I couldn't have been sorrier to hear the news a couple of days ago that Stan Adelstein resigned from the South Dakota State Senate due to health problems. The 82-year-old Adelstein has been fighting complications from hip surgery for months and the battle just proved to be too much for him to consider participating in the legislative session about to begin. I've known Stan for quite a number of years now and occasionally contributed posts to his blog (way2gosd.com.), which got off to a promising start a year or so ago but has gone moribund since his health issues emerged in recent months. In this day and age, I suppose a man is only as good as his blog, lol, and I look forward to Stan's high-spirited posts returning to the blogosphere once his physical and mental acuities re-align.
Meanwhile, South Dakotans of all political affiliations have good reason to miss his presence in Pierre. For one thing, Stan, the brilliantly successful businessman, has a quick grasp of the many complicated issues that elected officials have to deal with. By nature he understands the interplay between money and policy. For example, bucking his party's leaders on their rejection of Medicaid expansion--a position I share with Stan--is a product of his conclusions regarding the money spent for the money returned. It comes with a rock solid analysis of the "hidden taxes" we all pay in the form of higher insurance costs and provider fees to make up for the thousands of uninsured South Dakotans who go to emergency care centers with no funds to pay for their treatments. Stan's view, like mine, looks at a much bigger picture than most Republican leaders, including Governor Dennis Daugaard, seem to be taking into consideration.
Adelstein is also a Republican's Republican in the sense that he's true to the essential element of Republican philosophy, which is that individual rights and choices must be preserved at all costs. On that score he--and I'm proud to say, I--have been publicly excoriated by members of the South Dakota GOP who believe that personal choices involving sexual orientation and a woman's decisions about her reproductive apparatus should be the government's business. How a party that is built on a foundation of championing and preserving individual rights can come to believe that rights and benefits should be determined according to the way people run their private lives is an abomination. I've always stood with Stan against the forces in our party who are determined to use the government as a cudgel for imposing their personal, moral views on society as a whole.
I salute Stan Adelstein for his courage and single-mindedness in pursuit of keeping our Republican Party in line with its foundation beliefs. I wish him a speedy recovery and I eagerly look forward to his renewed and more-invigorated-than-ever return to the public sphere in South Dakota. Mazel tov, Stan.