Austin Goss/Dakota News Now - State Legislative Candidate Survey
1. Tell us about yourself.
I am a lifelong South Dakotan who grew up in Rapid City. I have lived in District 11 for 30 years with my husband Blake, a retired veteran who served 35 years in the Air National Guard, and our 3 children who attended public school in District 11. I have worked for the Sioux Falls School District as an Education Assistant for almost 15 years. I love assisting teachers in classrooms and helping students be successful socially, emotionally and academically.
2. Why are you running for office?
I would like a chance to go to Pierre to work with others who share a love for South Dakota and the people who live here. Like many people in our state, I've become frustrated with special interest groups, political ambitions and indifference getting in the way of meaningful and relevant legislation that South Dakotans need and want. I believe we can work together to find common sense solutions to modern problems to make this state a better home for everyone.
3. What would be your top three priorities if elected?
Education, quality of life, and common sense legislation. My top priority would be supporting and improving public education at all levels. South Dakota is a great place to live, work and raise a family. However, according to national statistics and reports, our state continues to be ranked near the bottom for public education. Quality education from pre-K through post high school equals better outcomes and solutions for our state.
4. What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
I am not a career politician. I am an average South Dakotan who has the willingness, determination and desire to create positive change in our state. In order to do this, I will work to build strong working relationships with other representatives based on honest, transparent communication. Before I vote on legislation, I promise to listen to those affected by proposed legislation, conduct fair, impartial research and consult experts when needed.
5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen?
Yes. Legislators in Pierre need to keep in mind WHO and WHAT is being taxed. Every person and entity should be paying their fair share. If elected, I promise to fight for smart and frugal spending of the taxpayer dollars.
6. Housing availability has become an issue for many South Dakotans. How would you seek to make housing more affordable?
This is a very complex issue that will require work in many different areas. However, it is important to note that housing becomes more affordable when wages are higher.
7. South Dakota correctional facilities have been dealing with a number of issues, most prominent among them overcrowding and staff shortages. What would you do to help combat these issues?
Building additional prisons is expensive. Money should be invested in programs that help provide marketable skills. In most circumstances, nonviolent offenders should be placed on house arrest or parole. The person would remain employed and with their families while receiving rehabilitation services.
8. What steps should the legislature take to entice young people to remain in the state?
Legislators need to find ways to expand opportunities in our state. Ensuring access to education and training and increasing employment opportunities is a good place to start. We need to attract jobs that match the degrees and certifications offered in our state.
9. Do you support any changes to the way elections are run in South Dakota?
The current primary election format needs to be reformed. The purpose of the primary election is to select the candidates to run in the general election. In this year’s election, almost one-third of the legislative seats in our state will be decided in the Republican primaries, not by all voters in the state.
10. A U.S. Supreme Court decision is looming on a landmark abortion case that could ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade. Governor Kristi Noem has indicated she would like to ban abortion outright, and a “trigger law” already on the books would so, with only an exception in place when the mother’s life is at risk. Do you support banning abortion to this extent? If not, what exceptions would you like to see made?
I do not support banning abortion. The decision to have an abortion is between a woman, her doctor and her family. Our government has no right to interfere in this personal decision. If Roe v Wade is overturned, abortion should be an option if the mother’s life is at risk or if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.
11. What is your stance on legalized, recreational marijuana in South Dakota?
My opinion on this issue does not matter. The people of South Dakota have spoken. We voted and we will vote again. I assume voters will pass a measure in November to legalize recreational marijuana, again. A lot of time and money has been wasted. The legislation was ruled unconstitutional because it covered multiple subjects. More care and thought should be put into writing the laws once passed. We must avoid these situations whenever possible.