Lee Strubinger

Politics and Public Policy Reporter

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.

Copyright 2020 SDPB Radio. To see more, visit SDPB Radio.



In The Moment ... October 25, 2019 Show 687 Hour 1

A panel of South Dakota lawmakers is studying the state's controlled substances laws and an almost at capacity prison system. The group has met three times and they're close to issuing recommendations to the legislature as a whole.

SDPB's Lee Strubinger has been following the legislative summer study on offenses regarding controlled substances. He joins In The Moment from the Black Hills Surgical Hospital Studio in Rapid City.

State of South Dakota

Governor Kristi Noem says all options are on the table for the STAR academy complex.

The state resumed control of the former juvenile corrections facility after a check from SLIC-e Holdings bounced.

“I don’t have an answer for you on that,” Noem says. “But we are definitely looking at all the options and trying to make the best decision for the people of South Dakota.”

In the past, some lawmakers have expressed interest in turning the complex in Custer into a West River mental health facility.

Lee Strubinger

In The Moment ... January 8, 2019 Show 490 Hour 1

The Cheyenne River Indian Reservation now has a tribal radio station.

K-I-P-I has had its FCC license for about a month and will serve a valuable role for the community. Tribally run radio stations are important for those in Indian country, especially hyper-rural areas where broadband access is limited.

SDPB’s Lee Strubinger reports…

The call letters for K-I-P-I radio are perfect for the Eagle Butte station.

“KIPI is a Lakota term meaning ‘to come home.’”

South Dakota GOP Sweep Statewide Midterm Elections

Nov 7, 2018

The South Dakota Republican Party made a clean sweep of statewide races in the 2018 midterm election.

Former Chief-of-staff to Governor Dennis Daugaard and Public Utilities Commissioner Dusty Johnson won handily over his Democratic challenger Tim Bjorkman. Johnson took 60 percent of vote.

Johnson says it’s rewarding and gratifying to know the people of South Dakota chose him for the job of representing them in Congress.

Advertising And Motivating Voters

Oct 31, 2018

In The Moment ... October 31, 2018 Show 451 Hour 2

Julia Hellwege, assistant professor of Political Science at the University of South Dakota, says the focus during the final days of the gubernatorial campaign is having a good ground game.

In a conversation with SDPB political reporter Lee Strubinger, Hellwege also discusses the philosophy of political advertising.


In The Moment ... October 25. 2018 Show 448 Hour 2

It's a high-profile race that comes to a head tonight on SDPB-TV, during the second gubernatorial debate between the candidates.

While most of the political stumping has been east river, SDPB's Lee Strubinger has been listening in at some recent campaign stops on the western side of the state.

Modern Gold Exploration In The Black Hills

Oct 18, 2018

In The Moment ... October 18. 2018 Show 444 Hour 2

The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources is granting a third temporary water use permit for gold exploration in the Black Hills.

It allows a Canadian company to pull water from Rapid Creek, west of Rapid City until the end of the year.

Even though it's an early stage in the process, the mining exploration in the Black Hills shows potential.

In The Moment ... September 26. 2018 Show 430 Hour 2

There's a growing new market for some of the state's corn crop – and it's right here in South Dakota.  The U.S. Agriculture Department expects a record corn crop this year.

About half goes to make ethanol , and another thirty percent gets exported.

SDPB's Lee Strubinger reported the last 20 percent is going to feed animal in a growing number of concentrated livestock operations.

We look back at our favorite music releases of 2017, with audio clips of the most memorable songs curated by three of SDPB's music producers/hosts.

We welcome Steve Zwemke, host of No Cover, No Minimum Radio, Karl Gehrke, host of Jazz Nightly, and SDPB reporter (and occasional music critic) Lee Strubinger.

Karl Gehrke's 2017 picks:


Charly Bliss– Guppy

Alvvays – Antisocialites

The Replacements – For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986 

Waxahatchie– Out in the Storm 


Tony Allen – The Source 

In The Moment ... December 6, 2017 Show 234 Hour 2 

SDPB's Lee Strubinger covered Governor Dennis Daugaard's FY19 Budget Address in Pierre. He provides a recap on today's show.

South Dakota state government will have to tighten its belt once again as they head into the 2018 legislative session.

On Tuesday, Governor Dennis Daugaard outlined his vision to fund state government through the rest of his time in office. This upcoming session is his last as governor.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota’s United States Senators say their health care plan is better than the Affordable Care Act. Thursday Senate Republicans released a draft of the highly-anticipated health care overhaul bill.

US Senator Mike Rounds says the Better Care Reconciliation Act is more moderate than the US House health care overhaul bill. He says it's a draft until the congressional budget office scores the bill.

Lee Strubinger / SDPB

High-profile political speakers grabbed headlines this weekend, and politicos followed potential drama at two competing events.

A Bernie Sanders-style Democrat, Keith Ellison, talked to Democrats. Right-wing author David Horowitz offered the keynote to Republicans.

The Best Western Ramkota Hotel complex in Sioux Falls hosted the annual McGovern Day fundraiser for Democrats and the GOP's Freedom Rally. Both events signal a shift in state politics.


South Dakota lawmakers have finalized the state’s budget that starts on July 1, 2017 (Fiscal Year 18). State Senators and Representatives approve of a measure they call the general bill. It lists numbers for all revenues and all budgets in balance.

State Representative David Anderson is chair of House Appropriations.

Melissa Hamersma Sievers / SDPB

The Yankton Sioux Tribal chairman says understanding the misunderstanding between native and non-native cultures is a first step in closing the gap between the two. Robert Flying Hawk addressed the South Dakota legislature Thursday during the second State of the Tribes address.

Flying Hawk calls for unity between state government and the tribes. He says teaching more Native American history will help bridge the cultural divide.

SDPB political reporter Lee Strubinger joins Dakota Midday to provide an update on the lawsuit over Initiated Measure 22. He discusses the controversy, the allegations and the will of South Dakota voters.


SDPB political reporter Lee Strubinger visits about changes in the South Dakota Legislature after last week's election as he joins Lori Walsh on Dakota Midday.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

SDPB reporters Lee Strubinger and Kealey Bultena provide an in-depth look at payday lending issues Amendment U and Initiated Measure 21 after voters made their choice. They also discuss the rejection of Amendment V and how one lawmaker views the strategy of South Dakota voters. 

Dakota Political Junkies Denise Ross and Seth Tupper also join the program for additional discussion of ballot measures and how South Dakotans decided on them.

Melissa Hamersma

Republican U.S. Senator John Thune is keeping his seat in Congress. Thune won a third term in office over Democratic challenger Jay Williams.

Thune says he will do his best to be deserving of the support he received from South Dakota voters. You can hear his full acceptance speech below.


SDPB political reporter Lee Strubinger joins Dakota Midday to discuss Amendment V. Voter approval of Amendment V would change the South Dakota constitution to establish nonpartisan elections. South Dakotans go to the polls on November 8.

Will Mortenson does not work for the Republican Party, as previously noted.