SD State Legislature Candidate Survey: Lecia Summerer

South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)
South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)(DAKOTA NEWS NOW)
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 3:56 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Lecia Summerer is running in the Republican primary for South Dakota State House District 8. District 8 includes parts of Sanborn, Miner, Madison, and Flandreau. Summerer faces four primary opponents; Heather DeVries, Casey Crabtree, John Mills, Tim Reisch, Neal Pinnow, and Thomas J. Brunner.

1. Tell us about yourself?

My name is Lecia Summerer, and I have lived in Madison, South Dakota, for the past 23 years when my husband and I chose Madison over several other similar-sized communities in three other states. My husband of 37 years is the general surgeon at the Madison Hospital. I have been a secondary English teacher balancing my career with raising our three children, now all adults. I have a master’s degree in Leadership in Technology from the University of Sioux Falls and a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

2. Why are you running for this office?

I wish to serve in the South Dakota State House of Representatives, District 8, because I am a community-focused candidate. My husband and I believe the lifestyle offered by a rural area is an excellent one, and so I want to advocate for rural communities. Our education, health care, and businesses should not be of any lower quality simply because they are rural. However, we do face unique challenges because of our location, and it is important to have a legislator who recognizes these challenges and advocates for the community.

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

I have six priorities: My concerns are rising costs and inflation for South Dakota families, supporting parental rights in education, increasing access to quality, local healthcare, addressing workforce and housing shortages, increasing mental health resources for vulnerable youth, and continuing to support Right to Life legislation.

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

My experience in education and my interest in healthcare are the main experiences I bring to office. I have been endorsed by retiring current Representative Marli Wiese, and I hope to continue a Conservative approach to legislative issues affecting my district and the state at-large.

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

In South Dakota, we remain fortunate to not have a state income tax, and I would continue to oppose an income tax. The 2022 House proposed a temporary gas tax holiday and considered eliminating the tax on groceries. However, these proposals were not supported in the Senate. It seems like these tax relief suggestions might be worth reconsidering. The 2022 House bill 1001 revised the freeze on assessments for dwellings of disabled and senior citizens. The Republican party platform states its commitment to lowering taxes and collecting only what is necessary to fund limited government.

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

In the 2022 legislative session, House bill 1033 added $150 million to the South Dakota Housing Opportunity Fund for loans and grants for the construction of housing infrastructure. This funding was a significant investment in addressing the need for housing availability.

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?

Currently, there is “an interim study examining local jails and opportunities for collaboration with state correctional plans,” per Senate Concurrent Resolution 608. This resolution also notes, “South Dakota will soon commence a state-wide correctional plan process.” It seems these concerns are known to legislators, and they are seeking to address these issues. Workforce shortages are evident across both industrial/business and governmental/educational positions. Although it may be costly, increasing wages may be the first step in solving workforce shortages.

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

The state legislature should continue to support our technical schools. These institutions have exceptionally high rates of job placement after graduation. Giving young people job opportunities is one of the best ways to entice them to remain in the state.

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

In March 2022, Governor Noem signed a bill to prohibit private funding of political elections in our state. Additionally, voters in South Dakota must be registered and must provide identification when voting. All of these measures are safeguards for our elections, and I approve of each of them.

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 support the laws that already exist in South Dakota, including the “trigger law.” The Republican platform affirms the sanctity of life, opposes abortion and believes that life begins at conception.

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

I am opposed to legalizing, recreational marijuana. The legislature and medical community are working very hard to create laws governing medical marijuana; adding recreational marijuana before the medical marijuana issues are completed would create significant challenges. Additionally, a 2019 article in a state medical association journal cited numerous law enforcement concerns with legalized marijuana. The Republican platform supports law enforcement and their work to provide citizens with a crime-free environment.

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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