South Dakota legislative District 25 has a Republican Primary for State House. There is also a Primary on the Democrat side, but that is a different post. District 25 is an oddly shaped district north of Sioux Falls and NE of Sioux Falls. Towns in this district include
Baltic, Brandon, Colton, Dell Rapids, Garretson, Sherman, Sioux Falls, and Valley Springs.
Incumbent Rep Kris Langer (R, Dist 25) is running for State Senate. The three Democrat candidates trying for District 22 House are incumbent Rep Roger Hunt (R, Dist 25), Courtney Ecklund (R), and Tom Pischke (R). The two winners of this primary will face the two winners of the Democrat primary in the general election.
Here is a brief look at all three candidates. The candidates below are listed in the order they will appear on the primary ballot. I’ve also included the links I could find to help voters learn more about each candidate.
Hunt doesn’t appear to have much of an online presence for constituents to learn about him. But that is OK. He is a sitting legislator, so there is legislation that can be looked at. For this post a few recent pieces of legislation will be looked at in order to get an idea of his priorities.
One of the biggest social issues for the legislature in 2016 was transgender use of showers and bathrooms in schools. While Hunt didn’t sponsor the bill that got the most attention, he did sponsor a pair of bills that fell within that domain. Here are the two bills in question:
HB 1112 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Establish certain procedures regarding a transgender policy for the purposes of participation in high school activities and to declare void any present transgender policy of the South Dakota High School Activities Association.
Both of these bills were aimed directly at the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s (SDHSAA) transgender policy for locker room and bathroom use. Basically HB 1112 would have voided the current SDHSAA transgender policy and required legislative approval of any transgender policy in the future. I didn’t see HB 1112 going very far. By the time this bill came up in committee Governor Daugaard had already vetoed the big transgender bill HB 1008 (SoDakLiberty Posts). An interesting side-note is that Hunt seemed to have gained support from a lot of conservatives in his area after submitting these bills. The support gained as people on the other side of the issue started attacking Hunt personally instead of having a policy discussion.
The other transgender bill, HB 1111, was more interesting. It would have required the SDHSAA to submit any major rule changes to the Rules Review committee like any other state agency. Transgender issue aside, there have been multiple complaints that the SDHSAA has gone wild with power and going beyond the scope of what it should be doing. And since it is a quasi-state-agency it would have possibly been a good idea to provide the same oversight to the SDHSAA that the rules review committee does to other agencies. But since this bill was tied to the transgender issue it was easily defeated.
Both of the transgender bills show Hunts stance on social conservative issues. Personally I think the legislature and SDHSAA should have no transgender policy, but after traveling the state for the last few months I get the impression I am in the minority with that opinion.
Another bill from 2016 worth looking at is HCR 1015 (SoDakLiberty Posts). HCR 1015 is the latest version of the resolution that the legislature passes on behalf the federal Congressional delegation to commend Taiwan. That in itself is not a big deal one way or the other. The problem is that the resolution also supports the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Last fall I did three separate posts looking at TPP in SD politics:
Hunt’s support of TPP seems odd, especially since the hard right he associates so well with is also opposed to TPP. When TPP is fully ratified it won’t be surprising if many of the conservatives that supported this resolution will suddenly speak out against TPP after finding out what is actually in it.
I don’t seem to be able to find much of anything on Ecklund. Perhaps Ecklund was a last-minute placeholder candidate that accidentally got into a primary race. Or perhaps he is focusing on door-to-door and literature drops.
Pischke has a campaign Facebook page. There isn’t much there. But I did find this in a post:
To all South Dakota Shared Parenting Friends and Supporters:
As you know, I am running for SD House of Representatives for District 25. If elected, I will by YOUR VOICE in our state legislature. I know firsthand how unethical our system is as I’ve been just another victim of the corruption of our court system and reduced to a visitor in my 3 young children’s lives and a child support paycheck to my ex-wife. I will work diligently to reform the Family Law practices of our great state
In 2014 a shared parenting law passed via SB 74 (SoDakLiberty Posts). Here is what I had to say about the bill when it passed:
This is probably one of the best laws passed this year. And it is a surprisingly libertarian take on a law. This shared parenting law basically says that custody disputes between parents shall be treated equal under the law and the court should start with the presumption of joint custody. There are provisions that can be used to change that presumption and custody can still be awarded in varying ways. But at least now both parents start on equal grounding. That is a huge victory for advocates of share parenting: equal treatment under the law!
I’ve heard from shared parenting advocates that more work needs to be done and SB 74 was not a final solution. Rather one shared parenting advocate said it was a step along the way. It would appear Pischke is ready to take on that fight.
There isn’t much else to learn about Pischke on his Facebook page. But he does appear to be getting out in the district and letting his name be known.