Notice how this article quotes Duane Sutton: "We have run as Republicans and have won as Republicans ." That should change. These so-called moderates (a euphemism for a liberal who doesn't want people to know he's a liberal) know they can't get elected on their true values--or lack thereof--, and so "run as Republicans."
Posted on Fri, Jun. 24, 2005
Sutton, other moderates form political coalition
Prompted by actions in Terri Schiavo case
Seven Republican state senators in South Dakota have formed a coalition aimed at giving political moderates a greater voice on the issues.
The focus is at the national level, where moderates don't always have an opportunity to speak their mind without being branded, said Sen. Ed Olson, of Mitchell, executive director of the South Dakota Mainstream Coalition.
Other charter members are Duane Sutton of Aberdeen, Tom Dempster and Dave Knudson of Sioux Falls; Stan Adelstein, Royal "Mac" McCracken and J.P. Duniphan of Rapid City.
The Terri Schiavo case provided a catalyst for action, Olson said.
"I thought it was so inappropriate," he said. "There is a lot of libertarian in all of us. Government is really getting into areas where it doesn't belong."
Group members are trying to communicate their message statewide and are looking for others to join them.
"I think (the group) will give a voice for centrists and moderates of both parties that has been absent," said Adelstein.
Sutton said he is part of the group because he wants to speak out against the direction the government is headed.
"There are some things the government shouldn't be involved in," Sutton said. "We felt the need for action."
But Darrel Smith, president of the South Dakota Family Policy Council board, questions the mission.
"There has been a concerted effort the past several decades to remove God from the public square," Smith said. "What we need is not hostility to religion but a recognition of the Judeo-Christian principles upon which our state and country were founded."
Randy Frederick, chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party, said the party welcomes a variety of voices.
"This is what I talk about," he said. "We don't want to form groups and leave the party, but everyone has a right to voice an opinion. If you are afraid to listen to someone's message, maybe you can't defend what you are doing."
Sutton thinks there are more moderates than most would think.
"I think more people think moderately than they do with either the far-right or the far-left," Sutton said.
Olson said the senators have no intention of leaving the party.
"We have been treated very well by party leadership and have no reason to be disenchanted with the Republican Party or our governor," he said. "But it is our strong belief that we need to get back to a place where people of more moderate persuasion feel more comfortable."
The members of the group still claim to be adamant Republicans.
"We have run as Republicans and have won as Republicans - that isn't changing," Sutton said.
The eventual goal of the group is to have a lay board without state legislators, Olson said.