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Native Sun News: Former South Dakota senator considers run

The following story was written and reported by Karin Eagle, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.

Former Senator Larry Pressler (R-SD)

Pressler explores run for Senate
Native Sun News exclusive
By Karin Eagle
Native Sun News Staff Writer

RAPID CITY – Former Senator Larry Pressler (R-SD) is considering running for the United States Senate as an Independent.

Pressler is in the process of forming an exploratory committee to search out the possibilities, pro and con. He met with Native Sun News Publisher Tim Giago on October 28 in Rapid City to feel him out about what his prospects might be in Indian Country. Giago became a friend of Pressler while Giago was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

Pressler was the first Vietnam veteran to serve in Congress. He served in combat as a Lieutenant in the U. S. Army in 1966 through 1968 in Vietnam. Born in Humbolt, South Dakota on the family farm, Pressler attended college at the University of South Dakota and went on to earn a law degree at Harvard Law School in 1971.

He ran for the U. S. Senate in 1978 and was elected and served in the Senate from 1979 to 1997.

Pressler is married to his wife Harriet and has one daughter, Laura, and 4 grandchildren. He currently resides in Washington, D. C., but maintains a home in Sioux Falls. “If I decide to run for the Senate as an Independent I will move back to my home in Sioux Falls permanently,” he told Giago.

While in the Senate, Pressler was instrumental in preventing the Tribally Controlled Colleges from being placed under the jurisdiction of the state colleges. He instead saw to it that the Indian colleges were placed under the jurisdiction of the tribal governments.

When the Oglala Sioux Tribe was attempting to bring a lawsuit against the United States Government in the late 1970s and ran into a road block that would have prevented them from suing, Pressler oversaw the actions that opened the way for them to sue the Government which resulted in the Black Hills Claims Settlement.

“I’ve always tried to work with the tribal governments and in fact I made it a part of my policy to meet annually with all of the elected tribal leaders to get their input on any legislation that would impact them and their people,” Pressler said.

Pressler is aware that there are at least 3 members of Congress that were elected nationally to office as Independents. He said, “As Americans become more and more unhappy with the way things are going in Washington, they tend to blame both parties and more of them are shifting their political loyalties to the Independent Party.”

The Independent Party in South Dakota recently topped the 100,000 mark. Pressler said he would make a formal announcement after his exploration team assessed the scope of the possibilities of an Independent winning office in South Dakota.

Copyright permission by Native Sun News

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