"I am a fifth generation resident of Lawrence County. My first job, at the age of five, was working the salad bar for my parents at Margie's Dinner Club when bus tours came through to attend the Black Hills Passion Play. I punched a time card, and my dad told me that's how I earned my tuition for college. Everything I learned as a member of a family of small business owners - the value of free enterprise, hard work, formal and practical education, fiscal responsibility and common sense - are all values I will bring to Pierre to represent the people of District 31."
ABOUT THE ISSUES
RESPECTING LIMITED GOVERNMENT AND LOCAL CONTROL
It is important to me that we remember who we are and respect the role of limited government and local control. Lawrence District 31 voters care about this place they have chosen to call home. They vote for those who demonstrate the type of leadership that respects the things they care most about. I respect the voices of locally elected officials and will look to them as colleagues - listen to their voices and legislate only those issues that require the support of state government to ensure District 31 stays the place we want to live, work and play. Decisions should be made at home, or closest to home before bigger government inserts itself.
THE "BIG THREE" - WORKFORCE, HOUSING, CHILDCARE
We know we live in one of the most desirable places in the country; I want to ensure that our children, and our children's children, have the opportunity to make District 31 home, as I did when I reached adulthood and wanted a place to live work and raise a family.
As of March 2022, the unemployment rate in Lawrence County was 2.0% (0.5% lower than the statewide average). The shortages are in all industries and from entry level positions to upper management and leadership roles. As a member of the Spearfish Board of Education, we have taken action steps toward solutions. We are soon to break ground on a new Career and Technical Education Center and are actively researching those high-need skilled trade, pre-professional and service-based jobs where students can be introduced early to the value of work and finding value in contributing to the greater good. It is my commitment to continue this work as your representative in District 31 to to come up with actionable solutions for all of our communities. We need to listen to employers, employees and the unemployed to discern a viable course of action.
The affordable housing crisis is real; together we need to discover those options that decrease regulations and increase incentives for developers, while finding a balance for those new to the workforce to be able to afford to own a home.
The lack of childcare further exacerbates concerns in the area of workforce - we need workforce; people who desire to work and who have children, need childcare. There is not enough childcare, limiting the number of people available to alleviate the workforce concerns. We need to support those who work in the childcare industry, or those wanting to enter into the childcare industry, by re-evaluating regulations and licensing impediments limiting the interest and viability of childcare as a business, while achieving affordability for working families.
EDUCATION AND BHSU
There is little I value more than education. From K-12 to higher education, ensuring quality education for all is paramount. Black Hills State University is a major contributor to our local economy and one of the solutions to our workforce shortages. The funding mechanism is broken; we need solutions for more equitable funding. As a member of the BHSU President's Advisory Council and a member of the strategic planning team, I will use my voice to advocate for BHSU and keep the university front-of-mind at the state level.
SUPPORTING BUSINESS/TOURISM & BALANCING BUDGETS
Supporting the business community is one of my biggest priorities. District 31 is a "melting pot" of industries. From tourism to timber, retail to real estate, and agriculture to professional services, we have it all. I am committed to finding ways to continue to support limiting unnecessary regulations and finding creative solutions to support businesses. Keeping a balanced budget means finding efficiencies not taxing the people more.