Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published February 10, 2010, 07:57 AM

Our View: Not ready to vote for S.D. ag secretary

A proposal before the state Legislature seeks to make the office of South Dakota secretary of agriculture an elected position. At present, the secretary of agriculture is a cabinet position that is filled by the governor. The idea, according to state Sen. Jim Bradford, one of the bill’s sponsors, is to give South Dakotans an option if they feel the secretary is not doing a good job.

By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic

A proposal before the state Legislature seeks to make the office of South Dakota secretary of agriculture an elected position. At present, the secretary of agriculture is a cabinet position that is filled by the governor. The idea, according to state Sen. Jim Bradford, one of the bill’s sponsors, is to give South Dakotans an option if they feel the secretary is not doing a good job. We are wary of this proposal. Elected positions have their place and, as Bradford says, voters have the option to remove an elected officeholder if they feel that person is not doing his job or if they feel someone else can do it better.

But does simply running for an office mean that person is qualified for the position? Hardly. It’s quite possible the candidate who wins will simply be the most popular.

Too, we feel the position of secretary of agriculture should not be burdened by worrying about regular elections. His decisions should be made and policies created without fear of losing his job the following November.

The legislation, as proposed, would make the position nonpolitical and we do like that idea. Candidates would run without party affiliation and not as a party nominee.

The South Dakota Farmers Union has long supported proposals to make the secretary of agriculture an elected position, and because of that support from this state’s farmers and ranchers, we figure there may be merit to it.

But at present, we cannot give our support to this proposal.

Tags: