SD State Legislative Candidate Survey: Fred Deutsch
FLORENCE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Rep. Fred Deutsch (R-Florence) is running for re-election in House District 4. The district is located in northeastern South Dakota. Deutsch will face three other primary opponents; Tim Reisch, Stephanie Sauder, and Adam Grimm.
1. Tell us about yourself?
I’m a fiscal and social conservative and have Christian conservative values. I believe in small government and low taxes. I am the son of a butcher and Holocaust survivor. Dad came to America without a penny in his pocket or an education, but I learned some of life’s most important lessons from him, like work hard, trust in God, and look out for other people. I’ve carried those lessons with me throughout my life and applied them to raising my kids and in my work. During my early years, I became an Eagle Scout. I started to work when I was 14 and paid my way through eight years of college. I am an education advocate and former Watertown School Board President. I believe local control is best. I’ve run several small businesses for 37 years, including Deutsch Chiropractic. My wife Kathleen and I are both retired chiropractors and just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. Together we raised four daughters and are now blessed with eight grandchildren. We are active in Immaculate Conception Church. In my free time, I enjoy gardening, outdoor activities and reading.
2. Why are you running for this office?
I am running for re-election because I am passionate about continuing to make South Dakota a good place to live, work, and raise our children.
3. What would be your top three priorities if elected?
(1) Economic development is a major and ongoing priority. (2) My legislative district has about 50% new people since re-districting. A priority is getting to know them and understanding their concerns so I can be a good representative; and listening to and serving as a voice for all my constituents. (3) Provide leadership to usher in new pro-life laws to protect unborn babies once the Supreme Court returns control to the states.
4. What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
I have served six years in the legislature. I know how to get things done for South Dakota. I’m a Christian, dad, husband, small business owner, doctor, outdoorsman, and more. Issues important to families, life, faith, health, and freedom are important issues to me. For the past six year I served as President of South Dakota Right to Life. I have a 100% pro-life rating, a 100% profamily rating, and am the only candidate in my race that’s endorsed by the NRA and have an “A” rating. I bring the experience of being a good listener, a leader, a do-er, and a senior statesman.
5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen?
The South Dakota Constitution requires we balance our budget each year. That means we must have sufficient revenues come into the state to meet our needs. It also means the legislature makes the decision where those revenues come from. This past session, several bills were introduced to reduce taxes. I supported each of them.
6. Housing availability has become an issue for many South Dakotans. How would you seek to make housing more affordable?
This past year I served on the legislative summer study to address the housing shortage. We took testimony from literally dozens of people and received input from communities large and small. The housing shortage is everywhere. We started the process of providing one-time money to help with infrastructure development, meaning help with preparing a building lot with things like water, sewer, and electricity to help relieve some of the financial pressures. This is a problem that will require ongoing work.
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?
Three legislative summer studies are in the works to research incarceration and corrections, including the adequacy of correctional facilities. I am serving on one of the summer studies that will assess alternatives for placing juvenile offenders. A second committee will look at county and regional jails, and whether there are opportunities for strategic partnerships between the state and counties. And a final committee will look at a recommendation to replace the State Penitentiary (built in 1882) with a larger facility to relieve overcrowding and address safety issues. Each study committee will report back to the full legislature with findings and recommendations. I will consider the findings and act accordingly.
8. What steps should the legislature take to entice young people to remain in the state?
· Continue to develop our economy so there are more attractive job offerings to entice young people to stay in SD.
· Encourage employers to inspire and recruit young people by offering more high quality apprenticeships and work experience places.
· Develop programs that incentivize students to stay in SD after graduation, like the student loan forgiveness program we provide to physicians who stay in SD.
· Continue to cut red tape, support a stable tax climate, and get out of the way so employers can succeed and offer more jobs.
9. Do you support any changes to the way elections are run in South Dakota?
To my knowledge, elections in South Dakota have not been fraught with the problems seen in some other states. Our ballots are paper, not electronic, and not connected to the internet. We do things the old-fashioned way in SD, so the potential for fraud is much less than elsewhere. Still, we have problems that need correcting. For example, people should not be allowed to vote if they have an address that’s registered as Walmart. Otherwise, I would be open to considering increased election oversight to make sure everything is fair.
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?
Yes, I support banning all abortions unless the life of the mother is at risk. I do not believe the life of the baby should be sacrificed for the sins of the father. I would like to see SD become a state that highly protects and values unborn babies, and fosters loving and healthy families. However, the reality is even if SD highly protects unborn babies and does not allow other exceptions, a woman will always have “choice” to seek an abortion by traveling to a state that allows it.
11. What is your stance on legalized, recreational marijuana in South Dakota?
While I believe medical marijuana should be readily available to people for medical purposes (just like any other prescription medicine is available for medical purposes) I am not a big fan of recreational marijuana. To my knowledge, my position is consistent with the will of the voters in District 4. In the November 2020 election, District 4 did not support recreational marijuana. That said, should the voters in District 4 go to the polls in the future and vote differently, I will support the will of District 4 voters.
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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