Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

State Representative District 17 {_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

    Caitlin F. Collier
    (DEM)

  • Sydney Davis
    (REP)

  • Candidate picture

    Al Leber
    (DEM)

  • Richard Vasgaard
    (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?

Age 64
South Dakota has long depended on agriculture as an economic base, and that will not change soon, however, alternating drought and flooding, exacerbated by climate change, along with increasing summer heat, increased water use and market changes, require a responsive state government that is open and supportive of new ideas. Getting South Dakota into the hemp market was one of those, but there are more. Covid-19 has taken a toll on retail business and restaurants, but the federal government response has been slow and insufficient. Our economic development dollars should be used to help existing local businesses get through this pandemic. However, this pandemic has also shown the gaps that exist in our overall economy, including the need to build up local manufacturing and industry. We should be looking for ways to support the solar energy industry, which would mean using free natural resources, growing jobs, and providing more reliable power in rural areas.
First, pay state teachers what we promised them we would. Especially now, when they are putting their lives and health at risk, they should be receiving equitable pay. Second, support and fund early childhood education, giving all children in this state a solid educational base. Third, get rid of some of the educational mandates that have been pushed into the statutes and require civics (the actual study of government and citizen involvement, not just Constitutions) in high schools. Asking teachers to be responsible for our children's character is unreasonable, and abstinence education does not work. How we educate our children is changing. We cannot be certain exactly what K-12 will look like in coming years, but another lesson of this pandemic is the need to prepare for potential emergencies.
The means for these governmental units to address local issues is money. State government should be funding local planning for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change. Most counties are dealing with failing infrastructure and need money for repairs and replacements. And schools need more money. Money means taxes. Between sales and property taxes, most people feel tapped-out, as South Dakota's median income of $56,499 (2018) does not reflect the numerous pockets of poverty throughout the state. I support a corporate income tax as a means of increasing state revenues.
The initiative and referendum process is vital to our democracy. Without I & R, there is little recourse when the people and the legislature are not in agreement. Yes, individual legislators can be voted out, but that is cumbersome. The changes made over the past years by the Republican-controlled legislature not only went against the wishes of a majority of South Dakotans, those changes have made it more difficult for the process to be used. I would support repealing most of the past changes to these statutes.
I believe that there is gerrymandering in South Dakota and it may get worse if South Dakota does not adopt non-partisan approaches to redistricting. The creation of an independent citizen redistricting commission would be an excellent choice.
Many, many other states have adopted voter-positive laws, such as same-day voter registration or voter/driver license registration. Not all of these approaches make sense for a rural state such as South Dakota, but we should be looking at them. I would support a Summer Committee study on some of these laws and legitimate ways to make voting easier. We already have absentee voting without excuse. What we need now is infrastructure to make it more convenient, and reliable. Assuming that the federal postal system will not be destroyed, absentee voting by mail will continue to be important.
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.
Age 74
Support the development of added agricultural products (such as hemp) and additional trade partners. Also support investment in state's infrastructures along with increased statewide internet bandwidth.
Continue to increase funding for public schools, and oppose any legislative action that supports a voucher system. The legislative body must strive to place a higher emphasis on sustained school funding which allows school district the ability to adequately plan for the success of their districts, rather than waiting until the last day of the session to give the financial scraps of the budget to school districts.
I support local control for counties, cities, and particularly school boards. Sometimes one-size fits all legislative laws are inadequate and often overbearing on these entities.
The biggest change that I see is that often a measure fails, and is brought back several times. I think if a measure has failed twice, then there should be a moratorium for several election cycles before it can be referred again.
I would support an independent citizen redistricting commission, however I in this partisan environment that we are currently in, i think it will be hard to find those citizens who are truly independent in their thinking.I
I support absentee voting including mail-in voting. I also support a change in the current law to allow for electronic submission of voter registration forms along with same-day registration (with proof of ID).
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.