SD State Legislative Candidate Survey: Ben Krohmer

South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)
South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)(DAKOTA NEWS NOW)
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 9:51 PM CDT
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MITCHELL, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Ben Krohmer is running for election to the South Dakota State House in District 20. He will face two challengers; Jeff Bathke and Lance Koth.

Ben Krohmer is running for the South Dakota State House in District 20.
Ben Krohmer is running for the South Dakota State House in District 20.(Submitted)

1. Tell us about yourself?

I was born & raised in Mitchell, SD, and we have a family plumbing and heating business. Our family business is a member of the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce and the Mitchell Area Development Corporation. As an avid hunter and a board member of the Mitchell Friends of NRA, I strongly support the Second Amendment. I am a conservative, which is why I favor lower taxes and fiscal responsibility. There needs to be a common sense approach to spending – if you don’t have it, you can’t spend it; that’s why I like to say, “Let’s flush the waste out of Pierre.”

2. Why are you running for this office?

I understand the hardship from taxes and regulations harming our farmers, ranchers, and small businesses. I believe that agriculture and small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. Also, as a Christian and lifelong resident of Mitchell, I feel it is important to volunteer and give back to the community.

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

Support agriculture and small businesses; grow jobs; cut taxes and government red tape; support our community; and I strongly support good funding for quality childhood education.

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

As a business owner, I’m the only candidate in this race that has to make a payroll. We have over 130 amazing employees working for us and they have to get paid every week. As board member of Mitchell Friends of NRA I help organize banquets, do charitable fundraising, and helped decide how the proceeds are spent by appropriating funds to help support gun safety classes, hunter education courses, and youth shooting sports. I have been actively involved in the Davison County Republican Party for over eight years. Last year our county party selected me to be our Committeeman to represent Davison County at a statewide level.

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

Yes, especially during these times of skyrocketing inflation. I supported the cutting of the half percent sales tax. Since the institution of the online sales tax, the state has had a massive influx of revenue. The state has far exceeded the revenue benchmark generated by the online sales tax, the law states that once we’ve reached that benchmark that the half percent sales tax needs to be removed. Lowering the half percent sales tax would have been a $143 million dollar savings to the people of South Dakota, and the state would’ve still had a revenue increase of $11.7 million. The benchmark required to reach was $20 million, and in 2021 we surpassed $105 million. Unfortunately, the law is being re-interpreted to constantly shift the goal post away from cutting taxes.

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

In Mitchell there used to be a program called Self Help Homes. It was a great program where several families would get together with a contractor and the families would pick out the floor plans for their homes, the contractor would teach them some basic construction skills, and these families would help each other by building each other’s homes together, with the help and supervision of the contractor. It was a great program that helped keep housing costs down, taught people valuable life skills, and it was a hand up rather than a hand out.

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?

I have spoken to probation officers, correctional officers, and law enforcement officers and a common thing they all mention is SB 70 that was passed in 2013. They all say, while good intentioned, it’s had disastrous results causing an explosion of narcotic & hard drug usage by guaranteeing mandatory probation for for almost all repeat drug offenses. Unfortunately, Judges aren’t given much leeway for repeat offenders, and they’re often times released to repeat and reoffend. There needs to be some changes made to SB 70 to help out our law enforcement community. These problem can lessened better prioritizing our state spending, revisions to our juvenile criminal laws so they are given some discipline to discourage them from committing crimes in the future, along with in-house treatment and rehab rather than automatic release.

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

I would like to see the state and schools encourage more young people into trades, the work force, and/or trade schools rather than trying to encourage a majority of them to go to college. One of our states major exports is people, often times because they’ve pursued a 4 year degree that doesn’t have a career available to them here in the South Dakota. Some careers do require a college degree - doctor, engineer, accountant, etc. However, we likely would retain more younger people for employment in our state if we set them on a path, early on, that leads them to career opportunities right here at home.

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

I think our elections are run well here in South Dakota. We require an ID to vote and our county auditors do amazing work to make our elections run smooth. I believe we have good and secure elections in South Dakota, I wish every other state’s elections were run as good as ours. I Also think we have plenty of polling locations available for voting that make them easily accessible and keep wait times to a minimum.

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?

As a Christian I am also pro life. I would also like to see Roe v. Wade overturned. I also want South Dakota’s trigger laws kept in place so abortion would be outlawed in our state. I agree with the exception for the life of the mother. I am also receptive and willing to listen to points of view on exceptions for rape and incest as well.

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

I didn’t have a problem with medical passing. I currently have a friend fighting cancer. If medical would have been available to him, it might have been helpful to him while he was undergoing chemo and radiation treatment. As far as recreational goes, it’ll be on the ballot again, and if it passes then it passes. How ever the voters decide, I’ll respect that. I’ll be going to Pierre to represent and work for the people, not against them.

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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