In the 1990s, Gov. George S. Mickelson started a new tradition in South Dakota called “Capital for a Day.” Gov. Mickelson would travel to a community and issue an executive proclamation declaring that town as South Dakota’s Capital for a Day. He would spend the day touring the town, talking with people of the community and getting input from local leaders.
When I took office, I decided to continue the Capital for a Day tradition because it gives me the opportunity to hear from South Dakotans. Now that warmer weather isn’t too far away, I am extending an invitation to communities across the state to apply.
Activities for the day typically include a main street walk, business tours and a community social. We also hold roundtable meetings with community leaders to discuss prominent local issues. I typically give an update on state government and learn from local citizens what they think.
Since 2011, Capital for a Day has been hosted by Mitchell, Canton, Onida, Volga, Hill City, Britton, De Smet, Viborg, Aberdeen, Lead-Deadwood, Flandreau, Wall, Parkston, Faulkton, Wessington Springs, Milbank, Kimball, Madison, Spearfish, Lake Norden, Lemmon and Yankton.
We often talk about how Washington, D.C., can be like an island. The federal government at times seems to lack common sense, and sometimes national officials forget their roots. Well, I don’t want Pierre to be that way. I don’t want state government to be isolated from South Dakotans or oblivious to local situations.
That’s why events like this are so important. In order to be of, by and for the people, we must take the time to listen. We need to hear about problems that exist and better understand the impact government decisions are having on people’s lives.
If your town has never been Capital for a Day, I hope you will urge your local leaders to apply. Interested communities can find out more by going to sd.gov/governor and clicking on “Initiatives.”
—By Gov. Dennis Daugaard