SD State Legislative Candidate Survey: Dean Aurand
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Dean Aurand is running for election to the South Dakota State House District 33. Massie faces three primary opponents; Janette McIntyre, Phil Jensen, and Curt Massie.
1. Tell us about yourself?
I love Rapid City and the Black Hills. I moved here 37 years ago at the age of 25 to start Mid Continent Testing Labs with my business partner. I met my wife, Susan, that year, and we will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary this year. This area has been a great place to raise our three children, Katie, Whitney and Michael. I grew up on a small farm with little money but in a rich environment that allowed my siblings and me to prosper. Our parents sacrificed to insure we had great educational opportunities. I have a technical degree in diesel mechanics, and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. I have been an active volunteer in this community for many years and am guided by family values, a desire for limited and local government, and creating sound policy for future generations.
2. Why are you running for this office?
District 33 needs someone with vast experiences, not single issue candidates. I have always believed that we are best served by ordinary citizens taking their turn as elected officials. Our divided political system and negative campaigning discourages many qualified people from running. I hope to break that cycle and represent District 33 as someone they can be proud of.
3. What would be your top three priorities if elected?
Budget ‐ Setting a budget and having it balance is the most important function of the legislature. It is important that District 33 has a representative who has the respect of fellow legislators and fully participates in all aspects of the budget process. Taxes ‐ Maintain a tax policy that that promotes business development without burdening individuals. Education ‐ The future of all individuals is greatly determined by their education. Unfortunately, many students are disengaged and are not performing to their potential. I believe that we need to promote technical education and community colleges as a path for entrepreneurs to obtain the skills to one day own their own business. Such an education also provides the skilled workers required in today’s workforce.
4. What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
My 37 years’ experience starting and operating a small business that employs our local science graduates has given me the knowledge of fiscal management and employee and customer relations. I have been an active volunteer and served as the chairman on many boards in Rapid City including Black Hills Works, Leadership Rapid City, and Government Affairs Committee. I have volunteered at the Rapid City legislative cracker‐barrels for over 10 years and have moderated some of them. This has given me a front row seat to the legislative issues of our area.
5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans?
If so, what type and how would you make it happen? I will support legislation that keeps our tax burden low as we currently have the 6th lowest tax burden of all states. Unfortunately, most tax relief programs only relieve taxes on one group by raising taxes on someone else.
6. Housing availability has become an issue for many South Dakotans. How would you seek to make housing more affordable?
As a legislator, I would be very cautious on having the state intervene in our market economy, as government interference usually makes the situation worse. However, housing requires the infrastructure of roads, water and sewer lines which become government owned property. Many large infrastructure projects are difficult to fund locally and need the investment from other sources. The State of South Dakota should be ready to support opportunities that will promote infrastructure projects.
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?
This problem is not solved by releasing offenders into our community. As South Dakota’s population grows we will need additional facilities. Incarcerating people is very expensive. The state would be wise to invest in intervention programs including drug and mental health programs as these costs are much less than the cost of housing people in jails.
8. What steps should the legislature take to entice young people to remain in the state?
Young people will remain in South Dakota if they have good opportunities for great jobs. I believe that our education system should foster an entrepreneurial mindset in our students. This attitude will help make great employees and allow individuals the potential to one day own their own business. Technical education is a great way to have the skill set to own a successful business in fields such as heating/air‐conditioning, plumbing, electrical, etc. We also need to continue to promote research and innovation in our universities to allow startup companies, based on new discoveries, to develop and create South Dakota jobs for young graduates. As a legislator, I would support investment in these educational opportunities.
9. Do you support any changes to the way elections are run in South Dakota?
I support laws that maintain accurate voter registrations, and require an ID to vote. I prefer our current system of paper ballots that allow for quick voting with short waiting lines and a reliable opportunity for recounts.
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 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 have always been pro‐life and believe society should value human life.
11. What is your stance on legalized, recreational marijuana in South Dakota?
This topic will be settled by an Initiated Measure on the November ballot. I personally don’t like the concept of recreational marijuana, but regardless of my views, a legislator’s job to represent the voters.
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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