SD State Legislative Candidate Survey: Larry Larson
BOX ELDER, S.D. (KOTA) - Larry Larson is running to be elected in South Dakota State House District 35. The district covers eastern Rapid City, Box Elder, and a portion of Ellsworth Air Force Base. Larson faces three primary opponents; incumbents Tony Randolph and Tina Mulally, and Liz Regalado.
1. Tell us about yourself?
I am married and they have two grown children – both of whom are teachers and both married. We have 5 granddaughters. I graduated from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. I also received a Master of Arts degree in Administration from South Dakota State University. We have lived in Box Elder since 1972 and been very involved in the community. I retired after 40 years as a teacher and administrator. I was on the Douglas School Board for 36 years and the Black Hills Special Services Cooperative Board for 34 years. I am also very involved with the Box Elder Chamber of Commerce. I am now in my 7th year as mayor of Box Elder.
2. Why are you running for this office?
As western South Dakota continues to grow and the B-21 arrives at Ellsworth Air Force Base there are many challenges. I feel the following are important issues that need to be addressed in Pierre.
· Affordable Housing
· School Growth
· Teacher Salaries
· Economic Development
· Stabilize Property Taxes
· Provide long term support of communities impacted by Military
· Develop Positive Relationships
· Committed Advocate for District 35
3. What would be your top three priorities if elected?
Affordable Housing, Stabilize Property Taxes, Provide long term support of communities impacted by Military installations.
4. What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
I was a teacher and administrator for 40 years before retiring in 2012. I was on the Douglas School Board for 36 years, Black Hills Special Services Board for 34 years. I am on my 3rd term as mayor and have had to change a negative perception of Box Elder to a positive one. As Mayor of Box Elder I have developed great relationships with other government entities and developers. We are one of the fastest growing cities in the state and currently the 11th largest city. I feel these experiences have given me a good understanding of the needs we have in the state, but especially western SD.
5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen?
We need to stabilize Property Taxes. It is great that people want to move to South Dakota. We have a great place to live. Unfortunately, we have not had that many houses on the market, so people are willing to pay more to get a house. That is great for those selling but it then makes everyone else have to pay more in property tax because of the increased value of houses. We need to figure a way to allow people that have owned their houses for a long time and are on a fixed income some sort of tax relief.
6. Housing availability has become an issue for many South Dakotans. How would you seek to make housing more affordable?
There is land available for housing but unfortunately the infrastructure is not in place to allow the housing to be built. If a developer builds a house and has to figure in the cost of expensive infrastructure the house becomes much more expensive. If we can figure out a way to help with the infrastructure we can keep the cost of the homes down.
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?
We can’t keep building correctional facilities. Instead, we need to work at programs to keep people out of the jails in the first place.
8. What steps should the legislature take to entice young people to remain in the state?
Unfortunately, wages are low for college graduates so of course they end up leaving when they finish college. Encouraging businesses and schools to increase salaries would help.
9. Do you support any changes to the way elections are run in South Dakota?
I have not heard of any issues with our elections so I would not suggest we change anything at this time.
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?
I would like to see an exception for rape and incest added.
11. What is your stance on legalized, recreational marijuana in South Dakota?
This will be decided by the people in the November elections. If it passes we will need to come up with appropriate ways to regulate the use. Other states have already had to deal with this issue so hopefully we can use what has happened in other states to our benefit. This would be a good opportunity for tax relief. I would like to see the tax on marijuana used to replace the tax on food and clothing. Eliminating the tax on food and clothing would help everyone.
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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