MISSION, SD – Local residents who attended the Lakota Vote Rally were asked to participate in the November 4 Election by telling nine of their friends to vote.
“Go get me nine votes,” stated Rick Weiland, Democratic candidate for South Dakota’s US Senate seat. “Talk to people in the grocery store, make nine phone calls or send out nine emails telling people to get out and vote.
Current representation in Washington, DC have turned down $272 million dollars a year, according to Weiland. That money would have been used to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Weiland also urged those in attendance at the rally to vote yes on Initiated Measure 18, which will raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour effective January 15, 2015. The rate will also be adjusted each year to keep up with cost of living increases and 62,000 South Dakotans would be affected. People could get “a little bit more [in their paycheck] every two weeks if we get out and vote,” he said.
“I am unabashed in my opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline,” stated Weiland. KXL will “cut through the heart of America to ship dirty tar sands through a cheap steel pipe from China. It is going to leak, it will not give us jobs. I will fight to my last breath to stop KXL.”
Weiland has been endorsed by all nine tribes in South Dakota. “We can do better by our tribes,” he said. “We’ve neglected our treaties and tribes, we need to turn that around here in South Dakota. Weiland also gave a musical performance with local artist Skeeter Leader Charge during the rally.
“Until we get a democrat in the Governor’s office there will not be a balance of power,” stated Susan Wismer who is on the ballot for South Dakota Governor.
“It is very important and critical to get out and vote,” stated Wizipan Little Elk. “It used to be that tradition was when we didn’t support something we would walk away from it or not show up. That might have worked a long time ago but now it’s a different world. We have to make our voice heard. We need to develop a culture of voting and participating, instead of turning our backs and not voting.”
“Vote for your interest,” stated OJ Semans of Four Directions. “Vote for what moves you and your people. Our ancestors fought to protect the land and water. We all have an obligation to do the same.”
Entertainment was provided by Frank Waln, Rosebud’s own hip-hop artist. “We need to vote because no one is going to come and save us, we have to do that ourselves,” he said. Waln was also joined on stage by local singer Kodi DeNoyer, who performed with him previously in the Nake Nula Waun group.
The 1491s Comedians also made an appearance and kept the crowd laughing with their hilarious skits. The group has several YouTube videos online. Dallas Goldtooth, Ryan Red Corn and Bobby Wilson also performed at rallies held in Kyle and Rapid City.
“The secret of this election and whether we win or lose, are the votes that will come out of Indian Country,” stated Weiland.