‘Defund Ukraine’ billboard goes up in downtown Rapid City

On March 22 a billboard went up in downtown Rapid City on 5th and Omaha street, reading “Defund Ukraine”
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:44 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -On February 24 of 2022, the World witnessed Russia invade Ukraine. According to whitehouse.gov “The United States, alongside our allies and partners, did not hesitate to stand with them.”

A little over a year later, on March 22 a billboard went up in downtown Rapid City on 5th and Omaha street, reading “Defund Ukraine.”

Tim Torpey is a retired Air Force officer and did a tour in Iraq. Torpey is a part of a veterans’ group that feels the United States should be focusing on their own people and not on the war in the Ukraine.

“I think at this time with as many things as we have going on in our own country, talking about jobs, with interest rates, everything in the economy, we should just not be sending money over to Ukraine,” said Tim Torpey, billboard funder.

Torpey said the location for this sign was sought out specifically.

“Well one of the reasons I did it is it’s right down the street from (Senator Mike) Round’s office,” said Torpey.

Wayne Swier did two tours in Afghanistan and the last one resulted in him losing his leg.

Swier said putting up the billboard is their way of getting involved in this situation.

“This is our way of getting our voices heard as a veteran community, as a South Dakota community, and saying, ‘hey enough is enough guys.’ As our representatives when we call you and ask a question I expect an answer,” said Swier.

Swier and Torpey both said they have reached out to Senators (R) John Thune and (R) Mike Rounds but had not received an answer from either party. The two men want to know if the senators think republicans should focus on Ukraine.

“And I thought to myself ‘wow that’s a pretty bold statement.’ So, I called Thune’s office it’s a simple question yes or no, does the senator feel that way?” said Torpey.

“They won’t even answer simple questions when we ask if is Ukraine going to be the primary focal point of the republicans coming up in 2023. They won’t give us a straight answer, they won’t even give us any answer,” said Swier.

We reached out to both Senators, but neither was available for comment