SD State Legislature Candidate Survey: Richard L. Thomason

South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)
South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)(DAKOTA NEWS NOW)
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 4:35 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Richard L. Thomason is running in the Republican primary for South Dakota State House District 13. District 13 includes parts of Sioux Falls. Thomason faces three primary opponents; Sue Peterson, Tony Venhuizen, and Penny BayBridge.

1. Tell us about yourself?

I am employed in the private sector, attended Lincoln High School, and have lived in District 13 most of my life. I currently sit on two different boards in Sioux Falls, am a member of Rotary, and have served in the House of Representatives for the past two years. My hobbies include running, tennis, reading, and listening to podcasts.

2. Why are you running for this office?

The past two years have been an honor serving this state. I sat on the taxation and local government committees and saw many bills come to us on the floor. Moving South Dakota forward has been an amazing opportunity and I am looking forward to continuing to do so. This state has enjoyed a tradition of excellence and I want to ensure this excellence is around for many generations to come.

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

Fiscal responsibility, pro-education, pro-business.

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

Two great years of serving this great state for District 13 in the House of Representatives.

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

We are blessed here in South Dakota to be one of the lowest-tax states in the nation, and I have fought hard during my time on the House Taxation Committee to ensure that South Dakota remains a beacon for fiscal responsibility. Many South Dakotans are struggling with property taxes increases, and I am open to ideas that would stem the increase without risking our responsibility to balance the state budget.

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

Affordable housing has become an issue in South Dakota, and nationwide, largely due to a simple lack of supply. Instead of enacting artificial price ceilings, the legislature must be focused on being an “energizing agent;” allowing the market to recover on its own, and helping push it along where needed. It is with this philosophy that I helped pass HB 1033 this session, which will allow affordable workforce housing to flourish in the state for years to come.

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?

South Dakota must build new correctional facilities and update existing ones, as well as increasing incentives for staff members, in order for the state to properly carry out its duty as the enforcer of the law. This past session, I voted for four bills that will appropriate funding for the construction of new facilities, research the needs of local jails, update the women’s prison, and construct a community work center for offenders. I will remain committed to helping both county and state-wide correctional facilities with their budgetary needs in a fiscally responsible manner.

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

Brain drain is a massive problem in our state, and I believe that supporting higher education is the key factor in resolving this issue. This is why I supported measures to fund five separate investments in higher education, as well as an increase in teacher pay, to ensure we have the best professors and opportunities for our students. In addition, low taxes, affordable housing, and business opportunities are causal factors in determining whether a young adult decides to stay in our state; these are all some of my top prerogatives.

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

I have faith in our electoral system, as well as our state and county auditors. I would need to be presented with seriously compelling evidence in order to support changes to this system.

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?

While I consider myself to be pro-life, I do not believe it is the role of the government to regulate abortion to this extent. I would be supportive of measures that would ban abortion with the stated exception, as well as an exception in cases of rape or incest before 15 weeks of pregnancy.

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

I will respect the will of the people to decide what to do on this issue. I supported SB 3, which would have legalized marijuana in a similar fashion to the ballot measure in the previous election because my constituents voted to pass that measure. Should marijuana be legalized recreationally after this upcoming ballot measure, I would respect the will of the people and support its safe and efficient rollout.

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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