Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

State Representative District 13 {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

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.

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Candidate picture

    Norman B. Bliss
    (DEM)

  • Sue Peterson
    (REP)

  • Kelly A. Sullivan
    (DEM)

  • Richard L Thomason
    (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?

I will support the state economy by investments in education, research, infrastructure, and policies that benefit economic development. I will avoid policies that favor a specific business. The state government can encourage international trade, including hosting trade delegations, although primary responsibility for trade deals is with the Federal government. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic must start with good practices supported by science, including mask wearing, social distancing, and phased re-opening. Testing and contract tracing need to be much stronger than they have been through mid-summer. The state can improve communication with the public on pandemic status, precautions, and responses, including plans for distributing vaccines when they become available. The pandemic has shown the importance of long-term investment in public health infrastructure and staffing.
Full support for K-12 education is critical for the future economic and social development of South Dakota. For too many years, South Dakota has had low rankings for funding education nationally, and compared to neighboring states. Development of the future workforce is one job of the educational system. But we also need a broad education so that students learn to think critically, and make decisions as citizens that take into account the long-term impacts as well as the short term costs and benefits of each decision. We need students that excel in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but we also need a broad understanding of history, geography, and cultural perspectives. Students need exposure to art, music, and theater that will lead to lifelong participation in cultural communities. Support of faculty is key to making the educational systems strong. State funding for post-secondary scholarships should be primarily based on financial need.
Leadership is elected at both the state and local levels, and good communication and trust between the levels will lead to the best overall outcomes. Decisions should be made at the lowest appropriate level. For example, policies for hiring and teacher pay are the responsibility of the local school boards, and adequate appropriations to the school funding formula are the responsibility of the state legislature. The charter structure has allowed the larger cities a strong degree of self-governance. Specific issues will need to be resolved on a case-by-case basis, but the legislature should be very cautious and have full public discussion before taking away rights that have traditionally been held by local governments. This is especially important for rights affecting landowners regarding easements and pollution.
Recent legislative sessions have made the initiative and referendum process more difficult by raising the requirements for the number of signatures and by setting earlier deadlines for filing for these ballot issues. The initiative and referendum process has been a hallmark of the democratic process in South Dakota, and it should not be made more difficult. There have been some bad ballot issues developed by out-of-state interests, but I believe that voters should be trusted to become informed and to make good decisions.
Yes, I support an independent citizen redistricting commission. The responsibility for drawing district boundaries does fall to the legislature under the current constitution, but the temptation to manipulate the system to favor those already in the majority (known as gerrymandering) is very strong. A good approach was a proposal to submit a Constitutional amendment to the voters in the last legislative session. The House Joint Resolution 5002 called for an independent commission guided by rules that favor compact districts and minimizing divisions of counties, municipalities, and census blocks. It would also have provided that “The commission may not use party registration, voting history, or place of residence for any legislative incumbent or candidate to establish a senatorial district.” Unfortunately, that resolution was defeated in committee. The current representation in the South Dakota legislature does not reflect the party affiliations of the voters. We can do better.
Both on-line and same-day voter registration are good. These methods will allow people to register or re-register when they turn 18 or when they move. They will remove obstacles to voting if for some reason a voter has been removed from the rolls. Absentee voting (e.g., at the County Auditor’s Office) or vote by mail (or returning ballots to a drop box) are also good for the democratic process. These are ways to vote that are safe in the time of pandemic, and will increase voter participation. As a legislator I would favor bills that make these methods easier and oppose bills that would make them harder.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.