SD Legislative candidate survey: Erin Royer

The South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre.
The South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 6:31 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Erin Royer is a Democrat running for the South Dakota State House in District 12. District 12 stretches across both Lincoln and Minnehaha counties. It includes landmarks such as the Sanford USD Medical Center and Endeavor Elementary School. Royer is one of two Democrats running in the district, the other is Kristin Hayward. There are also two Republicans in the race, incumbent Greg Jamison and Amber Arlint.

Erin Royer is running for the South Dakota State House in District 12.
Erin Royer is running for the South Dakota State House in District 12.(Megan Knust | Megan Knust)

1. Who are you? Tell us about yourself in 100 words or less.

I grew up in central Pennsylvania in a small town. I went to college and graduate school in Pennsylvania to be a genetic counselor. When I graduated, I decided to move out of state and was fortunate to find a job in Sioux Falls. I still work at that local hospital and I live near the VA with my partner of  5 years and his two daughters. We also have two cats and a dwarf bunny.

2. What prompted you to run for office?

I first ran in 2020 when it was clear the District 12 House race wouldn’t be contested. I wanted to give voters a competitive election with leaders who were willing to listen to their concerns. I didn’t win that election but I learned a lot about the people of District 12. This year I decided to run again to address the concerns that have been overlooked since 2020.

3. What public policies are you passionate about? What would your policy priorities be in Pierre?

I am passionate about policies that invest in the people of South Dakota such as public education, healthcare access, and building a strong economy. My policy priorities would be investing in our education system, shoring up rural healthcare and nursing facilities, creating good paying jobs, and allowing small businesses to thrive.

4. Cutting the grocery tax has become central to this election cycle. Do you think that the legislature should cut the grocery tax next legislative session? Is there any taxes you would cut instead, or in addition to? 

I support reducing or removing the grocery tax because it falls hardest on working families and those on fixed incomes.

5. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier in the year. South Dakota currently has a law that prevents abortion almost completely outright. Are there any exceptions you would like to see the legislature enact? What other laws would you like to see passed to support mothers and families?

I would like to see the legislature repeal this trigger ban and allow patients, families and healthcare providers to make the decisions that are best for them without the government interfering in personal decisions. If that cannot be done, I would like to see the law clarified so healthcare providers and families do not need to fear criminal prosecution if they need to end a pregnancy due to in life-threatening situations as well as exceptions for rape and incest.

I would like to see South Dakota pass laws to improve access to contraception, support paid parental leave, and expand pregnancy Medicaid to 12 months after delivery to better support families.

6. Recreational marijuana is on the ballot in November. If it passes, would you commit to legalizing it?


7. What is the most important quality for an elected official to possess? 

The most important quality for an elected official is to be able to listen to people and understand their concerns without trying to argue or correct them or be “right.”

8. Who do you take inspiration from, and why?

I take my inspiration from the next generation of South Dakotans. Seeing our young people step up into leadership and organizing roles to create stronger communities fills me with tremendous hope.

State legislative candidates in contested districts this election season were emailed the same survey to complete for Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory News. 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.