On the Issues: Stace Nelson

Phil Jensen


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.

Stace Nelson

Stace Nelson

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.

Rick Kriebel 2016


The next installment in this series comes from Stace Nelson, a Republican candidate for the South Dakota Senate in District 19.  You can read more about him at his website. Nelson was in the South Dakota Legislature until he ran for U.S. Senate in 2014, and you can find out more about his record from that time here.

The candidate’s responses are below, presented un-edited and in full.

How would you have voted on HB 1182, the education tax bill?

Woodrow Wilcox


I would have absolutely spoken and voted against the bill.

If you would have opposed HB 1182, what kind of legislation would you have sponsored or supported?

We do NOT have a revenue problem in SD.  2016’s  budget bill was $4.4 BILLION.  It is the worst type of con telling voters SD cannot afford two of the core infrastructure items (highways, & education) that we all willingly pay our taxes for. I would have supported efforts to cut the $50+ Million of additional funds the legislature dumped into the GOED as well as other cuts to a state government .  Rep Lance Russell had a bill that had great promise to fix the education shortcomings without raising taxes.

How would you have voted on HB 1008, the restroom privacy bill, and why?

I would have supported the bill and would have looked to broaden the discussion to address the open ended problems in public facilities across SD.

Would you have voted to override Governor Daugaard’s veto of the privacy bill, and why?

Yes.  It is without a doubt a problem for the state to have sanctioned gender males using the bathrooms and showers in our high school with girls in SD.  High School girls’ privacy should have been protected by our legislature and governor.

Would you have supported HB 1076, the drug testing for welfare recipient’s bill, or a variation thereof? Why or why not?

Yes. I co-sponsored and voted for two similar bills in 2011 and : http://sdlegislature.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Bill=1152&Session=2011


and House primary sponsor: http://sdlegislature.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Bill=123&Session=2014

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 supported it. I co-sponsored and supported similar legislation in 2014:



How would you have voted on HB 1110 to provide taxpayer-funded health care to pregnant illegal aliens?

I dealt with similar legislation several years ago.  I was initially conflicted and grudgingly supported the legislation while protesting the circumstances in 2013 as it was presented as pro-life legislation, providing prenatal care to preborn children.  In 2014 I had resolved my views on the bill that the pro-life sales pitch did not negate the facts that using public funds for charity is wrong, and that the bill would add to the problems of illegal immigration that was causing the circumstances the bill allegedly sought to address.

Do you support or oppose legislation which would better enable South Dakota to deal with the illegal immigration problem in our state?

SUPPORT! In my 4 years in the House I cosponsored and supported




Drafted and Sponsored:





Additionally, in 2012 at the SDGOP convention, I authored, proposed, moved, and got passed the following to the SDGOP Party platform:

5.14 “South Dakota Republicans hold that our government was instituted to secure the blessings of freedom, and that exploitation of illegal aliens is an unqualified evil and the antithesis of freedom. We further hold that it is the explicit sworn duty of South Dakota’s state and federal elected officials to take all legal actions available to protect South Dakotans from the growing problems of illegal immigration, and the trafficking of illegal aliens to our state.”

What is your opinion of Governor Daugaard’s refusal to stand against the resettlement of improperly vetted Syrian refugees in South Dakota?

My personal opinion is not suitable to print.  Suffice it to say, I strongly condemn his failure to perform the #1 job of his office, to ensure the safety and security of South Dakotans as top priority. It is not the place of government to give charity.  He should have stood up for South Dakotans rights as a state and for their right to be safe and secure in their homes.

Do you support or oppose Common Core and other nationalized education standards? Why?

I opposed Common Core in all 4 years of my two terms. I voted for http://sdlegislature.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Bill=1153&SearchString=core&Session=2011 and http://sdlegislature.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Bill=1128&SearchString=core&Session=2012

Cosponsored and supported:






The federal government is NOT empowered by the US Constitution to be involved in local education, it is a violation of the 10th Amendment.

Do you support or oppose expanding Medicaid in South Dakota? Why?

The US is experiencing the cataclysmic results of the implementation of Obamacare.  I do not believe the US can sustain the $19 Trillion in debt without cutting government,  Expanding Medicaid is another massive expansion of the US govt.

Do you support or oppose legislation that would reduce the number of abortions that occur in South Dakota?

I support legislation that recognizes that life starts at conception, and legislation that would ban all abortions.

Do you support or oppose legislation allowing law-abiding South Dakotans to carry a concealed weapon without a permit?

I 100% support Constitutional Carry and have repeatedly co-sponsored and voted for the bill repeatedly to uninfringe South Dakotans 2nd Amendment rights.

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?

Absolutely not!  The governor and the super majority “Republican” legislature passed the largest tax and fee increases in SD history over the last two years, increased state budgeted spending by over $330 Million, created a whole arm of government in the debt collection legislation, and sanctioned gender males using the girls’ showers and bathrooms in our public high schools.  Just to name a few of the many fiscal and social liberal policies exhibited over the last two years.

If elected to the South Dakota Legislature, what is your number one legislative priority, and why?

Bring fiscal & conservative principles back to the legislature so that SD does not become another failed liberal state.



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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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