Issues

  • Agriculture

    Let’s maximize our billions of dollars of unprocessed ag products. We export millions of bushels of grain that could be processed in South Dakota. We export hundreds of thousands of cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry where the producers lose the majority of the available profits from that animal. There are solutions to those issues without overreaching government. Our state can pave the way for those producers to employ people here in South Dakota without drawing in businesses that simply consume profits and send them out of state.

  • Budget

    Dollars drive policy decisions. Those decisions should be a shared effort between the Executive and Legislative branches. For the past several decades, agencies have been required to make their requests only to the Executive. That needs to change. Those requests must be delivered to both the Executive and the Legislative branch at the same time. Without the Legislature knowing the agency needs early in the process it becomes nearly impossible to effectively shape ongoing effectiveness of the agency’s duties.

    Taxpayer dollars should never become the ‘cookie jar’ open to either the Governor or the Legislature. The role of government is to be limited, and tax revenue is a sacred trust that should be treated with the respect we would have toward our neighbor.

    Federal dependency can be limited. Presently, we are a ‘welfare state’. South Dakota’s budget is approximately $5 Billion dollars, yet we generate only $2 Billion of those dollars in revenue and are dependent upon Federal debt dollars to ‘balance the budget’ and make up the difference. The bulk of that deficit involves social services, and that load can be lightened by engaging our communities. Much of the farm subsidies would see a decline if we ‘harvest’ more of the profits by creating the final product closer to home.

  • Corrections

    We have neglected the necessary budgeting not only for prison security and reform, but also for probation and parole services that are the key to reducing recidivism.

  • Education

    Why do we revisit school funding nearly every year in the Session? The answer to that question is because we have failed to create a funding formula that takes the variables into account and because we have shifted too much responsibility to the central control of the state while ignoring the more successful option of local control. In this age of technology there are even greater opportunities for our students to thrive, but we have chosen to create silos of authority that inhibit creative solutions.

    Higher education has also gone the way of the national trend toward ‘letters’ as opposed to practical and employable skills. Our completion rates for college-age students have floated around 60% for years, but the costs have skyrocketed. In what other area of life do we reward a 40% failure rate with administrator salaries that rival the salary of the President of the United States? There needs to be some course corrections in expenditures as well as planning for the future. Thankfully, there has been some recognition of the changing needs in employment, but there are still improvements to be made and the role of the state has its limits.

  • Game Fish and Parks

    The state’s natural resources are a ‘crown jewel’ of South Dakota. Better long-term planning will not only preserve those resources but maximize the use and enjoyment available to residents and visitors alike. A thorough review of the agency’s goals and budgeting is overdue.

  • Governor’s Hunt

    South Dakota has enjoyed the reputation of being the “Pheasant Capitol of the World’ and that has been an important part of our economy for many decades. A tradition of showcasing that title has been the “Governor’s Hunt” based out of Pierre. Hunting is enjoyed throughout the state and it should never become a platform for one person to draw attention to themselves. When an individual seeks to elevate themselves above the office then respect for that office, and its limits, is lost.

  • Health and Human Services

    We have over 70 beds closed at the Human Services Center in Yankton. We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per person at some facilities while underpaying staff at others. A comprehensive review of the available facilities and workforce will be completed immediately under my administration. The issues are well known, but resolution of those issues has been stalled due to lack of leadership. Stability of the communities offering some of those services can be achieved with necessary changes of use as well as necessary adjustments to compensation to retain the workforce.

  • Life

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our founding documents and our heritage are constant reminders that we owe a duty of respect to our fellow man. ‘Right to life’ exists from conception to the moment of natural death. To claim any other possibility opens the door to ‘quality of life’ issues and to the possibility that another will judge your worthiness to exist.

