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VOTE411 Voter Guide

United States Senator

Description: U.S. Senators are members of the Senate, one of two parts of the United States Congress (The House of Representatives being the other). The citizens of each state elect two Senators to serve 6 years terms. The Senate as a whole has many duties and responsibilities. Some of these include writing and passing laws, approving many presidential appointments, and ratifying treaties with other countries. In addition, individual Senators play many roles. These roles include being official members of the government, representing the people that elected them, and being members of a political party.Term: 6 yearsSalary: $174,000Requirements for Office: 30 years old, 9 years a citizen of U.S., inhabitant of state when elected.Petition Requirements: Republican: 1% of the vote for the 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate (1,730), Democrat: 1% of the vote for the 2018 democratic gubernatorial candidate (1,615), Libertarian: 50 signatures, Independent: 1% of the total vote for governor in 2018 (3,393), New Political Party: 250 signatures

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    Dan Ahlers
    (DEM)

  • Mike Rounds
    (REP)

Biographical Information

How will you work to secure elections from interference while protecting voter rights?

How will you stand with farm and ranch families as well as consumers to promote our agricultural economy in the face of challenging weather, international trade conflicts, and the COVID-19 pandemic?

Please explain your view of the role of the federal government during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please explain how you would change U.S. immigration policies or why you believe U.S. immigration policies do not need to be changed. Include the impact on our workforce here in South Dakota including temporary agricultural and non-agricultural employees.

Please explain why you do or do not support efforts to enforce strong clean air and clean water standards in America.

With the trillions of dollars that have been allocated to COVID-19 relief on top of our current national debt, how will you work to reduce the debt? What programs will be affected?

Congress should help ensure that states have the funding to upgrade voting machines and registration databases. Most of our current electronic voting devices are at least 10 years old. Some of the parts for these machines are no longer manufactured.

The federal government should conduct regular post-election audits and undertake continuous threat assessments and remediation. The creation of a cybersecurity framework would provide clear and direct guidance to our election officials.

We should require paper ballots.It provides a tangible record of the voter's choices and ensures election results are recorded accurately. Paper ballots also aid in the auditing process.
Weather creates a constant challenge for agriculture. Investing in infrastructure can improve roads, bridges and dams that have been impacted by recent flooding. Promoting and investing in better land management practices like cover crops, no-till farming and buffer strips will help improve soil, water and air quality.

Most of the negative impact resulting from our ongoing trade war with China could have been avoided. Good business practices dictate that you find other trading partners before cutting ties or negotiating with current partners. This approach allows you to negotiate from a place of strength.

The Covid-19 pandemic has us planning many times for the unknown. Flexible loan/grant programs for farmers and ranchers will allow them to create a plan and business model that promotes success.
The federal government should have a strategic plan for these types of crises. The response to a health care crisis like Covid-19 should be quicker to mitigate spread and maintain a stable economy. It should provide guidance and funding to states and key players like hospitals and emergency medical service providers. Most importantly, the federal government should have a unified message to its citizens based on the advice of experts in the medical field.
I believe we need a clear path to citizenship for those covered under DACA. We could improve enforcement of visa overstays. These people become undocumented immigrants for a variety of reasons. Most undocumented immigrants came to the United States lawfully.

Work visas and immigration are important to South Dakota's agricultural economy. In South Dakota, we have more jobs available than people to fill these positions. Many of our dairies and processing plants depend on immigrants and work visas to have the workforce needed to operate.
The air we breathe and the water we drink are both vital components of good health. Increases in air pollution have been linked to decreases in lung function and increases in heart attacks. Clean water protects your brain, heart and promotes good kidney function.
Additional Covid relief funding should involve investments in infrastructure. Good infrastructure is vital to a robust economy. These projects typically have a financial return on investment and can prevent costly maintenance in the future.

The federal government should require departments to go through the LEAN process. The LEAN process is a method for eliminating wasteful practices and improving efficiency. We have used this process in South Dakota state government to reduce cost and allowing us to provide more with the same dollars.

As a former legislator and member of the Appropriations Committee, I would review department spending and priorities before making any determination on possible cuts. It's important to make budget decisions based on information and not personal opinions.
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