SD State Legislature Candidate Survey: Stephanie Marty
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Stephanie Marty is running for the Democratic nomination in South Dakota House District 11. It is the only Democratic state legislative race on the ballot this primary season.
District 11 is made up of a portion of Minnehaha County, southwest of Sioux Falls. Marty faces two primary opponents; Margaret Kuipers and Kim Parke.
1. Tell us about yourself?
I’m a lifetime resident of Sioux Falls, a retired federal senior Compliance Examiner (bank), an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam Era, a widower, and a parent of four. I spent most of my life volunteering, mostly in organizations for kids. I was a Scout leader for 46 years, serving in various positions including Scoutmaster, District Activities Chair, and Council activities Chair. I led contingencies of Scouts backpacking in New Mexico, scuba diving in the Florida Keys, and many other activities. I coached youth soccer for 16 seasons. In retirement, I became a director for the Transformation Project, and noting the needs of transgender kids, I started a “closet,” providing clothes for transgender kids at no cost to them.
2. Why are you running for this office?
Working for the federal government, I was not allowed to run for a partisan office. The easy answer is I believe the state has been moving in the wrong direction, including both the governor and the legislature. They seem to feel that their only duty is to be the most conservative, singling out the most vulnerable among us. Equality under the law is a right of all citizens and we need to codify those rights. Further our tax system is extremely regressive, and we need to solve the problem where the most vulnerable among us are also not those with the greatest tax burden.
3. What would be your top three priorities if elected?
We need to protect the most vulnerable among is, whether the issue is income, disability, pregnancy, or gender.
Second, we need to fully fund education at all levels, including universal pre-K, public education through high school, and fully fund the university system and technical schools. It seems that the legislature always finds a way to skirt their responsibilities in funding education.
Third, we need to develop a tax structure that brings balance to the system. We’ve spent years where candidates promise to cut taxes, while all they do is drive the costs down to lower levels of government. Maybe it’s time to say that my responsibility is to make the system less regressive, which means some taxes will go up, and some taxes will go down.
4. What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
As I noted before, I’m a veteran and a retired federal employee. In the years in between I was a bank manager, a telephone company (call center) manager, and a substitute teacher. In my life I’ve lived as a low-income resident, a high-income wage earner, and I’m retiring comfortably as middle-income. I’ve been a single father of three kids under 6 years old. I was married to an elementary school teacher for 32 years, giving me direct insight to the workings of the school system.
5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen?
Yes. The most vulnerable among us should not have the greatest tax burden. It’s time to remove the tax on groceries and feminine hygiene products. We need to establish healthcare for all so that no one is strapped with a lifetime of debt related to an illness or emergency. We need to stop saying we won’t raise taxes when we need to rebalance the system. We should consider a wealth tax, a windfall profits tax, a corporate tax on larger corporations and reinstating the inheritance tax on millionaires. We should ensure that there are no tax increases on middle income earners or those with lower incomes.
6. Housing availability has become an issue for many South Dakotans. How would you seek to make housing more affordable?
First, we need to accept the fact that land is a scarce commodity that drives up the cost of housing. In addition, the cost of materials is beyond the control of builders, and wages have driven many in the housing industry out of the market. We need to provide technical education and a living wage. We should understand that building up is more economical than building out, and building energy efficient housing is no longer an option, rather it has become a requirement for sustainable living.
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?
First among the issues are providing a living wage for correction officers and staff. Overcrowding cannot be solved by building more prisons, we need to establish better programs to cut recidivism. The higher the level of education that an inmate leaves the system with the lower the chance that they will be repeat offenders. Inmates also need to leave the system with the opportunity for adequate employment and housing. Finally, those incarcerated for low level crimes like marijuana should be released to halfway houses since the electorate has voted to legalize recreational use.
8. What steps should the legislature take to entice young people to remain in the state?
Young people today are different than previous generations. They are more accepting of LGBTQA+ individuals and have higher percentages of the population in these categories than previous generations. They believe in individual rights without government interference. They leave the state for a better education at a lower cost. There is no magic bullet to fix these things, but the legislature plays a huge role: fixing the educational system, passing an equality act, generally, getting to work on the needs of South Dakotans, rather than their own political agenda.
9. Do you support any changes to the way elections are run in South Dakota?
Without a balanced political system, we run the risk of legislating from the extreme, much like we’ve seen from recent legislative sessions. Creating a non-partisan legislature will never be non-partisan, as we have seen in recent Sioux Falls elections. Creating non-partisan primaries where the top two candidate move to the general election may be the answer.
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?
Absolutely not. Exceptions should always be made for the life of the mother, rape, or incest. Speaking as a person who has had to consider abortion for the life of the mother, I am strongly against this legislation. As the parent of two teenage girls, I would also have to consider their well-being if by some chance they happened to get pregnant. I would be in favor of the limitation written into the Supreme Court decision in Roe Vs. Wade. Again I see the extremists fighting for the position of the most conservative, and taking the right from a woman to regulate her own body is wrong and should not belong to old white men.
11. What is your stance on legalized, recreational marijuana in South Dakota?
I am not, and never have been a user; however, the voters have made their position known and the legislature should do everything possible to create the safest recreational marijuana regulations possible.
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.
Copyright 2022 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.