Welcome to Political Smokeout

I’m going to be covering state and federal politics for the Argus Leader, and this blog will hopefully be ground zero for my work. Here’s what you should know as I get started:

Who am I? My name is David Montgomery. I just started work at the Argus Leader this week as a political reporter. Previously I’ve been a political reporter at the Rapid City Journal, where I wrote for the Mount Blogmore political blog. I also spent several years covering politics, among other things, at the Pierre Capital Journal. I follow both South Dakota and national politics pretty closely, and am also interested in baseball (and my poor Cubbies), history and technology. I’m moderately infamous for my use of charts, graphs and numbers in my reporting and blogging, so brace yourself.

What is this blog? Political Smokeout will be a clearinghouse for information about state and federal politics. I’ll post everything from quick links to news stories both at the Argus and elsewhere, to long, originally reported articles and analysis. I’ll try to intersperse some multimedia content among the text. Some posts will be primarily informative in nature; in others I’ll throw out an interesting argument to try to provoke discussion. I have a propensity for verbosity (see?) but will be trying to post briefly and regularly.

What the heck is a political smokeout? In the South Dakota Legislature, all bills are entitled to a committee hearing where they get an up-or-down vote. But defeat in a committee isn’t necessarily the end of the line for a bill. Any lawmaker can try to “smoke a bill out” of committee directly to the floor of the House of Representatives or the Senate. This takes support of one-third of the members of the body. Then it’s placed on the next day’s calendar and needs a majority to pass. But “smokeout” also is used for anti-smoking campaigns and has connotations of barbecue, so I thought a modifier would help clarify exactly what I’m about.

Any questions? I’m very active on Twitter, where you can follow and contact me at @ArgusMontgomery. You can also email me at dmontgomery@argusleader.com or leave comments here.