I am a lifelong resident of South Dakota, and for the last four years, I have enjoyed living in the eastern part of Sioux Falls. My wife, Kathy, and I retired in June 2018 after long careers in public education in the Florence School District, a rural district in the northeast region of the state.
Kathy was a first-grade teacher at Florence Elementary while I served as an administrator for 38 years; the last 28 years there, I was both the high school principal and the district superintendent.
Public education has been an important part of my life from my first days of school in Rutland, South Dakota, where some of family still farms. After graduating from Rutland High School, I attended SDSU, where I earned a B.A. in history and an M.Ed. in school administration, followed by USD, where I earned an Ed.S. in school administration.
As with so many retirees, we relocated to the Sioux Falls area to be closer to our three children who all reside here, as do our three grandchildren who all attend the excellent Brandon Valley school system. In my retirement, I continue to work as a courier for Sanford Health while also spending time with family and friends and enjoying a few of my hobbies, like reading, crosswords, and golfing.
I've always followed news and developments in politics and government closely, and events in the past few years, in particular, have motivated me to get involved by seeking public office.
From the first time I took high school seniors to the capitol for their government class field trip, my fascination with the process of government and lawmaking grew.
I wondered if being a legislator would be something I could do — and be good at. Unfortunately, the life of a public school superintendent and high school principal precluded that from happening until retirement.
After much thought and consideration, I have come up with some issues I feel the South Dakota legislature needs to address and the ways in which they should do so.
We need to focus on continually improving education in South Dakota at all levels to educate, train, and retrain knowledgeable students who are invaluable to our workforce and our communities.
Mental health care needs are an ever-growing concern, particularly given the increased isolation from the last two pandemic years.
South Dakota also needs to do more to care for older adults who require nursing homes or assisted living centers.
South Dakota needs to protect majority rule. We were the first to enshrine the initiative and referendum process in our state constitution in 1898, but there have been multiple attempts to erode the power of this check on the state legislature.
I look forward to working closely with the residents of this district on the issues that are most important to them, and I will continually work hard to serve the best interests of the people of District 2.
As a Democrat I believe the role of government is to perform the duties spelled out in the State’s constitution especially as it affects the great people of this state. I know what it is to work with extremely tight budgets, as it was a major part of my job for 38 years. To accomplish this, one has to be willing to reach out to the citizens of District 2 and listen to their concerns and needs, whether it be about education, health, basic infrastructure services — whatever issues the public believes are most important. I feel I am excellent at listening to the concerns of others and would use this ability to serve District 2.
The past few years have seen the erosion of trust between elected leaders at all levels and the people they are supposed to serve. I support democratic values — equality and fairness, justice and the rule of law, the will of the people and the common good — and want to help restore faith in our democratic institutions that protect these values by representing this district with integrity.