Early last month, I highlighted an appeal to support progressive South Dakota State Senate candidate Charon Asetoyer. The Executive Director of the Native Women's Health Education Resource Center on the Yankton Reservation, Asetoyer is challenging an opponent--Cooper Garnos--who compiled a zero voting rank on women's health and safety issues during his previous legislative term.
In the wake of the South Dakota legislature's nearly complete ban on abortion last February, more women than ever before are running for office in the state--frequently on women's rights platforms. Asetoyer, a Comanche, decided to run (after an appearance on RadioNation with Laura Flanders) to combat bills detrimental to women's rights and the rights of families that were passed by the last two legislatures. "I feel we are going into a frightening time. Legislators are going down a dangerous path and it is very scary," she told Indian Country Today recently. ''They are trying to get the public to buy into the idea that contraceptives abort a pregnancy, that's wrong. They are trying to go after our contraceptives.''
Fortunately, thanks to the generosity of people like you, Asetoyer's campaign has gained ground. As she heads into the critical last four weeks of campaigning before the June 6 primary, she's up to speed with her buttons, bumperstickers, lawn signs and creative radio ads that started airing on two stations this week. She's also part of a wave in the state comprising three other Native American women candidates vying for Democratic primary nominations in order to take on some of the most reactionary members of any state Republican Party anywhere. These candidates--Faith Spotted Eagle, Paula Long Fox and Theresa Spry, along with Asetoyer, could actually win. But they really need more help.
Political races in South Dakota don't take nearly as much money to run as big state, big city races, but that doesn't mean they can run on nothing and so far it seems pretty unlikely that the SD Democratic Party is going to pitch in for them before the primaries.
So, our job is to help them win their primaries in a big way so that they become seen as "viable" by the party elite who control the pursestrings. A few dollars to each of these campaigns can help create change in South Dakota that we'll all feel wherever we live. The individual limit for donations to candidates in SD is $250, so consider maxing out, if you can. But $100, $50, or $25 can do a lot -- from helping to pay for candidate forums to ads in hometown papers and radio spots.
Here's where you can send your checks:
Charon Asetoyer (Dist. 21 Senate)
Campaign for Change
P.O. Box 472
Lake Andes, SD 57356
Faith Spotted Eagle (Dist. 21 House)
Faith Spotted Eagle for Change
P.O. Box 762
Lake Andes, SD 57356
Paula Long Fox (Dist. 33 House)
10520 Canyon Place
Rapid City, SD 57707
Theresa Spry (Dist. 35 Senate)
821 Halley Ave.
Rapid City, SD 57701
As a small group of women working to highlight these candidacies write in a recent appeal (from which I drew most of the info in this post), "We're not just building grassroots political action, we're building grassfires of progressive activism that can spread across South Dakota and our whole country."