SD Legislative Candidate Survey: Kyle Schoenfish

The South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre at sunrise.
The South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre at sunrise.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 2:42 PM CDT
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SCOTLAND, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Kyle Schoenfish is running for re-election to the South Dakota State Senate in District 19. District 19 starts just east of Mitchell, and pushes east along I-90 to roughly Montrose. Other communities in the district include Salem, Springfield, Tyndall, and Perkins. Schoenfish faces one Democratic challenger in the general election, Russell Graeff.

Kyle Schoenfish is seeking re-election to the South Dakota State Senate in District 19.
Kyle Schoenfish is seeking re-election to the South Dakota State Senate in District 19.(SD LRC)

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

I am a lifelong resident of District 19. I graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University with a degree in accounting. I’m from Scotland and work as a Certified Public Accountant at Schoenfish and Company in Parkston.

2. What prompted you to run for office?

I am completing my third year as a State Senator. My current positions in the Senate include Majority Whip, Vice Chairman of Education and Senate Chairman of Government Operations and Audit. My experience and positions of leadership enable me to be an effective Senator for District 19 and get things done.

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

Supporting agriculture, rural areas and schools of all sizes. Need to keep doing more for housing, workforce development and infrastructure. I support local control for schools and other local governments.

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? Are there any taxes you would cut instead, or in addition to?

It is a discussion that would be good to have.  I have voted to cut the food tax in the past and will have to see what future legislation looks like before making a decision. If the food or other taxes are cut we need to make sure we can sustain the huge increases in investments made in Education, Health Care and State Employees in recent years. Following free market conservative principles by bringing in new revenue generating items like sports wagering may allow for tax cuts. Tax laws should always be evaluated to make sure South Dakota stays affordable for businesses and families.

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 support the sanctity of life as evidenced by a high rating from South Dakota Right to Life. We should review our laws to make sure we are supporting life in the best way.

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?

An ability to listen to and see all slides of an issue.

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

I take inspiration from the great people I represent and serve with.

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.