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SD State Legislative Candidate Survey: Richard Vasgaard

South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)
South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)(DAKOTA NEWS NOW)
Published: Jun. 4, 2022 at 7:57 PM CDT
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CENTERVILLE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Richard Vasgaard (R- Centerville) is running for re-election to the South Dakota State House in District 17. Vasgaard faces two primary challengers; Kevin Jensen, and Karla Lems.

State Rep. Richard Vasgaard (R-Centerville)
State Rep. Richard Vasgaard (R-Centerville)(Submitted)

1. Tell us about yourself?

Representative Richard Vasgaard from Turner County (District 17 now) seeking re-election to the House of Representatives in the newly redistricted District 16.  This will be my second term in office.  I am a life long resident of Turner County.  I and my wife Joyce live on my family farm that has been in the family for over 125 years.  We have 2 children and 6 grandchildren.  I have had the opportunities through out my life to serve on leadership positions on the local, state and national levels.

2. Why are you running for this office?

Through my varied leadership and policy making roles, many of my friends and peers encouraged me to run for an elected office in the State Legislature.  I feel South Dakota agriculture needs a strong representation in our government. I also feel it is my duty to serve in anyway I can be of help.

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

Rural infrastructure, Education Funding and Agricultural issues are top 3 priorities of mine.

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

Farming has taught me that hard work, common sense and honesty are important qualities to have.  My involvement in local, state and national organizations has given me valuable knowledge of policy development and communication skills.

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

I did support tax relief to the citizens of South Dakota.  I voted for the .5% sales tax rollback.  All three branches of government must find common ground in which to move forward to make tax relief happen.

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

I supported the infrastructure bill that passed the Legislature this past session.  This is a start in easing the housing shortage.   In working with several local community development directors, I was informed that it’s the underground infrastructures that’s very expensive and sometimes prohibitive in building new housing for the small communities.

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?

The issues dealing with correctional facilities in South Dakota need to be addressed.  One House summer study will be looking into these problems and forming possible solutions to bring back to the Legislature.  I must admit this is a topic where I have little expertise or knowledge.  There are several counties looking into upgrading their aging facilities.

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

This is always a question of high importance.  The State and business community must work in partnership to expand job opportunities.  I think our technical schools, as well as our colleges, have seen this need and have developed programs to entice our young people to stay in South Dakota.  Now we need to work on adequate compensation for jobs and affordable housing.

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

Election integrity needs to be maintained. Voter rolls need to be constantly updated.  But I do not see a the need for any major change at this time.

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?

I advocate for pro-life.

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

I am opposed to recreational use of marijuana.  With our exciting problems with alcohol and drug abuse, why would we want to add more problems?

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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