and will have primary opposition. She did not respond to inquiries for this article.

In Rapid City, Gary Loudner, Crow Creek Dakota, a perennial candidate for the House, faces a primary. Paula Long Fox, Rosebud Sicangu, is a counselor at a Rapid City middle school and is entering the political arena for the first time.

An interesting situation is unfolding in the split district. Van Norman is the incumbent House member in one portion of the district; and his brother, Steve Emery, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, is running in the primary for state Senate in District 28.

Emery is the attorney who filed the complaint that led to the district was split eight years ago. At that time another brother, Mark Van Norman, current executive director of the National Indian Gaming Association, ran and was defeated for the House seat.

Thomas Van Norman subsequently ran and has held the seat ever since.

Spotted Eagle said she was running on five priority areas: educational equity, the environment, youth, economic development, personal responsibility and choice.

More women have entered races for the state Legislature than ever before. Each lists treatment of women or family values as one reason for running.

Spotted Eagle opened her news release with the sentence: ìI am running for the South Dakota state Legislature based on my concerns that the [past] legislative actions are anti-family.î

ìI know the whole nation is watching how we handle these issues,î she said.

Spotted Eagle also listed alternative energy resources and the development of wind energy as a priority. From the perspective of an experienced educator, Spotted Eagle favors a move to a different method of teaching as opposed to the No Child Left Behind model, which she said was punitive and causes stress for educators.

ìOur state has an archaic approach to clinging to a minimum wage of $5.15 per hour,î she said. ìMany people are working two jobs to keep afloat, leaving little time for families.î

Spotted Eagle is also a businesswoman. She owns a gift and art gallery, and she supports methods to strengthen small, rural business ventures.

ìI am not a raving pro-

abortion activist, but rather I am a raving pro-family advocate ñ which means I firmly believe that the choice for an abortion is a very personal, intimate, family decision,î she said.

Spotted Eagle is now executive director of the Braveheart Society and youth mentoring organization. ìMy first love is youth. Iím into mentoring youth, I do a lot of training and speaking and motivating youth,î she said.

Long Fox is running in Rapid City, which boasts a very large urban Indian population; however, the district in which she is running is

predominantly non-Indian.

Long Fox, a counselor at North Middle School, has developed and supported many American Indian traditions there. North Middle is in the heart of the majority of American Indian population in the city.

ìThe bulk of my time has been devoted to helping families and children. As a representative, I hope to be able to use the same problem-solving skills that I have developed in the service of individuals and our community,î she said in a prepared statement.

Long Fox listed the issues that require immediate attention: education for all students, health care for the underinsured and support for veterans.

She said public education funding and race relations are important in the building of a community to attract high-end businesses and clean economic growth.

ìThis would help in raising the standard of living for many of our children,î she said. ìMy dream is to help pull all people together to support each other as a community.î

Bruce Whalen, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the American Indian liaison for the state Republican Party, will oppose Rep. Stephanie Herseth in the November elections. Whalen and Herseth are not challenged in

the primary.

RAPID CITY, S.D. ñ South Dakota will hold primary elections June 6, and for the first time ever there will be nine American Indian candidates vying for seats in the state Legislature.Two incumbents, state Sen. Theresa Two Bulls, Oglala, and state Rep. Thomas Van Norman, Cheyenne River Sioux, will run unopposed in the primary.A new district split that was created as the result of a voting rights lawsuit does not have an American Indian candidate. Organizers said they tried to find someone to run, but time was against them. The district was split to allow American Indian candidates a better chance at electing a preferred candidate.Two tribal members, Charon Asetoyer and Faith Spotted Eagle, are running in one district. Both will face a primary challenge. Rep. Jim Bradford, Pine Ridge, who now serves in the House, will have opposition in the primary.Maxine Broken Nose, Pine Ridge, is a candidate for the state House and will have primary opposition. She did not respond to inquiries for this article.In Rapid City, Gary Loudner, Crow Creek Dakota, a perennial candidate for the House, faces a primary. Paula Long Fox, Rosebud Sicangu, is a counselor at a Rapid City middle school and is entering the political arena for the first time.An interesting situation is unfolding in the split district. Van Norman is the incumbent House member in one portion of the district; and his brother, Steve Emery, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, is running in the primary for state Senate in District 28.Emery is the attorney who filed the complaint that led to the district was split eight years ago. At that time another brother, Mark Van Norman, current executive director of the National Indian Gaming Association, ran and was defeated for the House seat.Thomas Van Norman subsequently ran and has held the seat ever since.Spotted Eagle said she was running on five priority areas: educational equity, the environment, youth, economic development, personal responsibility and choice.More women have entered races for the state Legislature than ever before. Each lists treatment of women or family values as one reason for running.Spotted Eagle opened her news release with the sentence: ìI am running for the South Dakota state Legislature based on my concerns that the [past] legislative actions are anti-family.îìI know the whole nation is watching how we handle these issues,î she said.Spotted Eagle also listed alternative energy resources and the development of wind energy as a priority. From the perspective of an experienced educator, Spotted Eagle favors a move to a different method of teaching as opposed to the No Child Left Behind model, which she said was punitive and causes stress for educators.ìOur state has an archaic approach to clinging to a minimum wage of $5.15 per hour,î she said. ìMany people are working two jobs to keep afloat, leaving little time for families.îSpotted Eagle is also a businesswoman. She owns a gift and art gallery, and she supports methods to strengthen small, rural business ventures.ìI am not a raving pro-abortion activist, but rather I am a raving pro-family advocate ñ which means I firmly believe that the choice for an abortion is a very personal, intimate, family decision,î she said.Spotted Eagle is now executive director of the Braveheart Society and youth mentoring organization. ìMy first love is youth. Iím into mentoring youth, I do a lot of training and speaking and motivating youth,î she said.Long Fox is running in Rapid City, which boasts a very large urban Indian population; however, the district in which she is running is predominantly non-Indian.Long Fox, a counselor at North Middle School, has developed and supported many American Indian traditions there. North Middle is in the heart of the majority of American Indian population in the city.ìThe bulk of my time has been devoted to helping families and children. As a representative, I hope to be able to use the same problem-solving skills that I have developed in the service of individuals and our community,î she said in a prepared statement.Long Fox listed the issues that require immediate attention: education for all students, health care for the underinsured and support for veterans.She said public education funding and race relations are important in the building of a community to attract high-end businesses and clean economic growth.ìThis would help in raising the standard of living for many of our children,î she said. ìMy dream is to help pull all people together to support each other as a community.îBruce Whalen, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the American Indian liaison for the state Republican Party, will oppose Rep. Stephanie Herseth in the November elections. Whalen and Herseth are not challenged in the primary.