SD State Legislative Candidate Survey: Beka Zerbst
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Beka Zerbst is running for the District 29 State Senate seat. The district is made up of portions of Pennington, Butte, and Meade Counties. Zerbst faces two primary challengers; John Carley and Dean Wink.
1. Tell us about yourself?
My name is Beka Zerbst. I live in Sturgis. I grew up in Sturgis, graduated from Sturgis High School and Black Hills State University. I met my husband at BHSU and after graduation, he joined the US Army. He spent 20 years active duty in the Army, and I had the privilege of being by his side for all of those years. When he retired in 2017, we moved back to Sturgis. I have 2 grown children. I’m involved in the Sturgis community and have served on many boards and committees: Sturgis Rally Charities board, Rapid City Regional Airport Strategic Partner Committee, United Way of the Black Hills - Sturgis Cabinet, Sturgis Gold Star Families Memorial Monument Committee, and Sturgis Economic Development Corporation board. I’m a member of the Sturgis First United Methodist Church. I currently am serving my 2nd term on the Sturgis City Council and have been Council President. I enjoy golfing, riding my motorcycle, and exploring the Black Hills.
2. Why are you running for this office?
I’m running for office because I want to serve my district in Pierre. I’m a commonsense conservative and I believe that I have the right experience to represent all of District 29. I’m for keeping our economy growing and our families strong and healthy. I’m prolife and I support the 2nd Amendment. I believe in limited government and support law enforcement and our military. With the huge growth in our district, especially along the I-90 corridor, we need a Senator who can represent ALL areas of our district and I have the experience and the understanding to do exactly that.
3. What would be your top three priorities if elected?
My top 3 priorities would be: keeping our economy strong and growing, supporting South Dakota families & communities, and ensuring that government reach into our lives is limited.
4. What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
First, my time serving on the Sturgis City Council has been excellent experience. I don’t just say I’m conservative but I’ve got the voting record to prove it. I know what it takes to make tough decisions while keeping what is best for the citizens & my community at the forefront. I grew up in Meade County and I know Meade County. Second, I have two decades of service and leadership to various boards and philanthropic service organizations (military and civilian) which has helped hone the leadership skills that are required to be successful in the South Dakota legislature.
5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen?
Yes, I support tax relief for South Dakotans. For the past 4 years on the Sturgis City Council, I have voted to reduce the mill levy and I would continue working to keep property taxes in check. Other types of tax relief I would support would be a reduction in sales tax and continued sales tax relief for veterans and seniors.
6. Housing availability has become an issue for many South Dakotans. How would you seek to make housing more affordable?
This last session, the legislature passed and Governor Noem signed into law HB1033 which provided funding for housing infrastructure and it was legislation that I would support. I believe that affordable housing is a multi-faceted issue. Besides supporting legislation like HB1033, I would work to ensure that our counties and municipalities can continue to utilize tools at their disposal to build needed housing at all levels as well as making sure our citizens have both the work force education and job opportunities needed in order to purchase a home.
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?
I support the increase in wages for DOC employees that will take effect July 1 and would support a review in 9-12 months that everyone who should receive an increase has gotten one; I would support the continued funding & construction of the new women’s prison; I would support the recommendations in the report done for the Department of Corrections.
8. What steps should the legislature take to entice young people to remain in the state?
First, we need to support and highlight our quality educational opportunities and institutions (both universities and trade schools); second, we need to keep attracting a wide variety of businesses to South Dakota and the career opportunities they bring; and finally, we need to inform and educate people about the excellent business and career climate that South Dakota is fostering.
9. Do you support any changes to the way elections are run in South Dakota?
No. I believe that South Dakota, the Secretary of State’s office, and the county offices do a great job with conducting our elections.
9. 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 would support having exceptions for when the mother’s life is at risk, for rape and for incest.
12. What is your stance on legalized, recreational marijuana in South Dakota?
If legalized, recreational marijuana is put on the ballot and passes this November then I shall support the people’s vote.
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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