  • Make Decisions based on Science and Transparent Data

    The governor did issue “mandates” and “stay-at-home orders”: See the attached Executive Orders. Those Orders are independently available on the Secretary of State’s website at https://sdsos.gov/general-information/executive-actions/executive-orders/search/Default.aspx Those Orders DID effectively shut down South Dakota just like nearly every other state. Remember businesses closed or limited? Remember big box stores were open but ‘mom and pop’ stores were closed. Remember churches changed their meetings to online? Remember our schools were closed? Remember nationwide CDC requirements were imposed? Remember federal funding that was intended to help some of our local businesses survive, but those funds were not released until the governor called the Special Session granting herself the authority to distribute those funds after all the financial damage was done?

    governor Noem made poor decisions that created bad policy. We need leadership that is truly transparent, who will turn down the fear factor, who will disclose all of the data, who will have cutting edge discussions about actual solutions whether that be masks, vaccines, natural immunities, or frank discussions about true preventative measures, not someone who just blindly follows the crowd and then claims otherwise when the ‘political winds’ shift.

  • Social Services

    The motto of the Department of Social Services is “Strong families are South Dakota’s future”. Sadly, we have not fully taken advantage of the opportunities to engage our communities in solving problems that some families are experiencing. There are very capable private organizations, churches, and community organizations that stand ready, willing, and able to address family issues. We need to tap into those resources and rein in the ‘nanny state’.

  • Second Amendment

    Every citizen has the constitutional right to protect themselves and their family. That right exists in regard to the private right to ‘keep and bear arms.’ Our founders understood that evil people and political tyrants are part of our world. We must always be vigilant to protect those rights.

  • Tourism

    The Department of Tourism has done a tremendous job of marketing for South Dakota over the past many years. We can enhance that by ensuring our primary tourist areas are not closed due to a lack of workforce. There are recruitment tools available and other tourism opportunities that have not yet been used. Our ‘home’ should be available for those who will appreciate its beauty.

  • Vaccine Mandates

    Regardless of anyone’s political affiliation, the Government should never be in a position to demand citizens do anything other than refrain from committing crimes. Even in the midst of healthcare crises there is not a surrendering of one’s right to autonomy. Citizens should never be compelled to receive an injection of any substance. During my service as Speaker of the House in 2020 I requested the Department of Health provide to the public reporting as to the severity of the reported infections. That was never done. The only detail of reports was to indicate whether infected persons were ultimately hospitalized. Of the hundreds of thousands who were infected we only knew of those who were ultimately hospitalized. Of those who died while infected with COVID-19 we never heard of reliable distinctions between those who actually died of the infection as opposed to those who died due to underlying causes.

    Since the discovery of the Corona Virus of 2019 there has been little to no consistency in the delivery of reliable information as to the gravity of the infections. I asked our Secretary of Health to give us real data such as a) how many people are infected, and b) how many are suffering no symptoms, mild symptoms, moderate symptoms, or severe symptoms. The Secretary never produced that breakdown of information, so the public was left with fear instead of facts.

    Also, there has been no state in the nation which sought to gather information as to the acquisition of natural immunities and to then recognize that the goal of ‘immunity’ was then achieved…without the need for an additional vaccine.

    (Emails were sent to the Secretary of Health in 2020. Request for a Special Session to gather further information was sent to the Governor in September, 2021. See attached letter. There has been no response.)

  • Transparency

    There are very few, if any, parts of government at any level that need to be kept under wraps, certainly not expenditures of public funds by either the Executive or Legislative branches. I pledge to disclose all expenditures of state funds. I also pledge to examine past practices and ensure that elected leaders are not granted a special protected status going forward.

  • Balance of Power

    Our state’s form of government is a ‘republic’. That means the only way it will function best is when there exists a balance of power between the three branches of government, along with active citizen involvement. In the past fifty years there has developed an imbalance due to the expansion of terms of service for the Governor from two years to four years in the 1970s, along with the shifting of responsibility for the budget which occurred in the 1980s. The Legislature still has a final vote in regard to the budget, but it is merely a ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ vote without a true opportunity to impact agency policy. And, that vote is typically the last one of the entire Session, so either the budget passes, or the Legislature remains in Session at an impasse. The average Legislator has very little opportunity to change that final Bill.

    Term limits of elected officials carries with it pros and cons. Legislators are elected for only two years at a time. Governors are elected for four years with the opportunity to serve a total of eight years. That, too, tips the balance of power further in the direction of the Executive. Ultimately, state agency employees (bureaucrats) and lobbyists are the only people impacting state government who have unlimited years of service and influence. That has also pushed the balance of power in the direction of the Executive. All of that can change with a Governor who recognizes and respects the vital role of the Legislators who are the direct voice of the people.

