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State Senator District 18

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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  • Jordan Foos
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Jean Hunhoff
    (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?

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My efforts will be directed to assist existing businesses to weather this new normal. I will be working to prioritize funding for grants/loans to stabilize their business operations. To identify and work toward opportunities to assist unemployed back to the workforce. Continue to create opportunities for new businesses and further enhance agriculture opportunities. Work with tourism to regain the visitors back to SD. Continue to support health care operations so that we can continue to have access and provision of needed services. Funding for all these options will require a priority process that puts the dollars back into our economy for the growth and/or reducing the lost revenue dollars that were the result of closed or scaled back businesses. The business world will not get those dollars back but cannot see more losses but rather rebuilding of finances to support operations.
The government should work in partnership with education in maintaining the necessary standards for educating our children. The Board of Education, Regental System and Associate Technical Colleges need to communicate and collaborate as to what the needs are for entry into post high school education system and how K-12 can prepare our youth for success in a career/professional after high school. Funding is the key as always and that is dependent upon the SD economy in that the dollars to support education come from tax revenue sources. So a strong economy means funding at the statute level. There also needs to be an examination of the demographics of this state in relation to student access to educational curriculum and teachers. Strengthening online education where it is needed and dual credit needs to continue. We need to make sure all students have the tools and access to online education if the new normal now includes online education.
I believe we continue to address local control in the many bills that come forward. The caveat is how much local control because much of the time the debate is the local taxpayer is also a state taxpayer. It seems the issue is about the taxing authority at the local level. Local government is not different than state government it is your elected officials and the interest of the public in what happens at those levels There is not a consensus at the state level as to how much authority should be at the local level. It should be the locals of those governments that are providing the input and we need to get those people more engaged in the process. I do acknowledge that we do create more costs for counties thru the laws we pass. Sixty six counties, many cities and towns, and large and small school districts have uniqueness in their situations. Getting those engaged at the local level with strong and knowledgeable skill sets is a must for carrying their needs to Pierre.
Those that put initiative and referendum in place had the principle of allowing the local citizen to engage in the lawmaking process. It is the opportunity for an individual to make their idea a reality--that is a democracy. Over the years there have been tweaks to those processes to assure that the process is accessible to the citizenry. I view this as a good thing. We need to protect the processes so that they remain a tool for individual thought in this state. They must be achievable and must be carried out in a legal manner. We need to assure that these are South Dakotans that are wanting this change and not outside interested parties looking to our state as a test run for an idea that did not originate in our state. The beginning process comes from within not outside.
I view the role of the legislature as it has been in the process. Bipartisan legislators have experience and knowledge as to population parameters, concerns that need to be assessed for redistricting, input from constituents in their districts and access to resources that assist with the process. Legislators are impacted with the results of the redistricting and it makes sense for them to carry out the process. They have been elected by the people in their district. An independent citizen redistricting commission could come with more bias and external influence based on the selection process. They also may not have the knowledge base that a legislator possesses for decision making on districts.
For the upcoming election there is little that can be done to change any aspect of the process.. We have streamlined the absentee voting process so that is a viable tool for voters. In the recent primary we saw the numbers increase in voters probably associated with the covid pandemic. With the uncertainty of protecting online voting as demonstrated by hacking I don't believe we have the necessary safeguards in place to carry it out. If there are options for easier access for voter registration that safeguards that the voter meets the requirements for voting then we should explore. I am not supportive of same day registration. There has not been sufficient rationale to support that it can be done more efficiently and would be time consuming on a day that already is challenged with limited workers/and appropriate staff to to process the registration. Voting by mail is challenged by timliness especially in the rural areas and could extend result findings which would be challenged..