Four vie for District 30 House seat

By Jason Ferguson

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Voters in District 30 have four choices—two incumbents and two challengers—for a two-year seat in the S.D. House of Representatives in the Nov. 6 election.

Tim Goodwin, 63, is a  Republican incumbent who served two years in the House and is running for reelection because his constituents “overwhelmingly want him” to and because he feels there is work left to do in Pierre.

“My learning curve is getting better all the time,” he said.

Goodwin is a Christian conservative Republican, in that order, and says his references are the Bible, the Constitution and the Republican platform.

“The citizens of District 30 can pretty much predict how I stand on the issues,” he said.

Goodwin said transparency in government is a big issue, pointing to the EB-5 and GEARUP scandals. He also says something needs to be done about property tax relief, as well as stopping government growth.

“We have over 14,000 state employees. Each one costs taxpayers $80,000,” he said.

Goodwin wants to stop federal government intrusion into our lives and protect District 30 residents from a state income tax and more fees/taxes.

Goodwin said the school funding formula must be corrected, as it hurts smaller schools, and roads and bridges must be maintained. And, at all costs, the VA must stay in Hot Springs.

Goodwin plans to cosponsor a bill to put penalties into the law that requires birth and death certificates.

“We have an FLDS compound that, in most, if not all, cases doesn’t issue birth and death certificates,” he said.

Goodwin said he will represent all citizens of the district, regardless of their political affiliation.

“I have no personal agenda or aspirations of higher office. I just want to be the voice of the citizens of our district,” he said.

Fellow Republican incumbent Julie Frye-Mueller, 55, is involved in her family’s retail business in Rapid City and has served two years in the House. She decided to seek reelection because if good, honest people don’t run, the state is in trouble.

“I want to make sure we know what is going on and let the citizens know,” she said. “Now that Tim and I have two years under our belts, we are even more able to represent our district and we work well together.”

Frye-Muller says she has a passion to do the right thing for the state, pointing out how she worked to keep the State Treatment and Rehabilitation Academy as is and also helped kill the bill that would have made Spearfish Canyon a state park.

Big issues for the state, she said, include refugees coming here and the millions of dollars given to them. She says the state has taken $207.9 million from taxpayers for a refugee  resettlement program from 2013-17.

“We are allowing countries that kill people for leaving Islam to send people here,” she said.

Education is another large issue, and she said she will continue to spend money efficiently to deliver a better education to students, while seeking a funding formula more fair for smaller schools. Corruption and lack of transparency by the state concern her, as does health care.

“We need to be able to shop across state lines for a more competitive market,” she said. “It’s ridiculous how much premiums cost—more than rent or a mortgage payment for some people.”

Getting rid of Common Core, uranium mining and its possible pitfalls, license plate replacement (and the money wasted on it) and extending the life of state vehicles to cut state spending are also on her agenda.

“I am not part of the establishment. I am not there to do the bureaucracy’s bidding,” she said. “I am there to represent the people. I will either do what I can to assist or I will call someone to get answers.” 

Stay-at-home mother and entrepreneur (who plans to return to health care research when her children are older) Whitney Raver, 31, is a self-described political outsider who is a Democratic challenger. She chose to seek election to the House because she believes citizens have a responsibility to our democracy.

“I am running to give voice to those who believe we can educate all South Dakota children; that we can ensure health care for all state citizens; that we can grow a robust economy through empowering labor practices; that we have a divine responsibility to protect our air, land and water; that strong families are the bricks that build a strong society; and that the only limitation to state ingenuity is our will,” she said.

Raver said she would bring to the House the ability to make tough decisions and the humility to listen to those who depend on her, regardless of party affiliation. She said she desires to solve South Dakota problems to help families and communities thrive.

“As a scientist, I bring the ability to look at all the moving parts, both separately and as a whole, and collaborate with my peers to come up with solutions to treat the cause of the problem, not just the symptoms,” she said.

The biggest issues facing the state and District 30, she said, are not allowing water to be poisoned with uranium and protecting natural resources for future generations, prioritizing educational infrastructure for the good of the economy, addressing a housing crisis to ensure affordable homeownership, ensuring access to health care for everyone by working with care providers and not insurance companies and restoring integrity and transparency in government.

“We’ve developed a view of the government as apart from us and behave as if government officials are above us. That is not in keeping with the spirit that drove our forefathers to burn effigies of their king,” she said.

Karen McGregor, 65, is a retired deputy auditor from Pennington County who is involved with the Canyon Lake Activity Center as a volunteer and director who also volunteers with Feed South Dakota. She feels like state legislators have their own agenda and it isn’t always what is best for all South Dakotans. That led her, as a Democrat, to seek a seat in the House.

“Hearing that the Republicans caucus behind closed doors and have a loyalty oath is wrong,” she said. “That is not how our elected representatives are supposed to act; they  should represent all of us, even those with a different party affiliation.”

McGregor said she is willing to listen and learn about the problems in District 30. She has met with school superintendents, mayors, county assessors and residents in the district.

“When elected, I might not always make everyone happy, but I will have done my research and listened to the people I represent,” she said.

Issues facing the state and District 30, she feels, include agricultural producers facing an uncertain future until trade wars are resolved, and re-evaluating all of the state sales tax exemptions. Other issues include health care, providing mental health treatment and more drug treatment options in western South Dakota, education funding receiving more flexibility in using state aid and strengthening environmental protections.

McGregor said a proposal is needed that equalizes taxes on agricultural land and that area mining operations need more oversight. The school funding formula needs another look, she said, and the state needs to focus on economic and workforce development for rural areas to train people for the careers of the future.

“I will work with anyone who has a good idea and be willing to reach across party lines,” she said. “Working together to make South Dakota a state that works for everyone should be our legislators’ number one goal,” she said.

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