SD State Legislative Candidate Survey: David Johnson

South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)
South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)(DAKOTA NEWS NOW)
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 2:04 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - State Sen. David Johnson (R-Rapid City) is running for re-election to the South Dakota State Senate in District 33. District 33 is made up of portions of Pennington and Meade Counties. He faces one primary opponent, Janet Jensen.

1. Tell us about yourself?

I’ve lived in Rapid City since 1965, attending public schools through RC Central High School.  I graduated from the School of Mines and then served as a commissioned officer in the USAF.  My wife and I have been married 36 years.  We are the parents of three grown daughters and now grandparents of four.

2. Why are you running for this office?

I run for re-election to the SD Senate because it’s my goal to give back to Rapid City and the Black Hills communities who’ve supported my family and my family business enterprise for many decades.  Four generations of my family have been living in the Black Hills – it’s my duty and privilege to volunteer and give back.

3. What would be your top three priorities if elected?

  1. I will never fault on my honorable oath as a USAF Officer and SD State Legislator to protect and defend the US Constitution against all enemies foreign or domestic.
  2. I am a product of the public education system of western SD and the Black Hills.  The quality of education in western SD must return to the high level it was 30, 40, and 50 years ago.
  3. We must protect the quality of life we enjoy here in the Black Hills.  We must maintain that high quality by protecting and fostering a healthy and sustainable Black Hills National Forest.

4. What relevant experience would you bring to the office?

I am a Bachelors-level graduate from the School of Mines and a Masters-level graduate from USD, Vermillion.  I served Honorable duty as an Officer in the USAF.  I have run/operated/co-owned (with my father) a successful small business in western SD for more than 40 years – since 1980.  My wife and I have enjoyed a happily married Christian family life.  I will bring to the office a proud and honorable history of serving God, Country, and South Dakota.

5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen?

In my six years as a state legislator, I have never voted for a tax increase of any kind.  I support and promote property tax relief and sales tax relief.  I was one of three Senators in 2022 who co-authored legislation and testified before Senate committees on the reduction of our sales taxes to pre-2015 levels.  I co-sponsored and supported multiple legislative efforts to offer property tax relief.  The only way to make tax relief a reality is by working and collaborating with other concerned legislators.  To be successful, tax relief must come via a legislative team effort.

6. Housing availability has become an issue for many South Dakotans. How would you seek to make housing more affordable?

The most effective way, by far, to increase affordable housing availability is by reducing the costs and fees for public infrastructure.  This effort is being actively pursued by many Senators and Representatives in the SD State Legislature.

7. South Dakota prisons 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 have been appointed this year to sit on a Legislative Task Force for funding and investigating Prison and Incarceration in South Dakota.  Prison staffing problems, overtime issues, and employee morale are seriously hampering and debilitating the current system.  The Task Force will be addressing those issues.  SD must resolve its prison overcrowding because of the safety issues it causes, and SD must offer quality employment packages to retain critical prison staff.

8. What steps should the legislature take to entice young people to remain in the state?

The School of Mines and SDSU have been working successfully with private entities on the issue of enticing young, brilliant graduates to remain in SD, living and raising their families here.  This work is brought through private entities such as Elevate Rapid City, where mentorship, networking, office lab and meeting spaces for cutting edge entrepreneurs is offered.  These efforts have already proven successful in retaining young businesses and families in many SD communities.  Through Elevate, Rapid City at the forefront of these efforts.

9. Do you support any changes to the way elections are run in South Dakota?

Our SD county auditors and our Secretary of State’s Office currently do a great job in enforcing the existing identification requirements and all other polling laws on the books. I believe our SD elections are honest, fair, and accurate.  At this time, I do not support changing the way elections are run in South Dakota.

10. 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 do 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 am a Pro-Life candidate.  My Pro-Life voting record in the SD Legislature is 100%.  I support the choice of LIFE from conception to natural death, with the only exception occurring when the mother’s life is at risk.  I support Gov. Noem’s plan to ban abortion outright, and the “trigger law” that is already in place in SD.

11. What is your stance on legalized, recreational marijuana in South Dakota?

I do not support legalizing recreational marijuana in South Dakota.  I do support, however, writing responsible, enforceable statute that pre-empts what appears to be an inevitable legalization of marijuana in our state.  Through the polls, the people of SD have expressed support for recreational legalization, so I believe it is in the state’s best interest to write authoritative, pre-emptive laws prior to its legalization.

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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