We need leadership that is truly transparent. We need a governor who will reject the politics of fearmongering, who will disclose all of the data, who will have cutting edge discussions about actual solutions, taking into consideration real scientific evidence, not merely the dictates of the CDC or the White House. 

 

The governor did issue “mandates” and “stay-at-home orders” during the COVID-19 crisis. Those Orders are independently available on the Secretary of State’s website

Those Orders DID effectively shut down South Dakota just like nearly every other state. Businesses were closed or limited, and worst of all, big box stores were allowed to remain open but small businesses and ‘mom and pop’ shops were closed. Churches were forced to move services online; schools were closed; nationwide CDC requirements were imposed. In a terrible failure of leadership, the federal funding that was intended to help some of our local businesses survive was not released until the governor called a Special Session granting HERSELF the authority to distribute those funds—long after after all the financial damage was done.

Governor Noem made poor decisions that created bad policy. 

Let’s maximize our billions of dollars of unprocessed ag products. We export millions of bushels of grain that could be processed in South Dakota. We export hundreds of thousands of cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry where the producers lose the majority of the available profits from that animal. There are solutions to those issues without overreaching government. Our state can pave the way for those producers to employ people here in South Dakota without drawing in businesses that simply consume profits and send them out of state.

Dollars drive policy decisions. Those decisions should be a shared effort between the Executive and Legislative branches. For the past several decades, agencies have been required to make their requests only to the Executive. That needs to change. Those requests must be delivered to both the Executive and the Legislative branch at the same time. Without the Legislature knowing the agency needs early in the process it becomes nearly impossible to effectively shape ongoing effectiveness of the agency’s duties.

Taxpayer dollars should never become the ‘cookie jar’ open to either the Governor or the Legislature. The role of government is to be limited, and tax revenue is a sacred trust that should be treated with the respect we would have toward our neighbor.

Federal dependency can be limited. Presently, we are a ‘welfare state’. South Dakota’s budget is approximately $5 Billion dollars, yet we generate only $2 Billion of those dollars in revenue and are dependent upon Federal debt dollars to ‘balance the budget’ and make up the difference. The bulk of that deficit involves social services, and that load can be lightened by engaging the communities. Much of the farm subsidies would see a decline if we ‘harvest’ more of the profits by creating the final product closer to home.

Why do we revisit school funding nearly every year in the Session? It is because: a) we have failed to create a funding formula that takes all the variables into account, and b) because we have shifted too much responsibility to the central control of the state while ignoring the more successful option of local control. 

In this age of technology there are even greater opportunities for our students to thrive, but we have chosen to centralize authority, which inhibits flexibility and creative solutions.

Furthermore, we need to reemphasize practical and employable skills in higher education. The costs of higher education have skyrocketed. In what other area of life do we reward a 40% failure rate with administrator salaries that rival or surpass the salary of the President of the United States? There needs to be some course corrections in the role the state government plays in all aspects of education.

I will not bow to the demands of powerful lobbyists, special interests, the Chamber of Commerce, Big Tech, or any other group that demands we sacrifice our right to raise our children free of radical left-wing indoctrination. I will oppose Critical Race Theory in our classrooms, and will fight to ban boys from playing on girls’ sports teams and being in girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms. 

Every citizen has the constitutional right to protect themselves and their family. That right exists in regard to the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. We must always be vigilant to protect that right.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our founding documents and our heritage are constant reminders that we owe a duty of respect to our fellow man and his or her inherent human dignity. The right to life exists from conception to the moment of natural death. To claim any other possibility opens the door to ‘quality of life’ issues and to the possibility that another will judge your worthiness to exist.

We have neglected the necessary budgeting not only for prison security and reform, but also for probation and parole services that are the key to reducing recidivism.

The state’s natural resources are a ‘crown jewel’ of South Dakota. Better long-term planning will not only preserve those resources but maximize the use and enjoyment available to residents and visitors alike. A thorough review of the agency’s goals and budgeting is overdue.

We have over 70 beds closed at the Human Services Center in Yankton. We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per person at some facilities while underpaying staff at others. A comprehensive review of the available facilities and workforce will be completed immediately under my administration. The issues are well known, but resolution of those issues has been stalled due to lack of leadership. Stability of the communities offering some of those services can be achieved with necessary changes of use as well as necessary adjustments to compensation to retain the workforce.

