Share |

Stephanie Has World Enough, and Time

May 15, 2013

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.


What wingèd chariot?

"Mom! Dad! I'm applying for a new job. The interview process lasts for a year and a half, and it's totally public. I'll have to quit my current job, put 30‒40 thousand miles on my car, and spend 30 times as much money interviewing as I'll make in each year if I get the job. I'll have to beg for money every day. If I don't get the job, every newspaper in the state will call me a loser. What do you think?"

The proper parental response is, "You're nuts."

By that parental good sense, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is saner than Rick Weiland and M. Michael Rounds put together and squared. In her widely reported Monday morning Facebook post, Herseth Sandlin said she'd rather spend the next year and a half enjoying her current job as Raven's legal eagle and getting her son ready for kindergarten than give that up to run for Senate in 2014.

I can understand Herseth Sandlin's logic. Six years ago, I was living in Madison but teaching in Montrose. I love teaching, and I love driving the Valley Road. But when my daughter was born, the daily commute lost its luster. When an opportunity arose to work closer to home and help my wife more with our little one, I took it. I missed being in the classroom and directly serving the community... but doing any job well is a form of service. So is being a good parent.

My daughter's in school full-time now, and I've had the good fortune to get back in the classroom. Herseth Sandlin, too, has plenty of opportunities ahead to get back into the public service she loves. She's 42, just eight months older than I. She has world enough and time to enjoy her family and her private-sector work. She can wait five or ten years or more to offer her talents in Washington again or in Pierre.

Just ask Rick Weiland. He ran for House twice, unsuccessfully, in 1996 and 2002. After that second loss (a primary loss to first-time campaigner Stephanie Herseth), Weiland did cool stuff like helping develop the nation's first green construction code and helping his wife get a restaurant going. And then he realized, "Hey! My party and my country need me, and I'm at a good point in my life to offer my help."

Candidate Weiland and citizen Herseth Sandlin both show us that running for office need not be a lifelong, non-stop career. To bend Marvell, we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we need not run madly after him. We can tend our fields, and see what the next sunrise brings. 


Editor's Note: Cory Heidelberger is our political columnist from the left. For a right-wing perspective on politics, please look for columns by Dr. Ken Blanchard every other Monday on this site.

Cory Allen Heidelberger writes the Madville Times political blog. He grew up on the shores of Lake Herman. He studied math and history at SDSU and information systems at DSU, and is currently teaching French at Spearfish High School. A longtime country dweller, Cory is enjoying "urban" living with his family in Spearfish.


10:49 am - Wed, May 15 2013
Bernie said:
Your description of running for statewide office is amazingly accurate, esp. for someone who hasn't gone through it. And I promise you every man and woman who has ever run has probably awoken on a hundred mornings or more and wondered "why the hell am I doing this again???"

Somehow democracy survives though.

As for Stephanie, she's a wonderful young lady and whether it be elected or otherwise I'm just glad she's working in South Dakota. It's a good day for Raven.
04:20 am - Thu, May 16 2013
Lee Schoenbeck said:
Good article about a nice person . You do a good job of describing the toll and trade-offs of public service. But as to the elusive answer to the motivation question, former governor Sigurd Anderson said "that when the political bug bites, it bites for life"
05:35 am - Thu, May 16 2013
Then for those so bitten who can't scratch right now, the friendly response is perhaps the Vulcan salute: Live long and prosper!

So when are you declaring for U.S. House, Lee?

Share your thoughts, post a comment to this story:

Your Name:
Your Email Address:  
Your Website:
2000 characters remaining
Web Design by Buildable