SD State Legislature Candidate Survey: Jamie Giedd
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Jamie Giedd is running in the Republican primary for South Dakota State House District 32. District 32 covers part of Rapid City. Giedd faces two primary opponents; Becky J. Drury, and Steve Duffy.
1. Tell us about yourself?
I am a fifth-generation South Dakotan who loves this state and our freedoms. I was born and raised in De Smet, earned my bachelor’s from SDSU, and moved to Rapid City in 2013. As the baby of 8 siblings and an aunt to 22 nieces and nephews, 28 great-nieces and nephews, and two great-grandchildren. I’ve actively helped my siblings raise babies since I was 11. A humanitarian in my heart and a volunteer in life, I dedicated my career to public service in 2015 when I became a legal administrative assistant with the Pennington County Public Defender’s Office.
2. Why are you running for this office?
For far too long, too many of our elected representatives have dismissed, outright belittled, attacked, and overturned the will of South Dakotan voters. As former United States Secretary of State George P. Shultz observed, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and a willingness to act in its defense.” I decided to run for state House in District 32 because I am dedicated to the will of the voter -- above all else. Voters should be able to trust that their initiated legislation will be embraced into law. Voters should also be able to trust that when they vote “no,” elected officials will not attempt to enact the legislation despite their constituents.
3. What would be your top three priorities if elected?
If elected, my top three priorities are to 1) embrace and defend voter-approved initiated measures, 2) limit government overreach within all areas of our lives, and 3) encourage business and workforce development. I am ready to tackle South Dakota issues with pragmatic and strategic problem solving to maximize personal freedom for all.
4. What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
Being a legal administrative assistant since 2015, I understand the criminal justice ecosystem and how the impacts of legislation ripple through our communities. My Bachelor of General Studies provides knowledge and training in psychology, interpersonal development, and theatre management, which results in a keen ability to streamline processes and create procedures to increase efficiency and morale. New to politics, my fresh eyes see issues through an impartial lens.
5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen?
South Dakotans are hurting from inflation and a real-estate bubble far from popping. Although I support providing tax relief to help ease this financial pain, South Dakota has very little waste in our budget. Nevertheless, I would work towards expanding property tax relief for our senior citizens so that they are not taxed out of their homes while analyzing ways to moderate the yearly increase for all homeowners.
6. What is your stance on legalized, recreational marijuana in South Dakota?
I stand with the voters and our veterans. If the majority votes to legalize recreational marijuana as they did with Amendment A, then our veterans will finally have access to medicine currently denied by the federal government. I also look forward to utilizing the tax revenue to invest in our communities and reduce property taxes, improve our infrastructure and prepare for our continued growth, increase teacher salaries and offer support to our schools, and end the discussion of an income tax. Without the prohibitionist regulations, I look forward to the cannabis industry flourishing with increased hemp production; quality-controlled marijuana production; and new processing, packaging, and manufacturing facilities. Finally, I look forward to providing South Dakota taxpayers with a non-addictive, non-lethal, natural over-the-counter alternative for anxiety and pain.
7. Housing availability has become an issue for many South Dakotans. How would you seek to make housing more affordable?
I would work on drafting bipartisan legislation to ensure that housing is going to South Dakota taxpayers, rather than out-of-state private equity firms. South Dakota taxpayers should be the priority; not out-of-state investment entities.
8. 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?
We need to ask ourselves whether we want to invest in a prison industry with a 76.9% recidivism rate for drug addicts, or if we want to invest in our workforce and heal our communities. South Dakota leads the nation in incarceration and is the only state to have a felony ingestion law. South Dakota has some of the strictest possession laws (which classify trace amounts of a controlled substance as a felony). We need to provide adequate treatment and workforce development while removing the felon label from non-violent addicts. Once branded a felon, an addict’s ability to obtain employment and housing dramatically reduces, which increases their likelihood of relapse and perpetuates addiction and desperation.
9. What steps should the legislature take to entice young people to remain in the state?
The legislature needs to engage their younger constituents to ensure the community development includes their ideas and priorities. Rapid City’s growth of shared workspaces, internet cafes, diverse restaurants, and breweries are good examples of this. Most millennials and Gen Z want to own their own business. As such, we need to develop programs and systems to encourage entrepreneurial opportunities and support small business growth. We need to invest in our workforce, continue to incorporate trade and computer skills in our high school education, and embrace progress. Finally, we need to prioritize a strong infrastructure, including high-speed internet availability, to set our communities up for success.
10. Do you support any changes to the way elections are run in South Dakota?
No. South Dakota has secure elections and proper protocols to provide absentee ballots to those traveling (like our service members and families) and those wanting to submit their ballot prior to Election Day.
11. 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?
Because approximately 55% of South Dakotans voted against banning abortion in both 2006 and 2008, banning abortion outright is government overreach and another example of our elected officials disregarding the voters’ will. I am a Christian who values life, and I am a rape survivor who understands the complexity of this issue and the necessity for body autonomy. South Dakota already has a “trigger law,” and we have yet to see how its language impacts our families. I will read bills as they come forward, listen to my constituents, and protect the will of the voters of District 32.
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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