SD State Legislative Candidate Survey: Leslie “Doc” Heinemann

South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)
South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)(DAKOTA NEWS NOW)
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 11:53 PM CDT
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DELL RAPIDS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Leslie “Doc” Heinemann is running in the District 25 State Senate race. The district is made up of a portion of Minnehaha County, and pushes north into Moody County. Heinemann faces three challengers in order to claim the district’s Senate seat; Tom Pischke, Lisa Rave, and Kevin Crisp.

Leslie "Doc" Heinemann is running for South Dakota Senate District 25.
Leslie "Doc" Heinemann is running for South Dakota Senate District 25.(Submitted)

1. Tell us about yourself?

Leslie “Doc” Heinemann. My wife Libby and I have been married for 46 years. We have 4 children and soon to be 10 grandchildren. I am a retired dentist having had a dental office in both Flandreau and Dell Rapids. I actively farm with my son. I serve on many boards and bring a broad range of experience of being a small business owner, farmer, family man.

2. Why are you running for this office?

I enjoy the political process and want to get back into helping make decisions to keep South Dakota, South Dakota. Big government is creeping into our state and we need to fight to keep our South Dakota values.

3. What would be your top three priorities if elected?

I would try to bring back a sense of community within the Republican Party that seems to be lacking today. I would try to involve the citizens in the legislative process more to give them the information they need to make good decisions when it comes to electing representatives. My third priority would be to try to preserve the South Dakota way of life that we enjoy, and ensure our grandkids have the same opportunities.

4. What relevant experience would you bring to the office? 

I was elected to the SD House of Representatives and served from 2013-2018. I also am serving as Medical Director at Southeastern Technical College for the dental assisting program. I am on the Board of Directors for Right to Life, and on the Sioux Valley Energy Board. I am involved in my church and community affairs.

5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen?

I think the property tax issue needs to be looked at, and that, in turn, could give property owners some tax relief.

6. Housing availability has become an issue for many South Dakotans. How would you seek to make housing more affordable?

I think if we make the housing development process as easy as we can, the private developers could improve our housing shortage. I don’t think more government money is the answer, but incentives to provide more housing and availability may be an option.

7. South Dakota correctional facilities have been dealing with a number of issues, most prominent among them overcrowding and staffing shortages. What would you do to help combat these issues?

There is a task force looking into this issue now. It will be important to evaluate what recommendations they come up with, and then act decisively. Staffing shortages are a problem everywhere. If you want to hire qualified people, you need to pay them well and provide as good of a work environment as you are able to.

8. What steps should the legislature take to entice young people to remain in the state?

I think the most important thing is to emphasize our way of life to our young people. In many cases, small town life cannot compete financially, with more urban areas, thus there has to be an incentive to stay, other than pay. Improving broadband is another step to providing an opportunity to stay in our state, as internet access has become a “must” for our younger citizens.

9. Do you support any changes to the way elections are run in South Dakota?

I think we need to see if any issues come up with this voting cycle.

10. A U.S. Supreme Court decision is looming on a landmark abortion case that could ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade. Governor Kristi Noem has indicated she would like to ban abortion outright, and a “trigger law” already on the books would so, with only an exception in place when the mother’s life is at risk. Do you support banning abortion to this extent? If not, what exceptions would you like to see made?

I am opposed to abortion, so I would support, and strengthen, our trigger law if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

11. What is your stance on legalized, recreational marijuana in South Dakota?

As a practicing dentist, I was able to see the effects of narcotics in my patients. I do not believe a person should legally be able to grow, and use, anything other than CBD.

State legislative candidates in contested districts this primary season were emailed the same survey to complete for Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory News. Candidates were asked to keep their responses limited to roughly 4-5 sentences for each question. With the exception of a quick spelling and grammar check, answers were not edited by the poster. Those who responded to the survey questions had their results posted.

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