District 29 and 33 candidates discuss agriculture, education, accountability
PIEDMONT, S.D. – Election Day is on the horizon, where the South Dakota will choose a new governor, senator and a variety of State House representatives and senators.
Candidates for the State House and Senate are holding events all over the state to get their message out and to reach out to voters in the waning days of the election. On Sunday, several of them held a public forum at the American Legion in Piedmont.
In districts 29 and 33, a number of incumbents are looking to keep their seats from new Democratic and Republican opponents. Economic growth, environmental issues and health care were at the front of the conversation.
Many, like District 29 House Candidate Jane Addison, touted their ability to bring a fresh voice and a new perspective to the capitol.
“When we get our own egos involved, we tend to forget that the people who voted for us are who we’re there for,” said Addison. “That’s my biggest issue. I want to be able to represent the people that are in my district.”
Almost all talked about the need to balance the budget and focus on policies that would create sustainable economic growth in West River. Others, like Senate District 33 Candidate Ryan Ryder, spoke of the need to focus on the state’s economy instead of divisive social issues.
“Community issues that don’t deal with the budget that aren’t the reason we’re sent to Pierre,” said Ryder. “Going after the LGBT community, going after welfare recipients in terms of testing.”
Both Democratic and Republican candidates agreed on the need to hold mining companies accountable in case they ever go bankrupt.
“I think it’s important to protect that area so we still have an area in the Black Hills where we can enjoy ourselves,” said House District 33 Candidate Lilias Jarding.
“I think every chance we get, we need to add value to our products” said House District 29 Candidate Tom Brunner. “Instead of wheat and corn going downstream, we need to keep it here and feed a lot of those commodities here and create some wealth here.”
One of the hot topics was balancing school funding and fair property taxes, something many candidates on the trail have discussed. The legislature previously passed a half-cent sales tax to support teachers, but with new revenue coming into the state from online sales tax, lawmakers need to decide how it will affect the budget.
“To require remote sellers to submit sales tax, that will have an impact on that issue also,” said Senate District 29 Candidate Gary Cammack.”
The election is on Nov. 6.