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VOTE411 Voter Guide

State Senator District 17

Description: The South Dakota State Legislature is the legislative branch of the government of South Dakota. It is a bicameral legislative body, consisting of the Senate which has 35 members, and the House of Representatives, which has 70 members. The two houses are similar in most respects; the Senate alone holds the right to confirm gubernatorial appointments to certain offices. The Legislature meets at the South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre. It begins its annual session of the second Tuesday of January each year. The legislative session lasts 40 working days in odd-numbered years, and 35 days working days in even numbered years. Term: 4 consecutive 2 year termsSalary: $6,000 + $142 per legislative dayRequirements for Office: 21 years old; 2 years residency; qualified voter; may not have been convicted of bribery, perjury or other infamous crime; may not have illegally taken "public moneys".Petition Requirements: Depends on party and legislative district. See SD Secretary of State's website for details.

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  • Candidate picture

    Gregory Baldwin
    (LIB)

  • Candidate picture

    Ailee Johns
    (DEM)

  • Arthur Rusch
    (REP)

Biographical Information

What will you do to support the economy throughout our state in the face of international trade conflicts and the COVID-19 pandemic?

What should our state government do to provide an equitable, quality public education for all children?

What would you do for our local governments, such as counties, cities and school boards, so that they can be flexible in responding to local issues?

How do you view the initiative and referendum process in South Dakota? Are there any changes to this system that you would support?

With the redistricting process happening after the 2020 Census, how do you view the legislature’s role in this process and would you support an independent citizen redistricting commission?

What are your plans to protect voter rights such as online or same-day voter registration as well as absentee voting/voting by mail?

As a State Senator there would be little I could do about International Trade, however we certainly could do things to boost our local economy here in South Dakota. I support things like occupational licensing reform, removing barriers to employment. I also support things like tax freezes for newly established small businesses. Certain occupations and industries were hit hard by Covid-19 and I support initiatives that help individuals move into new industries and employment opportunities.
I think we should look at allowing charter schools in South Dakota and other forms of private education that compete with public schools. Due to the Pandemic we are going to be experimenting with different ways of distance learning and new/better ways of educating our children. We should be willing to try new things in education.
The State Governments responsibility is to support local communities/governments not dictate how they are run. Localization is always better than state central planning. I would get the State out of the way in as many ways possible, to allow communities to Govern.
I support the Initiative process. I have collected signatures myself over the past few election cycles. The main thing I would like to see changed, is to allow for an online petition process. With our technology today and with social distancing concerns with Covid, we should be moving to an Online petition system. There really is no reason that voters shouldn't be able to go to the Secretary of State's website and sign petitions, as well as register to vote.
I do not support gerrymandering of districts. I also do not want to grow the size of Government by creating new bureaucracies. If there was a volunteer independent commission i would support it, but not taxpayer funded.
I have always supported Online voter registration, and if elected I would gladly sponsor that bill. I would also support allowing tribal IDs to vote in State elections.
Age 33
My dream for South Dakota is job creation through green initiatives, like wind and solar. We have the land and resources, and the amazing talent that our Universities cultivate, it is all within reach.
The biggest thing we can be doing to provide quality public education for ALL children is to make sure ALL children have a good foundation, and that starts with a state funded pre-K program.
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I've been working with Addison Miller and we started a student organization called "get out the yote" we've teamed with with the ACLU of SD and 7 business downtown Vermillion. We're putting voter registration in everyone's move in packet for on campus housing (2,200) and we have a booth on the 17/18th of August to get the word out to students not living on campus. Then the first week in September the 7 business will each have a day where they're at drop off location for the registration forms in exchange for something (free coffee, free slice of pizza, 20% off a meal etc.) I'm really excited about this project.
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