The candidates for Governor held their first debate yesterday at Dakotafest with the highlights including numerous barbs from Jack Billion directed at Mike Rounds and Mr Rounds pretty much ignoring them.
Rounds, as he likes to do, spent much of the debate quoting numbers from his first term to which his main challenger, Billion, often used against him. An example of the rhetoric:
Rounds – gross state product — the total value of goods and services produced in South Dakota — grew by $5 billion during the past three years from $24 billion to $29 billion.
Billion – The $5 billion increase in GSP over the past three years equated to nearly 5.5 percent per year, which he said trailed the national rate and the state’s own rate from previous years. “If you go ahead and take that 5.5 percent and you deduct the increase due to gas prices, due to inflation and due to health care costs, you come up with a pretty flat economy,” Billion said. “We have to do better than we’ve been doing.”
And the tearing down of Rounds’ so-called achievements went on from there to include the subjects of wind energy, school funding, drought relief, abortion, and rural development.
As has been the case from the start, Governor Rounds was quite happy to quote his “achievements” from the past but was a bit silent about future plans. Is the status quo good enough?