Rick Weiland and Hurricane Sandy

Rick Weiland, the only Democratic candidate so far for the South Dakota seat in the U.S. Senate up for election in 2014, isued a news release today blasting the national news media for not giving more news coverage to last weekend’s blizzard across western South Dakota and parts of neighboring states. I happened to check The New York Times edition from last Sunday that I received in the mail this week, and the storm received a story at the bottom of a page in the main news section. I also noted last weekend that National Public Radio on its newscasts talked about the storm (if memory is correct, in one instance, I heard a national report by SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray). I will acknowledge that through the years I’ve felt at times that winter storms in South Dakota deserved more national coverage. But… I wouldn’t go as far as Rick did today when he declared:

We just had our ‘Sandy’ out here in Western South Dakota and ranching families have been completely abandoned.”

It’s true, a lot of ranch families lost a lot of cattle. Their losses will be compounded, because not only did they lose calves, they’ll need to replace the cows that produced the calves. A good cow is worth a lot of future money in calves. Thousands of people lost electricity and many are still without power. A lot of tree branches are busted off. But putting the storm on the same level as Hurricane Sandy? That is a big reach. Damage in the United States alone from the hurricane was estimated at $65 billion. Congress approved relief of $50.5 billion. A total of 256 people reportedly died along the hurricane’s route through the Caribbean and up the Atlantic coast. I don’t mean to minimize in any way the damage and suffering from the blizzard. I just don’t think it was anything close to Hurricane Sandy — and for that I am thankful.

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About Bob Mercer

Bob Mercer is a newspaper reporter in Pierre where I cover state government, issues and politics for the Aberdeen American News and four other separately owned newspapers: the Black Hills Pioneer, the Pierre Capital Journal, the Mitchell Daily Republic and the Watertown Public Opinion. I began covering the Legislature in 1985 and have lived in Pierre since December 1986. I grew up in Wisconsin, worked my way through college, took my first full-time newspapers jobs in Wyoming, and have lived in South Dakota since the summer of 1984 when I moved to Aberdeen to join the American News. I worked for the Rapid City Journal as its state government reporter in Pierre from late 1992 through late 1998. I spent four years as press secretary and a senior aide to Gov. Bill Janklow during his fourth and final term from late 1998 through 2002. I returned to journalism in January 2003 as a self-employed reporter, providing state government coverage to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre and, depending on the year, Aberdeen newspapers. In 2008, the Aberdeen American News offered to hire me as full-time member of the AAN staff, with my reports continuing to be available to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish and Pierre papers. The new arrangement has been in effect since January 2009 as the five papers continue their remarkable dedication to their readers and the general public, as the only South Dakota news outlets with a full-time reporter covering state government in Pierre throughout the year. In addition to focusing on the Legislature during the annual winter session and its various activities during the interim periods between sessions, I spend many days throughout the year -- traveling as often necessary -- to cover state government boards and commissions which oversee the state universities, technical institutes, outdoors, water, environment, business, public schools, banking, agriculture, utilities, health care and various other areas of public interest. I purposely don't register to vote because of my profession; the last time I recall voting in a presidential election was the first time, 1976, when I had just turned 18. I think I voted for Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford. Make of that what you want, just don't make much of it.

4 thoughts on “Rick Weiland and Hurricane Sandy

  1. polly politic

    The impact on the people affected by this storm equals the impact on the individual people affected by Sandy. Basically we are fly-over country, and neither coast cares too much about us out here, and since the news headquarters are in NY and CA, they don’t either. Tornadoes are covered for days. This should be better reported.

  2. Pingback: Rick Weiland and Hurricane Sandy « Pure Pierre Politics - My605.com - SandyPropertyClaim.com

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