SD State Legislative Candidate Survey: Gina Schiferl
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Gina Schiferl is running for the South Dakota State House in District 14. The district is located southeast of Sioux Falls. She faces two primary challengers; Taylor Rehfeldt and Tyler Tordsen.
1. Tell us about yourself?
I am a true South Dakotan, born & raised here all my life. I have been happily married to my husband Kurt for 36 years and have two grown children that are both married. My son and his wife (Caleb & Lexy) live here in Sioux Falls. I work at Sammons Financial as a Reinsurance Specialist, with additional work experience in banking, software development (for banking products). My college degree is in Social Worker and I practiced as a licensed Social Worker.
2. Why are you running for this office?
I have never run for office before; however, I have had a passion for politics all of my life, from the time I was a little girl and used to listen to and debate with my dad and siblings around the kitchen table. I follow local, state and national politics daily with a passion because I believe it is our responsibility to ensure that we know what is happening and make our voices heard. My concern for families, children and our civil rights has driven me to do a lot of grassroots lobbying for bills over the last 30 years. When I was asked to run this year, after much prayer and consultation with those I love, I decided to throw my hat in the ring so that District 14 could have a good conservative on the ballot.
3. What would be your top three priorities if elected?
a. Family and Parental rights including school choice options. South Dakota has some excellent hard-working teachers. We need to support and provide them with what they need to do their jobs. However, while I don’t believe that our teachers should have to “teach religion”, I do believe that we have a lack of morals and values because we took too much of that piece out of the school system. Having been a home school mom for several years, I know how important it is that family values be taught an encouraged. If the school is not supporting those values, then other options should be available. We have seen a lot of very concerning issues arise locally and across the country this past year, including effects from required masking, CRT/Social Emotional Learning and gender issues. Over my years of actively watching the legislature I have seen a lot of very important bills come through that I wished I could have had a voice at the table, so I look forward to this opportunity. This, more than anything else is why I am running.
b. With the possibility of Roe v Wade being overturned in the Supreme Court, I believe that it is going to be more important now than ever for South Dakota to be prepared legally for what may come. Having been very active in the pro-life movement since 1978, I have the historical background and would love to be able to have a voice in ensuring that we have good sound laws to protect our women and children and that we are able to provide for their needs and secure the resources needed for difficult times.
c. Fiscal Conservatism is one of my platforms. I have learned to live on a shoestring and be responsible for every dollar. South Dakota has a much larger budget than I ever will, but I do not believe that means that we should be any less concerned with how that money is spent. After all, this money comes from us, the tax payers and will affect our children’s lives. I will work to keep taxes low, have fully transparent processes and continue to maintain a balanced budget.
4. What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
As stated above, I have been doing citizen grassroots lobbying for over 30 years, so I have relationships with several of the legislators. I know how to follow a bill from start to finish and have been involved in testimony in committees. But more than anything else, I believe it is because I developed those skills over the years not just as a pass time, but as a passion because of my love for people and my concerns for the future of our children. I LOVE our state, and am proud that we are considered a “Blue State Refuge” for many. But if we aren’t careful to take care of it, watch the bills that are passed and the spending, we will no longer look like the state that I grew up in and love. Because that possibility
frightens me, I am putting myself and my passion on the line to protect our families and our children with all that I have.
5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen?
I do believe that now is a good time for tax relief in one form or another. Watching taxation over the years, I have seen a pattern. I have heard the promise many times that a tax increase is being implemented, usually for just pennies on the dollar, for a short time and then it will be terminated with a sunset. However, once that money is flowing, the sun seldom sets. I know that we need to protect the soundness of our budget, but I also believe a short-term tax relief would have been reasonable, this year especially with all the issues the family is facing.
6. Housing availability has become an issue for many South Dakotans. How would you seek to make housing more affordable?
One principle I learned from my dad is how important it is to keep the government out of private business. He was a business man and he saw it first hand, so he was PASSIONATE about that topic. I believe that if there is a need for something like housing, which there definitely is right now, then this is when the “American Spirit” can best be demonstrated as people pitch in to do whatever is needed to benefit not only the need but also themselves. I think by governmental interference, we only make things worse when we support the big guy and leave the little guy out, so instead, I believe this is an issue where we should support the creative engineering spirit in the people of SD for the betterment of all and just monitor it at this time.
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 am aware of the fact that there are issues related to our correctional facilities which need to be addressed. I believe there is not just one answer, but that these are caused by a number of different problems which all need to be reviewed, do I am glad the legislature is focusing on this issue. Having been a member of a team that did prison ministry several years ago, this is concerning to me so I would love to be a part of the discussion as to how we could address these issues.
8. What steps should the legislature take to entice young people to remain in the state?
I am proud that we have been able to implement the Freedom Scholarship and other programs that encourage our young people to stay in South Dakota. I think it is wise that these programs are coming with the requirement to stay in state for a few years after graduation. I believe that as they mature and move into the next stages of life, they will see the benefits of having a safe and nurturing state like SD and the fact that we are keeping the state open and the freedom we provide as a large enticement for them to stay on here.
9. Do you support any changes to the way elections are run in South Dakota?
It is critical that we have fair and free elections. Having served as an Election Superintendent and Deputy (in Minnehaha and Hughes Counties), and having opened Absentee Ballots, I have seen this process first hand. If you can’t trust your ballot, why vote? And if we don’t vote, we lose everything! South Dakota has some great laws that other states are fighting for, so I am grateful for that, however, I have seen the data that indicates that we have work to do here as well to improve our elections as well. We need to clean up our voter rolls and address count anomalies. And why did we have over 10,000 votes that came from mail forwarding companies as well as a number from campgrounds, hotels, motels, police stations, Walmart’s and invalid addresses. I think there are questions to be asked and protections that could be put in place. I wonder how many South Dakotans know that there were a number of bills that would have addressed some of these issues last year but
they were killed by the Senate. It is not that we are doing horrible, it is that we can do much better with a little more work.
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 am in agreement with Governor Noem, that it is appropriate that there be an exception when the life of the mother is in jeopardy.
11. What is your stance on legalized, recreational marijuana in South Dakota?
I would rather we did not pass legalized recreational use of marijuana because of the concerns that Colorado, Oregon, and other states have had after they legalized recreational use. SD will again have the opportunity to vote on this issue in November. If the people of SD chose to pass it at that time, then I think it is the duty of the legislature of ensure that they pass good common-sense laws that protect our citizens, support our law enforcement and ensure that it does not negatively affect our children.
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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