District 34 Candidates

Meet The Candidates

District 30 | District 32 | District 33 | District 34 | District 35

Senate

You will be able to vote for one.

Michael G. Diedrich

Republican
Attorney

Many local businesses continue to struggle amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. What programs or other actions would you support in the next six months to aid economic recovery?

COVID 19 impact on business can be different for each business. I support disbursement of state CARES Act grant dollars to fund: 1) locally administered no-to-low interest loans with grant forgiveness through a simple process that respects the applicants privacy; 3) public and private programs for workforce and housing development; and, 3) infrastructure necessary to support business. Disbursements must focus on assisting businesses to reopen or remain open safely, sustainably, and enable growth opportunities.

What do you believe is vital to promoting quality economic growth in western South Dakota?

Quality economic growth in Western South Dakota requires: 1) workforce development and recruiting/relocation programs for both skilled and professional; 2) affordable housing choices for all levels of workforce; 3) a business friendly tax and regulatory environment; 4) quality education; 5) quality healthcare; and, 6) infrastructure to support the recruitment of business and industry by providing the technology, transportation, and communication required for business development and growth.

What is your favorite Black Hills Area business to support?

Elevate is a favorite business because it effectively advocates for a pro-business environment. Locally owned businesses are my favorites because of their high quality, personal touch, and economic importance to our community.

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George J. Nelson

Democrat
Attorney
Campaign Facebook

Many local businesses continue to struggle amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. What programs or other actions would you support in the next six months to aid economic recovery?

I am a strong advocate for completing the Heartland Express thoroughfare through SD and for the state participating in Medicaid expansion. If both occur, the economic benefit to just District 34 would be significant, let alone the state as a whole. The Heartland Express would provide a north-south transportation route from Denver to the Canadian border with Rapid City smack in the middle of that transit. Tourism, the healthcare industry and our retail sector would all benefit tremendously were we to be at the hub of an east-west and north-south transportation system. Medicaid expansion would provide needed healthcare to a significant a number of District 34 households. It would also be financially beneficial to the medical providers in Rapid City, increasing the incomes of healthcare workers in District 34.

What do you believe is vital to promoting quality economic growth in western South Dakota?

Clean water, clean air, and an educated labor pool are the basic ingredients for promoting economic growth in western SD.  I give high priority to protecting our environment and promoting our educational systems.  

What is your favorite Black Hills Area business to support?

I support locally own businesses that provide me with services and supplies for my law practice. Business Source is one such business.

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House of Representatives

Nick Anderson (Democrat) did not return questionnaire. You will be able to vote for up to two.

Jess Olson

Republican // Incumbent
Small Business Owner
Campaign Website
Campaign Facebook

Many local businesses continue to struggle amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. What programs or other actions would you support in the next six months to aid economic recovery?

With many South Dakotans impacted by COVID-19, I want to ensure we support a broad set of programs to help as many people as possible stay strong during a difficult time. Helping businesses thrive also means helping employers and workers find support in many aspects of their lives. We have so far supported Education, Small Businesses and are looking at financial support for Healthcare providers as well. We also need to support our Agricultural community as farmers and ranchers are vital to South Dakota. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to me.

What do you believe is vital to promoting quality economic growth in western South Dakota?

We have a diverse array of business opportunities here, in Western South Dakota. Workforce development, in particular, encouraging individuals to seek work to increase the number of South Dakotans earning paychecks, paying taxes and providing for their families is key. It’s critical to connect employers with as many qualified candidates as possible. Events, platforms, training programs and other avenues to help individuals find their right match with employers creates sustainable growth. 

What is your favorite Black Hills Area business to support?

As a business owner, I am biased towards my amazing team of home health care providers. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to thank all of the front line workers and so many other essential healthcare workers who are doing the fantastic labor of love of helping people maintain access to healthcare and daily living support.

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Mike Derby

Republican
Owner, Canyon Lake Resort
Campaign Website
Campaign Facebook

Many local businesses continue to struggle amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. What programs or other actions would you support in the next six months to aid economic recovery?

Funding for Elevate Rapid City to continue to offer no-to-low interest loans with grant forgiveness to businesses affected by COVID-19 through December 2021 in the form of a locally based payroll protection program. Additional support for the Child Care Providers Loan Program to ease the burden on the local workforce, families and business who are navigating the local back-to-school plans.

What do you believe is vital to promoting quality economic growth in western South Dakota?

Removing barriers to entry and impediments that prevent businesses from being successful. As someone who has served before in the Legislature, I got a great deal of satisfaction from introducing and passing bills that helped make a difference for local businesses.

What is your favorite Black Hills Area business to support?

Que Pasa Cantina in downtown Rapid City. I enjoy sitting outside and watching the world go by at 5th and Main St.

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Rick Stracqualursi

Democrat
Budget Analyst – Oyate Health Center, Rapid City
Campaign Facebook

Many local businesses continue to struggle amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. What programs or other actions would you support in the next six months to aid economic recovery?

I would support government action strongly encouraging the wearing of masks. We can tamp down this pandemic, even without vaccine, by wearing masks, maintaining social distance, using hand sanitizer.

I would support federal efforts to continue something like the CARES Act, providing forgivable loans to small businesses. I’d support the distribution of these funds, probably through the use of local banks or a bi-partisan investment committee.

I’d support our people and the state’s economy by passing Medicaid expansion. We have over 45,000 people without health care coverage, these people are at great risk. Medicaid expansion would help them, and all of us. It would allow medical providers to moderate their charges, since they would not have to make up losses on uninsured people. It will bring over $300 MILLION per year into our state’s economy. Not moving on this just does not make sense, even with ten years’ worth of excuses for inaction.

What do you believe is vital to promoting quality economic growth in western South Dakota?

We can’t keep waiting for “the next big thing.” We need to create a lot of different opportunities, and one way to do this is through encouraging and strengthening business incubators like the Ascent Innovation. This type of environment fosters connections between our excellent centers of higher education (like the School of Mines or Black Hills State University) and private sector business developers. Some projects will fail, some will be moderately successful, and some will be the next big ideas. Many good jobs will be created through these efforts.

What is your favorite Black Hills Area business to support?

I like Prairie Edge. Great showcase of native art of the Plains, and even if you don’t buy anything, it is a wonder to walk through.

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