SD State Legislative Candidate Survey: Tony Randolph
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - State Rep. Tony Randolph (R-Rapid City) is running for re-election in South Dakota State House District 35. The district covers eastern Rapid City, Box Elder, and a portion of Ellsworth Air Force Base. Randolph faces three primary opponents; fellow incumbent Tina Mulally, Larry Larson, and Liz Regalado.
1. Tell us about yourself?
I am a 56-year-old husband and father of 4, electrical contractor and small business owner, Army veteran, Deacon in my church.
2. Why are you running for this office?
I’m running for re-election to continue the promise of uncompromised principles I made. I’ve seen over the past four years in office the irresponsible spending and disregard for the proper role of government. The processes and procedures established are the only things by which government has to perform as efficiently as possible, the other element is people with integrity and morals desiring to do the right things.
3. What would be your top three priorities if elected?
As far as legislation there are really only two: finding a way to give some tax relief to the people of South Dakota and solidify the abortion issue for South Dakota and work to make it “Supreme Court” proof.
4. What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
Having now served 4 sessions in Pierre I understand the process, I also utilize the understanding of troubleshooting in my profession, to analyze and work toward solving the issue based on how things are designed to work, rather trying to change things to fit the issue
5. Do you support tax relief for South Dakotans?
If so, what type and how would you make it happen? I absolutely support tax relief for South Dakotans and was part of the drive this past session to give that tax relief through an attempt to remove the ½ cent sales tax as well as, the push to get those COVID dollars into the hands of our citizens both of which failed. Also, one of the ways to decrease tax burdens is to reduce spending which decreases the need for increased revenue, that is a very viable solution.
6. Housing availability has become an issue for many South Dakotans. How would you seek to make housing more affordable?
We’ve seen the increase in property values skyrocket due to what I believe is an inflated market based on demand coupled with the shortage of building material and increased building material costs. For government to get too involved in the housing market puts us at risk of another crash like what happened in 2009. Private sector solutions such as shipping in raw materials to local mills for producing lumber locally might be something to consider.
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?
Increased wages and sign on bonuses would help with staffing issues as well as additional training. The solution of overcrowding starts with the youth and holding our teenagers to a higher standard of accountability with stiffer penalties. If a person understands the consequences early, we have a better chance of reaching them. The only other options are early release and building more prisons neither of which are of benefit to society’s safety or wellbeing.
8. What steps should the legislature take to entice young people to remain in the state?
I serve on the Dakota Build Scholarship committee which creates incentives for high school graduates who qualify to earn a degree debt free so long as they work in the state of South Dakota for a predetermined amount of time, we could look at potentially expanding this program by broadening the fields offered in this program
9. Do you support any changes to the way elections are run in South Dakota?
We need to clean up our voter registry to remove those who have are no longer SD citizens as well as those who are deceased. Creating tighter guidelines for the absentee ballot as to who can actually utilize this method, originally it was for members of the military stationed out of state or deployed.
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 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?
The state of South Dakota has had within its authority to determine this issue all along because the Supreme Court can’t make law only Congress can. With that said, I support banning abortion without exceptions because life was already decided by our Creator and when a doctor takes their Hippocratic oath to do no harm that commits them to working to save the life of the mother as well as the baby.
11. What is your stance on legalized, recreational marijuana in South Dakota?
I have never been a supporter of recreational marijuana because of the issues it creates in any place it is legalized. Substance abuse is at all-time highs in this state including among our youth, this would undoubtedly make it much easier for this demographic to gain access. Also, statistics show that when legalized the number of emergency room visits go up due to marijuana overdose amongst children.
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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