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This profile was last updated on 11/5/06  and contains information from public web pages.

Employment History

  • Chairman
    Shannon County Republican Party
  • Chairman
  • Activist
  • Committed Coordinator
    The Judiciary Committee
  • Beuschel Funeral Home
  • Enrolled Member
    Oglala Sioux Tribe
  • Republican Chairman
    Shannon County

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Committee Chairman
    Republican Party
  • Member
    Oglala Sioux Tribe
  • Member
    Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota


  • undergraduate degree
    Oglala Lakota College
60 Total References
Web References
Indigenous Policy Current Issue - Developments, 5 Nov 2006 [cached]
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, 9 Mar 2006 [cached]
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.
Whalen 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 family.He and 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 said 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 said.
Whalen 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., 6 Mar 2004 [cached]
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."
AP Wire | 05/28/2006 | South Dakota House race no horse race, 28 May 2006 [cached]
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.He 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 fight
With 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 said.
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 said.
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.He 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.
"South Dakota 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 said.
Whalen believes his 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.
"Bruce 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 candidacy, she said.
Whalen grew up in Pine Ridge but moved to Utah as a teen.He returned to South Dakota in 1999 to raise a family.He and his 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.
Politics1 - American Politics, Elections, Candidates & Campaigns, 1 Aug 2006 [cached]
SOUTH DAKOTA - CONGRESS: Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth (D) - 60%, GOP activist Bruce Whalen (R) - 26%. ( Sioux Falls Argus Leader /Mason-Dixon).
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