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McGovern Conference Continues On

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A week after the election, two South Dakotans who rarely see eye to eye on just about any issue, share a stage. Tony Post, Executive Director of the state's republican party and Ben Nesselfhuf, Chair of the state's democratic party, discuss partisanship in the state and in Washington.

"Moving Beyond Political Polarization" was the theme for the McGovern Conference. One hand picked by the late Senator McGovern.  

"He was concerned about the growing partisanship in this country. And we thought it incredibly fitting that the final conference that he was involved in planning which was a week after our recent election, address that topic," said Donald Simmons, The Dean and Director of the McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service.

With politicians worried about the upcoming fiscal cliff, a history professor at Dakota Wesleyan, one of the many titles George McGovern once had, mentioned how political figures like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson dealt with bi-partisanship. Something George McGovern wanted to be included in his conference.  

"He understood the role of history and helping us look backwards to look for answers to our problems of today," said Simmons.

While the message of the conference was reiterated, organizers look at this conference as the last one to be directly influenced by George McGovern.  

"It's bittersweet. It's the last conference he was involved in planning. And yet, he's not here with us to discuss the very issues that he wanted us to address in the conference," said Simmons.   

As politicians talk about coming together, they also reflect on a man who played a roll in American History.  

"His shaping of American politics will go way beyond his time here on earth,"
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