Apparently the Rapid City Weekly News has the real scoop on the retirement from politics of Dist. 35 Senator Bill Napoli.
I came home for lunch and in my mailbox found a big picture of Bill Napoli on the front page of the Rapid City Weekly News (how did a weekly newspaper scoop the “big guys” that include radio, TV and a daily paper?).
The RC Weekly News also has it on their site with Black Hills Pioneer.
Why did he decide to quit? According to the Rapid City Weekly News:
Napoli said he feels like a dinosaur who doesn’t fit in the Legislature any more. He said the process and the people have changed.
“And maybe I don’t like it,” Napoli said. “Maybe that’s the way it’s going to be in the future.”
Financial pressures are also part of the reason for his decision not to seek a fourth term in the state Senate after serving eight years in the House, he admitted.
“I need to get back to work. I have lost so much money because of the Legislature,” Napoli said. “I don’t want people to say I’m whining. I’m just stating the facts.”
Napoli owns Motion Unlimited, a Rapid City car museum. He also buys and sells antique cars and said being away from his business has cost him a lot of money.
It doesn’t say so specifically, but I suspect it might have had something to do with a sense of integrity Napoli might have had, changing his position and now supporting a repeal of term limits. Napoli didn’t say so in the article and I haven’t heard anything specific, but what I do know of Napoli leads me to believe that might have had something to do with it. Napoli will be the first to tell you he isn’t perfect, but I firmly believe he’s a man of integrity.
Even if that wasn’t a factor in his decision, it’s possible that he didn’t want allegations of hypocrisy to interfere with his campaign to see the term limits repeal succeed in November. He did well to deflect such criticism when he admitted he had changed his mind on the issue (most politicians simply try to spin and rewrite history), but someone would surely play the card were Napoli to run again.
The article also says he won’t be endorsing a replacement for his seat, but it sounds like Rep. Jeff Haverly, currently a Dist. 35 representative, will run for his seat.
The piece also mentions talk of Napoli running for governor, but Napoli says that isn’t in the cards.
It’s a lengthy article, and I’d encourage you to read the whole thing. It provides far more information on Napoli’s decision than I’ve reiterated here.
It also gives some biographical information on Bill, among other things pointing out that he’s a “grade-school dropout done good.” I think Bill would be among the first to stress the importance of formal education, but he’s also an example of the kind of drive and initiative that has made America (and South Dakota) the great place it is. As important as education is, what counts even more is a person’s willingness to learn in whatever environment they find themselves, and the ambition to improve themselves and their community.
We could use a lot more people like Bill Napoli in government. I hope that as Jeff Haverly fills Bill’s senate seat (I have no doubts that Jeff will prevail), another good person who believes in the individual over government solutions will step up to the plate to fill Jeff’s.