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Indigenous Policy Current Issue - Developments
In South Dakota, Bruce Whalen of Pine Ridge, Chairman of the Shannon County Republican Party, announced , in February, he was seeking the Republican nomination for the state's one U.S. House seat, to run against incumbent Democrat Stephanie Herseth.
American News | 03/09/2006 | GOP candidate for U.S. House stops in Aberdeen
A loyal Republican, Bruce Whalen said he ruffled a few GOP feathers when he told the Democratic Party it needed to organize a proper chapter in his native Shannon County.Because Democrats already outnumber Republicans nine to one in the Pine Ridge area, Whalen said people didn't understand why he told the opposition to get it together.Whalen
, though, thinks his
strategy will ultimately pay dividends.
If it does, he
could be the beneficiary.Whalen
, 44, is the only announced Republican candidate for U.S. House.And he
thinks when American Indians learn about the Democratic Party's platform, many will realize they should be Republicans.Now, he
said, too many blindly back Democratic candidates.Whalen
, who was in Aberdeen on Wednesday, spoke to about 40 members of the Brown County Republicans at a luncheon at the Ramada Inn.It was an early campaign stop that allowed him to meet potential voters.
"People say my opponent is going to be hard to beat.I think we need to change that message," Whalen
said."We need to say Bruce Whalen
is going to be hard to beat."
Simply put, Whalen
said, the members of South Dakota's tribes need to realize that Democrats promise a lot, but seldom follow through.Tribal governments are too dependent on federal grants and the bureaucracy keeps American Indians
from getting involved in government.Less government with less control would be a better thing, he
said being a Republican on a reservation can make it tough to rally political support or even get a job.But he
thinks if American Indians
study the parties, they'll find the GOP is more in line with traditional tribal values.
Grew up in Pine Ridge: After growing up in Pine Ridge, Whalen
moved to Utah as a teen before moving back to Pine Ridge in 1999 to raise his
wife have a 4-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter.He
also has a 19-year-old son from a previous marriage.He was a member of the Army National Guard in Utah and now works for the Oglala Sioux Tribe as coordinator of its judiciary committee.He has an undergraduate degree from Oglala Lakota College and is now taking courses at the school in pursuit of his master's degree.Whalen, who is chairman of the Shannon County Republican Party, worked on Sen.
Favors abortion ban: On Wednesday, Whalen
talked about recently approved state legislation banning nearly all abortions.He
favors the bill and applauds Gov.
Some tribal members, Whalen
said, don't like the abortion measure because they think it will make it more difficult for low-income women to get abortions.The abortion problem, he
said, has to be addressed before a woman is pregnant.Parents need to talk to their kids about abstaining from sex before marriage, he
also talked about the need for better education and economic development on reservations.
Hillary Clinton Forum.- Everybody Welcome to debate the issues, leave messages, cartoons and articles.
Bruce Whalen, also an Oglala Sioux of Pine Ridge, is committee chairman of the Republican Party in Shannon County.Whalen says, "I know there's a lot of Republicans out there on Pine Ridge.They just don't know it yet." Whalen
believes the Republican Party
more closely mirrors his
traditional Lakota values than the Democratic Party.Those values are respect for life, limited government, sovereignty and local control.Whalen
believes government-funded programs and tribal politics that dole out the money are the root of the reservation's poverty.Alcoholism and other abuses follow suit.
"I see how the social programs are devastating the people around here," he
said."The Democrats are hurting us."
Indianz.Com > News > Bush tells journalists tribes 'given' sovereignty
But Bruce Whalen, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota and a Republican activist in the state, said Democrats were over-reacting.From his home on the Pine Ridge Reservation, he said Indians in his state are clamoring to hear the Republican Party's message.
...The party hasn't said how many Indians will attend but Whalen and John Gonzales, former governor of San Ildefonso Pueblo and a former president of the National Congress of American Indians, will be among the delegates.
AP Wire | 05/28/2006 | South Dakota House race no horse race
Challenging Herseth on Nov. 7 will be Bruce Whalen, an American Indian who is the GOP chairman in Shannon County, which includes the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and is among the poorest places in the nation.
Whalen's notoriety is virtually nil elsewhere in South Dakota
even was outvoted by 2-1 margins on his
home turf two years ago by two Democrats seeking re-election to the state House of Representatives.
Indians lean markedly Democrat in this state.In fact, Democrats in Shannon County number 8,442 compared to 3,362 Republicans.Statewide, however, GOP
voters total 232,000 and registered Democrats number 185,000.
Tough fightWith his largely unknown status as a candidate, Whalen, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, faces a tough fight for a variety of reasons:
_ South Dakota
is about 90 percent white, and Indian candidates fare poorly in off-reservation areas.South Dakota
has nine Indian reservations, and while Whalen
may get many Indian votes, many Indians do not bother to vote._ Whalen has little money for his campaign, although state GOP Chairman Randy Frederick said the party will help.
And if those odds against Whalen
aren't enough, there's also the fact that the re-election rate of U.S. House members is more than 90 percent.
...Whalen, 44, who resigned several weeks ago from his job as coordinator of the Oglala Tribe's Judiciary Committee, insists Herseth can be beaten.He
does not consider himself a sacrificial lamb for the state GOP
"We're going to move this campaign forward for a win," Whalen
said during a recent campaign stop.
"We're not going into this blindly.We know that we have a lot of work to do," he
Tackling an incumbent is not easy, and Whalen
has taken a bold move, Frederick said.
In the state, Republicans have a better record on taxes, improving education and are more closely aligned with the public on the issue of abortion, Whalen
noted that he
and Herseth, 35, disagree on a measure passed by this year's Legislature that would ban most abortions in South Dakota
favors the proposal, which may be put on the fall ballot by opponents if they have gathered enough signatures.
The abortion measure has drawn nationwide attention to South Dakota
from those on both sides of the issue.
is going to be under a microscope because of that, and I'm certain it's going to have some effect on the House race," Whalen
advantage lies in the Republican Party's strength in South Dakota
, traditionally a well-oiled, highly organized political machine.
"I expect abundant support from the party," he
said, adding that his
campaign will stress family values, permanent tax cuts and limited federal government.
Frederick said Whalen
will be a good candidate, and the GOP
will help finance his campaign.
The state GOP
boss acknowledged Whalen
does not have the same name recognition as Herseth.
does not have that luxury at this point in time," Frederick said.
The fact that Whalen
has little notoriety does not necessarily mean the state GOP
has thrown in the towel, Smith said.
Even if Whalen
does not win, the state GOP
may benefit from his
grew up in Pine Ridge but moved to Utah as a teen.He
returned to South Dakota
in 1999 to raise a family.He
wife, Carol, have three children.Should Whalen win, he would become the second Indian House member in state history.
While victory by Whalen
would be another important political milestone for state Indians, Herseth also can claim some historical lore.By winning in 2004, she
became the first South Dakota woman to claim a full term in Congress since statehood in 1889.