The motto of the Department of Social Services is “Strong families are South Dakota’s future.” Sadly, we have not fully taken advantage of opportunities to engage our communities in solving problems that many families are experiencing. We also need to engage the many very capable private organizations, churches, and community organizations that stand ready, willing, and able to assist with family issues in areas which are not the role of government to address. 

The Department of Tourism has done a tremendous job of marketing for South Dakota over the past many years. We can enhance that by ensuring our primary tourist areas are not closed due to a lack of workforce. There are recruitment tools available and other tourism opportunities that have not yet been used. Our home should be available for those who will appreciate its beauty.

Even in the midst of a healthcare crisis American citizens retain a right to their individual bodily autonomy. Citizens should never be compelled to receive a medical procedure, including an injection of any substance. 

During my service as Speaker of the House in 2020 I requested the Department of Health provide to the public reporting as to the severity of the reported infections. That was never done. The only detail of reports was to indicate whether infected persons were ultimately hospitalized. Of the hundreds of thousands who were infected we only knew of those who were ultimately hospitalized. Of those who died while infected with COVID-19 we never heard of reliable distinctions between those who actually died of the infection as opposed to those who died due to other underlying causes or preexisting conditions.

Since the discovery of the Coronavirus of 2019 there has been little to no consistency in the delivery of reliable information as to the gravity of the infections. I asked our Secretary of Health to give us real data such as a) how many people are infected, and b) how many are suffering no symptoms, mild symptoms, moderate symptoms, or severe symptoms. The Secretary never produced that breakdown of information, so the public was left with fear instead of facts.

Also, there has been no state in the nation which sought to gather information as to the acquisition of natural immunities. 

There are very few, if any, parts of government at any level that need to be kept shrouded in secrecy. There should be total transparency as to expenditures of public funds by either the Executive or Legislative branches. 

I pledge to disclose all expenditures of state funds. I also pledge to examine past practices and ensure that elected leaders are not granted a special protected status going forward.

We need leadership that is truly transparent. We need a governor who will reject the politics of fearmongering, who will disclose all of the data, who will have cutting edge discussions about actual solutions, taking into consideration real scientific evidence, not merely the dictates of the CDC or the White House. The governor  issued “mandates” and “stay-at-home orders” during the COVID-19 crisis. Those orders are independently available on the Secretary of State’s website. Those orders effectively shut down South Dakota just like nearly every other state. Businesses were closed or limited, and worst of all, big box stores were allowed to remain open but small businesses and ‘mom and pop’ shops were closed. Churches were forced to move services online; schools were closed; nationwide CDC requirements were imposed. In a terrible failure of leadership, the federal funding that was intended to help some of our local businesses survive was not released until the governor called a Special Session granting herself the authority to distribute those funds—long after after all the financial damage was done. Governor Noem made poor decisions that created bad policy.

I will not bow to the demands of powerful lobbyists, special interests, the Chamber of Commerce, Big Tech, or any other group that demands we sacrifice our right to raise our children free of radical left-wing indoctrination. I will oppose Critical Race Theory in our classrooms and will fight to ban boys from playing on girls’ sports teams and being in girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms. 

The government should never be in a position to demand citizens do anything other than refrain from committing crimes. One's fundamental rights cannot be suspended or superseded by a healthcare crisis. Citizens should never be compelled to receive medical treatments without their consent, or without recourse to a religious exemption or medical exemption. During my series as Speaker of the House in 2020, I requested the Department of Health provide to the public real data regarding as to the severity of the reported infections. That was never done. Of the hundreds of thousands who were infected we only knew of those who were ultimately hospitalized. Of those who died while infected with COVID-19 we never heard of reliable distinctions between those who actually died of the infection as opposed to those who died due to underlying causes. The Secretary of Health never provided enough detailed information, so the public was left with fear instead of facts.

Let’s maximize our billions of dollars of unprocessed agriculture products. We export millions of bushels of grain that could be processed in South Dakota. We export hundreds of thousands of cattle, hogs, sheep, and poultry and the producers lose the majority of the available profits. There are solutions to those issues without overreaching government. Our state can pave the way for those producers to employ people here in South Dakota without drawing in businesses that simply consume profits and send them out of state.

