SD Legislative candidate survey: Taylor Rehfeldt
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Taylor Rehfeldt is running for re-election as a Republican to the South Dakota State House in District 14. District 14 is located southeast of Sioux Falls, with a western border that runs along the Big Sioux River and an eastern border that runs along Highway 11 between E. 18th Street and E. 57th Street. Rehfeldt is one of two Republicans running in the district, along with Tyler Tordsen. Additionally, two Democrats are running; Wendy Mamer and Mike Huber.
1. Who are you? Tell us about yourself in 100 words or less.
My life outside of being a Representative is about service and caring for others as a wife and mom, Registered Nurse (RN), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), educator for Mount Marty University, and community and organizational leadership and volunteer experiences. I am driven by helping others and getting positive results.
2. What prompted you to run for office/re-election?
I initially ran for office because I love South Dakota and I love my family! I want South Dakota to continue to move in a positive direction. I am running for re-election because I want to continue to advocate for our families. I am in the middle of several projects with good policy changes for our state. I would like to see them through.
3. What public policies are you passionate about? What would your policy priorities be in Pierre?
I believe it is important to listen to my constituents and respond to their needs. The bills and topic areas I address are a result of their feedback and suggestions. Our district is passionate about anything that impacts families.
As a Registered Nurse, I am utilized as a resource for bills that impact health. I am currently working on bills surrounding opioid abuse, mental health, suicide prevention, cannabis, and healthcare licensure. As an educator and mom of young children, I spend time invested in policy with a positive impact on children and education. I am currently working on issues surrounding daycare, prevention of childhood abuse/trauma, and juvenile justice.
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 do not know if the grocery tax cut proposal is the correct answer because I do not have all the information. I have been elected to strategically think about the future of our state. We can’t only consider the “now’. Rather, we have to consider five, ten, and twenty years down the road. We can’t make impromptu decisions with a potential negative impact on all our families without having all the information.
My first goal is to address our current state obligations. We will need to support inflationary increases within education, healthcare, roads/bridges, and public safety/law enforcement. Once we have met our state obligations, I would like to talk about tax cuts. My constituents are very worried about their property tax increases. In response to my district and their needs/wants, I am excited to hear recommendations come forward from the summer study on property taxes.
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?
Yes. I am in the process of drafting three bills. The bills clarify exemptions for the life of the mother as well as provide exemptions for fatal fetal anomalies and rape/incest. We need compassion and empathy for traumatic experiences. I am grateful I am serving in the legislature as a healthcare provider so I can educate and advocate for these circumstances. We also have over 140 statutes referring to or addressing abortion. We will need to determine the necessity of the statutes post-Roe with the current trigger law.
I have and I will continue to support bills that positively impact families. Kids need to be our first priority. I am excited about progress we have seen through our work with the Center for Prevention of Child Maltreatment, juvenile justice summer study, and interim mental health committees. We are moving in the right direction!
6. Recreational marijuana is on the ballot in November. If it passes, would you commit to legalizing it?
Absolutely. Over the last couple years, I have supported both medical and recreational marijuana. The citizens of South Dakota voted to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana in 2020 and I have respected their votes.
7. What is the most important quality for an elected official to possess?
It’s impossible to pick just one! We should have high standards and expect qualities like compassion, integrity, transparency, capability, and positivity.
8. Who do you take inspiration from, and why?
I have an appreciation for individuals who are reasonable and respectful. I am inspired when people listen, compromise, and find common-ground. Last, I am inspired by results and I want to see more than just talk! Results require hard work and dedication. I am inspired by these characteristics and I try to exemplify the same qualities.
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.
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