Incumbent candidates have a voting record upon which we can rely to know whether they will support Republican values and principles if re-elected. The best indicator of how a candidate will behave if they receive our support is how they have already voted on the issues. If a candidate has faithfully supported Republican principles in the past, there is every reason to believe they will continue to do so, if re-elected. If a candidate has done a poor job of representing Republican principles, or has even done more to help the other side than their own, then there is every reason to believe this behavior will continue if they are re-elected.
But fresh candidates with no voting record are an unknown. Often times we only hear sweet-sounding mottos and phrases from them that don’t really tell us how they will vote on various issues or certain bills in particular. Also, we sometimes hear that a candidate is in favor of this issue or that, but when the rubber meets the road and a bill is before them, the tune changes.
American Clarion recently submitted a list of questions to new candidates for the South Dakota Legislature in 2016. These questions focused primarily on bills that were considered in the 2016 legislative session, to develop an idea of how the candidate might have voted on these issues, were they in office at the time the bills were considered.
The first installment in this series comes from Travis Lasseter, a Republican candidate for the South Dakota House in District 30. You can read more about him at his website.
The candidate’s responses are below, presented un-edited and in full.
How would you have voted on HB 1182, the education tax bill?
I would have opposed it.
If you would have opposed HB 1182, what kind of legislation would you have sponsored or supported?
I would have sponsored or supported legislation that obligated funds for teacher pay, earmarking it such as HB 1130. The point to remember is that what really affected the teacher pay was the funding bills SB 131, SB 132, and SB 133 and that is the reason we are losing teachers in the rural schools now.
How would you have voted on HB 1008, the restroom privacy bill, and why?
I would have voted for it and I would have voted against the veto. Failing to keep males in the male facilities and vice versa violates a child’s religious freedom, if their practicing religious freedom prevents her from undressing in front of the opposite sex, what do you expect her to do? Violate her beliefs or fail the class? Not setting clear boundaries from the state level will cause problems in the future.
Would you have voted to override Governor Daugaard’s veto of the privacy bill, and why?
Yes, because the Governor failed to protect the privacy rights of all children.
Would you have supported HB 1076, the drug testing for welfare recipient’s bill, or a variation thereof? Why or why not?
Yes, because the bill made it clear that the testing was to get them treatment. If someone is utilizing government assistance funds, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the tax dollars are being utilized appropriately. If the government is turning a blind eye to those who need help, (such as not identifying drug users) then we are not really helping those who are receiving the funds, we are just enabling them.
How would you have voted on HB 1107 to protect religious freedom and the right of conscience for Christian organizations and businesses?
I would have voted for it.
How would you have voted on HB 1110 to provide taxpayer-funded health care to pregnant illegal aliens?
Do you support or oppose legislation which would better enable South Dakota to deal with the illegal immigration problem in our state?
I would support legislation that would better enable the state to deal with illegal immigration problems here in the state.
What is your opinion of Governor Daugaard’s refusal to stand against the resettlement of improperly vetted Syrian refugees in South Dakota?
He does not understand the situation and is not leading this state in the right direction.
Do you support or oppose Common Core and other nationalized education standards? Why?
I oppose common core and other nationalized education standards, because the federal government should not be involved in education.
Do you support or oppose expanding Medicaid in South Dakota? Why?
No I do not, because of the tax burden it will have on the state starting in year 3.
Do you support or oppose legislation that would reduce the number of abortions that occur in South Dakota?
Yes, I first and foremost believe that women who go to the doctor have a right to know all the information about a procedure. I worked in the medical field for 21 years and am familiar with patients’ rights. I fully support informed consent, I also realize there are 2 patients during any abortion, the mother and the child. I will work to reduce abortions in the state. I am on the board of directors for Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center.
Do you support or oppose legislation allowing law-abiding South Dakotans to carry a concealed weapon without a permit?
Yes, I advocated for it last year in Pierre, I testified in the House and Senate committees.
Based on the bills that have passed the South Dakota Legislature in the past two years, and the bills that have been killed in the South Dakota Legislature over the past two years, do you believe the majority of South Dakota Republican legislators are doing a good job of upholding the values and principles of the Republican Party? Why or why not?
No, I believe there is too much “politics” involved in Pierre. When we have a republican House and Senate and the legislature and governor are supporting bills that violate the GOP platform and violate our freedoms and liberty, they are not doing what they said they will do. I will be a statesman and work to have transparency and limit our governments overreach.
If elected to the South Dakota Legislature, what is your number one legislative priority, and why?
Limiting the government and ensuring all bills are in line with the state and federal constitution. Anything that is not in line with the constitution, I will not support. I also plan to work to lower taxes, removing the taxes imposed by the legislature in 2015. I will fight to make sure that tax payer dollars are used efficiently and effectively. Paying only for the needs and reducing our wants, just like any other family in the state who lives within a budget. Raising taxes to cover overspending is not a balanced budget. A balanced budget is living within the means of that which you have.
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