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SD State Legislature Candidate Survey: Mike Weisgram

South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)
South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)(DAKOTA NEWS NOW)
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 8:15 PM MDT
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FORT PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Rep. Mike Weisgram (R-Fort Pierre) is running for re-election to the South Dakota House in District 24. Cities in District 24 include Pierre, Fort Pierre, Highmore, Onida and Philip. Weisgram currently faces three other primary challengers; Will Mortenson, Jim Sheehan, and Mary Weinheimer.

Rep. Mike Weisgram (R-Fort Pierre)
Rep. Mike Weisgram (R-Fort Pierre)(Submitted)

1. Tell us about yourself?

I am running for re-election to the House from District 24. I have served for one term (two sessions). A central South Dakota native, I have small business experience (37 years) and was a City Council member for five years. Married to Judy for 43 years, father of two, and grandfather to six. Have served on many civic committees, boards, and councils, my character, work ethic, and judgement is a product of my experiences.

2. Why are you running for office?

I am running to use my experiences to promote common sense solutions to problems that are present in our communities and state. I am running to assure the American dream to following generations. Most of my kids live in central South Dakota and I wan t to keep our values as a basis for how we live our lives in South Dakota. I try to help all the citizens of South Dakota through positive legislation.

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

Pass a fiscally strong balanced budget for the state. Introduce legislation to help Cities deal with abandoned homes, help Counties deal with the increased costs of court appointed attorneys for their citizens, help South Dakota Pharmacists deal with unregulated Pharmacy Benefit Managers (middlemen between big Pharmaceutical Companies and local independent pharmacists) to ensure their livelihood in smaller South Dakota cities.

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

The experience of two sessions being a state representative and a City Councilman. Small business experience in making payroll, paying taxes, and recruiting workers.

5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen. Yes, I volunteered (and was selected) to be on a legislative interim study committee regarding South Dakota’s property tax structure and spreading the tax burden. Hopefully the study will identify improvements in our system of taxing property for revenues to fund education and local governments. Also, the SD Department of Revenue has a sales tax (partial) refund program currently available to senior citizens and citizens with disabilities. I intend to work with DOR officials to increase the limits of eligibility for more citizens to participate in.

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

Last session yielded HB 1033 that gave the SD Housing Authority funding to help with housing infrastructure to encourage more housing opportunities. That program is just getting vetted and hopefully will be available to developers soon.

7. South Dakota correctional facilities have been dealing with a number of issues, most prominent among them overcrowding and staffing. What would you do to combat these issues?

The intent of the SD Legislative Interim Study Committee on correctional needs is to study the jails and prisons across the state and find opportunities for collaboration within the state’s correctional plan. Hopefully efficient and effective solutions can be identified, and legislation may be brought forward next session.

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

Although some other states and large cities have offered incentives for moving costs, forgivable loans for closing costs, and matching private employers signing bonuses, I don’t think the legislature would have an appetite for initiating those measures. Continued efforts to have clean water, clean air, strong law enforcement, safe and proficient schools, low secondary education tuition costs, friendly business environment, strong recreation choices, and the ease of getting around are our strong points and funding these goals should be the legislatures priorities.

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

I have not seen any proposals to the current election laws but welcome any suggestions by the Secretary of State or interest group.

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?

Yes. I would listen to other arguments / proposals, but I feel life is a gift from the Holy Spirit and is sacred. No one may dispose of it at will.

11. What is your stance on legalized recreational marijuana?

I have not supported it in the past and am unlikely to do so in the future.

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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