The Issues

While I have a variety of interests in seeking to improve state government and exploring ways to reduce the burdens on the average taxpayer, a few areas of special interest include:

bulletRigorous Education - Parts of the national "No Child Left Behind Act" deserve our attention, including the call for challenging curriculums for our students, directed by highly qualified teacher. However, there is too much emphasis on expensive testing and upon punishing, rather than helping, school districts whose students may be underperforming. We also need to ensure that students are well prepared for the challenges after high school, whether that involves furthering their education or entering the work force directly. That includes adequate counseling and career education.  And, as a member of the education subcommittee for the SD Democratic Party, I support the education planks approved at the state convention.
bulletSD Department of Education
bullet No Child Left Behind
bulletNational Center for Education Statistics

 

bulletResponsible Budgeting - If you want someone familiar with operating on a tight budget, ask a non-profit administrator. Government is not a business, but its functions should be carried out in an economical and efficient manner, and the answer to every problem is not necessarily to add more dollars or employees. We need to look at innovative ways to streamline operations, and eliminate unneeded or outdated functions. We also need to conduct the budgeting process in an open and well considered manner, looking at it from a variety of viewpoints, and not limit it to a few individuals or a single party meeting in a backroom in the closing hours of a session. 
bulletSouth Dakota Budget

 

bulletResponsive Government - As a former newspaper reporter, I have experience in dealing with public agencies and ensuring that they handle the public's business in an open and responsible way. That means records should be open for public review to the maximum extent possible. It also means that meetings of governmental agencies -- from school boards to state boards - should be open  and private consultations allowed only to protect an individual employee's privacy or for very limited negotiating sessions. The burden of showing when access is allowed to meetings and records should be upon the government, not the individual citizen. Such openness is the best insurance that operations will be in the best interest of everyone, and not for the benefit of special interests.
bulletSD Legislative Research Council
bulletOffice of the Governor

 

bulletReady to Work -  No one will argue that we need to work constantly for more jobs and better paying jobs in our state. That means funding economic development activities, but it also means insisting that businesses provided incentives for operating in the state should agree to providing reasonable working wages for all employees. We need to encourage the rights of working individuals, while protecting our small businesses and family farms. And, we need to make sure our workforce receives the education and training to handle the demands of modern corporations.
bulletSD Labor Market Information Center
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