Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

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Henry Red Cloud said South Dakota’s goal should be to increase renewable energy, cutting use by 0, 60, 80 percent.

Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports

One week. Lots to report.

Let’s start in Montana where Denise Juneau sought out Speaker Paul Ryan and asked to meet with him. Ryan was in Montana to campaign for Juneau’s opponent, Rep. Ryan Zinke.

It was an unusual request, to say the least. And Ryan’s response was  a quick no, staff writing, “The speaker was only briefly in Billings for a great rally with Ryan Zinke and other Republican leaders.”

 

Juneau’s pitched a “positive bipartisan working relationship” and to discuss issues important to Montana, including high school graduation rates.

That’s kind of funny when you think about it. And it’s a great way to change the story of the day.

I’ve been wondering how Juneau versus Zinke is playing on Google. There is still far more interest in Juneau, some thirty searches a day. That’s been consistent. (People must already know about Zinke because they’re not googling him.)

This doesn’t tell us anything about who’s voting, but it does show interest and curiosity. I guess no one is curious about Ryan Zinke.

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Juneau versus Zinke on Google. Juneau searches are in red, Zinke in blue. As of October 31.

Juneau also reported another fundraising milestone. She ranks 6th in the country for congressional candidates who are raising money from small donors.  A small donation is considered less than $200.

Henry Red Cloud, who is running for the South Dakota Public Utility Commission, debated his opponent, incumbent Chris Nelson, in Sturgis on Saturday. According to the Watertown Public Opinion, Red Cloud made the case for renewable energy (he owns a solar energy company at Pine Ridge).

Nelson said that South Dakota doesn’t have an “optimal sun regime” and wind is intermittent. However he agreed that “South Dakota would see much more use of renewable systems in the coming years. Red Cloud said the goal ought to be for people to use less. “I’m not saying completely off-grid. No, I’m not saying that. Cutting back – cutting back 50, 60, 80 percent,” Red Cloud he said.

Red Cloud is one of two #NativeVote16 candidates running for a public utilities commission. The other is Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun in North Dakota.

Oklahoma Rep. MarkWayne Mullin is chairing Native Americans for Trump.

“The daily flood of new federal regulations keep Indian Country from becoming self-sufficient. Local tribal decisions, not federal bureaucrats, are the best way to improve our communities. As both an enrolled member of Cherokee Nation and a member of Congress, I will stand with Donald Trump in supporting tribal sovereignty and reining in federal over-regulation,” McMullin told The Washington Times. (Previous: Native Republicans make their case.)

The Times said the organization includes tribal leaders from 15 states and includes former Cherokee Chief Ross Swimmer and New Mexico Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage. She told The Times: “The Trump administration will ease restrictions on American energy reserves worth trillions of dollars. Together we will block the bureaucrats holding Native American businesses back and bring new jobs into our communities.”

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, is joining forces with a Maryland Democrat calling for a bipartisan Social Security commission. “Americans know that Social Security is on an unsustainable path,” Cole said in a written statement. “They know common sense reforms need to take place. And they know that duplicitous politicians and special interest groups will not hesitate to frighten the elderly with misinformation and outright lies if it means more votes or more contributions. It’s time for our elected leaders to demonstrate the same courage and common sense, and finally address this critical issue.”

So there you have it: There is still bipartisan work going on. Even in an election year. Just not in Montana.

Mark Trahant is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. On Twitter @TrahantReports

Reposting or reprinting this column? Please credit: Mark Trahant / TrahantReports.com

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