SD Legislative candidate survey: Margaret Sutton

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: Nov. 1, 2022 at 5:55 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Margaret (Maggie) Sutton is is running for election to the South Dakota State Senate in District 10. District 10 is made up east and northeast Sioux Falls. Sutton, an incumbent, faces a general election challenge from Democrat Elizabeth Larson.

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

Appointed in August 2018 for State Senate District 10 by Governor Daugaard. Having a deep yearning to learn and a deep passion to effect change in a positive and effective manner that enhances lives in South Dakota,  it has been honor to be part of the Legislative Process and now I am up for my 3rd term in the Senate.  Currently serving on the Appropriations Committee and Chair of Lean Appropriation Committee. Served as Vice Chair for  Military and Veterans Affairs, and Interim Rules Review Committee. Serving on the  Appropriations Committee has an advantage in understanding the economic issues of the state. Coming from Engineering Analyst background has given me the perspective to look outside of the box. I participated in various roles as State Committee Women, Minnehaha County GOP Chair, Siouxland Republican Women President,  and Minnehaha Lincoln Republican Women Board Member. Actively involved in church activities and the community.

2. What prompted you to run for re-election?

My passion is to make South Dakota better for our Kids and Grandkids. To make the right choices to make South Dakota a place where our kids and grandkids want to stay and live and bring up their children. We need the right jobs in South Dakota to make sure future generations will have a secure future.

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

Pro-life, Home Schooling, and Protection from Consumer Fraud.

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?

The grocery tax needs to go through the legislative process, which means being heard in committee and hearing the pro’s and con’s, I would lean to favor it, but would not make a full decision till I heard it fully vetted in committee and in appropriations. It’s so easy to say what would you cut, here’s the department percentages in our 2023 budget: Health, Human and Social Services 35.16%, Local Gov’t and Schools 33.23%, Board of Regents 12.58%, Corrections 9.27%, Judicial Systems  2.68%, Agriculture and Natural Resources 1.19%, Legislature and Elected Officials 1.76 and Remainder of State Gov’t 4.14%. So depending on how much needs to be cut, could completely eliminate some services. The biggest budget is schools and social services.

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?

No... We need to make sure parents have full authority over their children. The breakdown of the family will be the downfall of not only South Dakota but for America.

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

Recreational marijuana is on the ballot as a constitutional amendment if it passes it cannot be changed, it will be legal, that’s the law.  The only reason the recreational marijuana ballot measure was revoked in court is because it is illegal to have two subjects in a constitutional amendment. This year’s ballot measure is legally written, the legislature cannot change it, only another constitutional amendment can change it.

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

In today’s political arena, challenges continually arise. To be an effective leader I believe leaders need to be able to respond to those challenges with intelligence, strategy, expertise and facts. Learning effective communication skills is essential and the ability to look at challenges from  various perspectives is important, in doing so we can add clarity to a difficult problem. We have to listen and address adverse opinions. Have the ability to talk over the options, and at the same time look for good solutions. A legislature must also posses a clear vision, is courageous, has integrity, honesty, humility and clear focus.  They must be a strategic planner and at the same time know how to work as a team.

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

I get inspiration from my faith. I am very fortunate to have a strong family and a great support of people from my church and community. Getting inspiration from family, friends and colleagues can cultivate and inspire one’s character to make those hard decisions for the state. Helping and encouraging others as policy solutions and budgets are finalized gives me great satisfaction and there is a great sense of accomplishment knowing I am helping and impacting South Dakota families along the way.

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.