Taxpayer dollars should never become the ‘cookie jar’ open to either the governor or the legislature. The role of government is to be limited, and tax revenue is a sacred trust that should be treated with the respect we would have toward our neighbor.

 

Dollars drive policy decisions. Those decisions should be a shared effort between the executive and legislative branches. For the past several decades, agencies have been required to make their requests only to the executive. That needs to change. Those requests must be delivered to both the executive and the legislative branch at the same time in order to effectively align the budget with agency needs.

 

Federal dependency can be limited. Presently, we are a ‘welfare state’. South Dakota’s budget is approximately 5 billion dollars, yet we generate only 2 billion of those dollars in revenue and are dependent upon federal debt dollars to ‘balance the budget’ and make up the difference. The bulk of that deficit involves social services, and that load can be lightened by engaging the communities. Much of the farm subsidies would see a decline if we ‘harvest’ more of the profits by creating the final product closer to home.

Why do we revisit school funding nearly every year in the Session? Because there is too much central control at the state level and not enough local control over education planning and spending. Our schools must must fit the needs of the students they serve. In this age of technology there are even greater opportunities for our students to thrive, but we have chosen to create silos of authority that inhibit creative solutions.

 

Higher education has also gone the way of the national trend toward ‘letters’ as opposed to practical and employable skills. Our completion rates for college age students have floated around 60% for years, but the costs have skyrocketed. In what other area of life do we reward a 40% failure rate with administrator salaries that rival the salary of the President of the United States? We must cut unnecessary expenditures for higher education and plan strategically for the future.

Every citizen has the constitutional right to protect themselves and their family. That right exists in regard to the private right to ‘keep and bear arms’. Our founders understood that evil people and political tyrants are part of our world. We must always be vigilant to protect those rights.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our founding documents and our heritage are constant reminders that we owe a duty of respect to our fellow man. That ‘right to life’ exists from conception to the moment of natural death. 

We have neglected the necessary budgeting not only for prison security and reform, but also for probation and parole services that are the key to reducing recidivism.

The state’s natural resources are a ‘crown jewel’ of South Dakota. Better long-term planning will not only preserve those resources but maximize their use and enjoyment available to residents and visitors alike. A thorough review of the agency’s goals and budgeting is overdue.

We have over 70 beds closed at the Human Services Center in Yankton. We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per person at some facilities while underpaying staff at others. A comprehensive review of the available facilities and workforce will be completed immediately under my administration. The issues are well known, but resolution of those issues has been stalled due to lack of leadership. Stability of the communities offering some of those services can be achieved with necessary changes of use as well as necessary adjustments to compensation to retain the workforce.

The motto of the Department of Social Services is “Strong families are South Dakota’s future.” Sadly, we have not fully taken advantage of opportunities to engage our communities in solving problems that many families are experiencing. We also need to engage the many very capable private organizations, churches, and community organizations that stand ready, willing, and able to assist with family issues in areas which are not the role of government to address. 

The Department of Tourism has done a tremendous job of marketing for South Dakota over the past many years. We can enhance that by ensuring our primary tourist areas are not closed due to a lack of workforce. There are recruitment tools available and other tourism opportunities that have not yet been used. Our home should be available for those who will appreciate its beauty.

There are very few, if any, parts of government at any level that need to be kept shrouded in secrecy. There should be total transparency as to expenditures of public funds by either the executive or legislative branches. 

I pledge to disclose all expenditures of state funds. I also pledge to examine past practices and ensure that elected leaders are not granted a special protected status going forward.

As Speaker of the House, I appointed myself to the Tribal Relations Committee to ensure that there would be progress in issues that matter to the nine tribes within our state. As a result, the annual State of the Tribes speech was highlighted by the presence of leadership from EIGHT of the nine tribes that day in the House chamber, something that had never happened before. I have enjoyed a good and respectful relationship with the tribes, but the current administration has found conflict with the tribes over pipelines, pandemic protections, and school curriculum content. There are solutions to each of those issues. I will restore that relationship from the governor’s office as I did as Speaker.

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