SD State Legislature Candidate Survey: Scott Odenbach
SPEARFISH, S.D. (KOTA) - Representative Scott Odenbach (R-Spearfish) is running for re-election to the South Dakota State House in District 31. District 31 is made up entirely of Lawrence County, which includes Deadwood and Spearfish in it’s limits. Odenbach faces two primary challengers; incumbent Mary Fitzgerald and Mistie Caldwell.
1. Tell us about yourself?
Rep. Scott Odenbach. Attorney & real estate broker. Husband to Laura and Dad to Ashley, James and Jack. First elected to the SD House in 2020, I serve on the Education and Judiciary Committees and am running for re-election in a 3-way Republican primary.
2. Why are you running for this office?
To keep South Dakota free, keep Lawrence County from being overdeveloped, and to ensure that regular people who aren’t big campaign donors or have political action committees also have a voice in Pierre.
3. What would be your top three priorities if elected?
Advocate for an agenda that puts the individual rights, freedoms and opportunities of all our citizens on the same level as that of well-connected insiders. I don’t see people as just part of the “workforce,” but rather as individual citizens with their own unique hopes and dreams. That’s the American ideal.
4. What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
Lifelong learner and reader, Christian, husband and father, attorney, Realtor, business owner, skier, outdoorsman, hunter, runner, taxpayer, tree-planter, independent thinker.
5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen?
Yes. To make it happen, we need to put people in office who realize it’s your money, not the government’s. Last session some of us tried to cut sales, food and gas taxes and were defeated by RINOS who worry more about the state general fund than the budgets of South Dakota families. Next session, we need to try again, and cut property taxes.
6. Housing availability has become an issue for many South Dakotans. How would you seek to make housing more affordable?
Let the free market work and encourage local governments to take steps to free up builders to develop existing lots or remodel old properties. In truth, areas such as Lawrence County that are seeing high demand from buyers throughout the country may not see a lot of “affordable” housing - which definition changes year to year - and it isn’t the government’s job to always
magically “do something” with a new program. We should encourage large employers who have businesses in the area or want to relocate here to consider constructing housing for their own workers rather than to seek a new government program to do so. There are multiple programs in place now that could be better utilized.
7. South Dakota correctional facilities have been dealing with a number of issues, most prominent among them overcrowding and staffing shortages. What would you do to help combat these issues?
The foundational issue to correctional problems is the breakdown in the family. Strong families don’t produce inmates. So let’s create a family-friendly tax code, teach children that they are loved by God and responsible to treat themselves and others with love.
8. What steps should the legislature take to entice young people to remain in the state?
We can’t change the weather. Some young people will always want to move away for a while and then come back later. We should keep it a place of freedom and kindness with a small town atmosphere. That’s what has drawn thousands to move here in the past few years and will continue to do so in the future.
9. Do you support any changes to the way elections are run in South Dakota?
We need to encourage voting on Election Day and be cautious with mail-in voting by limiting it to those who truly have a need or disability.
10. A U.S. Supreme Court decision is looming on a landmark abortion case that could ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade. Governor Kristi Noem has indicated she would like to ban abortion outright, and a “trigger law” already on the books would do so, with only an exception in place when the mother’s life is at risk. Do you support banning abortion to this extent? If not, what exceptions would you like to see made?
Yes, because simply put, an innocent human being is killed during an abortion. We have a special duty to those that are defenseless and need our help, whether the poor, the disabled, the elderly, and little unborn boys and girls. They are the future citizens of South Dakota!
11. What is your stance on legalized, recreational marijuana in South Dakota?
Bad idea. I’ll vote NO. If it becomes legal I’ll look at lessons learned in other states and try not to repeat them as we legislate.
State legislative candidates in contested districts this primary season were emailed the same survey to complete for Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory News. Candidates were asked to keep their responses limited to roughly 4-5 sentences for each question. With the exception of a quick spelling and grammar check, answers were not edited by the poster. Those who responded to the survey questions had their results posted.
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