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State Senator District 33

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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  • David Johnson
    (REP)

  • Candidate picture

    Ryan A. Ryder
    (Dem)

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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I'm answering this on September 3, 2020. Governor Noem has done essentially nothing, and SD currently has the worst spike in new cases. There needs to be an industry-by-industry, region-by-region evaluation, along with mask and social distancing recommendations (good luck getting mandates under the current legislative makeup) for those industries, schools, businesses, etc. that is available to the public. The "do whatever you want" policy statewide is lazy and dangerous. If we get a grip on outbreaks and have plans in place to contact-trace to some degree, it will only help small businesses and the state economy. The international trade conflicts are adding pain to the already hurting state economy. I think now is the time to seriously consider opening up the state emergency funds to support our state industries, schools, and small businesses.
We need to be doing a lot more than we are currently doing. The federal funding that was provided to SD -- along with the "budget surplus" that Governor Noem crowed about to the national media -- should have been directly applied to upgrading and protecting the schools from health outbreaks. Schools are doing the best that they can, despite the lack of real support from our state government. I'm not referring to some sort of overreach. The school districts could still evaluate their individual needs, and particularly how the pandemic outbreak has added challenges to the safe learning environments. Sioux Falls will undoubtedly have different needs than Sturgis School District with regards to health concerns. But saying, "open up!" with no state guidelines doesn't cut it.
This is a broad question. Sometimes, the right answer is "hands off" and let the local governments make their own decisions. Sometimes, the answer might even be to repeal or remove a regulation that is an unforeseen burden to a local community. But sometimes (and my republican colleagues are afraid to say this publicly) the answer might be an increased regulation or law that will shift the burden to the state -- and not to the budget or personnel resources of the local community that is unable to handle enforcement, funding, etc. Environmental and law enforcement concerns come to mind in this regard. The false fear of "overregulation" is just an excuse sometimes to cut corners, increase corporate greed, and stay on the sidelines in state government. Helping communities and local governments requires a balance of these ideas.
I was unhappy at the increased threshold applied to the initiative and referendum process since the last election cycle. I would support a return to this lower threshold. When an issue in important enough for citizens to gather signatures, go into the public forum, and argue their case, their voices should be heard. For too many years, the state legislature has been chipping away at this process, to the point of complete erosion when the legislators hold an emergency session just to overturn the will of the voters. Of course, there are legal challenges and questions that come up from some of these propositions -- but the small elected body in Pierre shouldn't be squashing the initiatives outright.
An independent, non-partisan, citizen redistricting commission is essential. For fun, take a look at the map and view some of the bizarrely gerrymandered districts in South Dakota, and you will see what I mean. Voting, and the importance of every person's vote shouldn't depend on who is currently in power, and how many communities can be "diluted" during the elections. If this a point of contention for anyone reading this, you need to ask yourself what you really believe about America.
Well, the above question on redistricting and gerrymandering is a good start. Further, absentee voting and voting by mail has never been an issue in South Dakota. It has been successful and never really called into question, until the current President decided to try and scare the electorate and gut the postal service. Same-day voter registration should certainly be feasible, based on our current voting system in the state, and precinct records & verification. Online voting may be trickier, due to some of the more rural areas of South Dakota, as well as security concerns. But as with all technological advances, we need to evaluate and look at it, rather than fear the prospect of progress.