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Native Sun News Today: Indian lawmakers invited to 'cracker barrel'

South Dakota Rep, Kevin Killer (D), a citizen of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, is among those invited to attend the February 18, 2017, cracker barrel in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo by Indianz.Com / Available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Native American lawmakers to highlight Cracker Barrel
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor

RAPID CITY –– Three Native American legislators are among the 21 South Dakota state lawmakers invited to meet the public February 18 at the first-ever cracker barrel here to focus mainly on natural resource issues.

The 9 a.m. event at the Outdoor Campus West features senators and representatives from districts that include Pennington County voters.

It is sponsored by the Prairie Hills Audubon Society, the Black Hills Group of the Sierra Club, the Rapid City Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, the Black Hills Chapter of Dakota Rural Action, and Black Hills Sportsmen.

Prairie Hills Audubon Society President Nancy Hilding said they decided to add this cracker barrel to four others usually on the agenda in the Pennington County-area’s six districts during the annual South Dakota legislative session, because, “We have too many members of our respective organizations who have gone to the Rapid City cracker barrels who have not been called on or not until the last minute.”

Cracker barrels are moderated public meetings in which legislators and constituents talk about concerns regarding the rulemaking that’s in progress at the statehouse. The other four cracker barrels in Rapid City are run by the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce. Different sponsors hold these free events around the state from January through early March.

“I’m fascinated by the people and their passion. I want to empower them,” said Hilding, who is a veteran promoter of the meetings in the local area. “It’s much easier for the average person to call or email their legislators if they’ve met them,” she told the Native Sun News Today.

The new cracker barrel consists of two one-hour segments, the first of which is dedicated to discussion of natural resource bills. “Interpreted very broadly, this can include questions about outdoor recreation, environmental pollution, agriculture, energy development, land use, mining, transportation, zoning, wildlife, (and) waste disposal,” the sponsors said in a media release Feb. 2.

Native American Sen. Kevin Killer, Rep. Steve Livermont and Rep. Elizabeth May are invited to take part on behalf of District 27, which includes voters in Pennington, Oglala Lakota, Bennett, Jackson, and Haakon counties.

Invited from District 29 are Pennington, Meade and Butte County lawmakers Thomas Brunner, Gary Cammack and Larry Rhoden. From District 30, Tim Goodwin has confirmed his attendance; Julie Frye-Mueller and Lance Russell also may be present from Fall River, Custer and Pennington County.

Kristin Conzet, Sean McPherson and Alan Solano have the opportunity to speak for Pennington County voters in District 32 but have indicated they are unlikely to take part.

Meade and Pennington County lawmakers Taffy Howard, Phil Jensen, and David Johnson are invited from District 33. Pennington County Districts 34 and 35 legislators David Lust, Jeffrey Partridge, Craig Tieszen, Blaine “Chip” Campbell, Lynne DiSanto and Terri Haverly also are invited.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Native American lawmakers to highlight Cracker Barrel

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