What I believe
A great state is built on strong families. Policy should always help families thrive in mind, body and spirit.
Our future rests on K-12 and secondary education – both technical and collegiate. My kids were launched in Sioux Falls public schools, and I witnessed the direct connection between a quality school experience and their confidence to move forward in life.
Education is the real deal – the launching pad for life success, an investment in our future workforce, and the pathway for our kids to become positive community contributors. And the most important lever for quality education is a great teacher in the classroom. As a Senator, I’ve been a leader in shaping policy that honors our teachers and shows how much they are valued.
What I Did
- Co-chaired the Blue Ribbon Education Funding Reform Task Force.
- Fought for historic raises for teachers that moved SD from last in the nation (since 1985) to 48th in average teacher pay.
- Led a fiscally responsible school funding package, that includes innovation for benchmark learning for all kids in the state.
- Sponsored an enhanced civics education initiative.
- Served as Chair of Senate Education Committee.
- Facilitated enhanced education for those students that are visually or hearing impaired
Why it matters
Health is a most precious asset to each individual, so policy needs to support prevention and wellness. Health should be accessible to all, and in a rural state like South Dakota innovation is a must. When people are vulnerable, there needs to be reliable assistance to help.
What I Did
- Recipient of the 2018 South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations’ “Distinguished Service Award, State Legislator for genuine and important contributions to health care in South Dakota”
- Prime sponsor and 3-year Chair of Jolene’s Law Task Force to prevent child sexual abuse.
- Honored with Partners in Protecting Kids 2016 award by Children’s Home Society for going above and beyond to protect children from abuse.
- Led development of and secured funding for the statewide Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment – now Chair of Advisory Board – https://www.sdcpcm.com/
- Chaired Domestic Abuse interim study, expanding laws to protect everyone.
- Prime sponsored multiple bills that reduced regulation while enhancing access to care provided by nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, physical therapists, pharmacists, mental health professionals and counselors.
- Prime sponsor of multiple bills that protect the most vulnerable: infants, children, those with disabilities, those subjected to violence, the elderly and people faced with terminal illness.
- Serve on SD Health Care Solutions Coalition that has developed innovative strategies to provide appropriate care access and cost-effectiveness for those on Medicaid.
- Serve on Long Term Care Services and Support Work Group.
- Serve as Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.