SD Legislative candidate survey: Pat Cromwell

The South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre.
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 8:27 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Pat Cromwell is running as a Democrat for the South Dakota State House in District 35. District 35 consists of eastern Rapid City, stretching both east and south to include Box Elder as well. Cromwell is running against two Republican incumbents, Tony Randolph and Tina Mulally, with another Democrat, David Hubbard.

Pat Cromwell is a Democrat running for election to the South Dakota State House in District 35.
Pat Cromwell is a Democrat running for election to the South Dakota State House in District 35.(Submitted)

1. Who are you? Tell us about yourself in 100 words or less.

My name is Pat Cromwell and I grew up in a large Catholic family on a farm near Draper SD. I graduated from Draper High School with the largest class to ever graduate from Draper. That was peak population time for Draper with 240 people. It was also the year that Roe v Wade was decided. A couple of years later, I headed to SDSU as a single mother. It was difficult but there were resources that allowed me and other single moms to get a college education. It was challenging but there were others and we shared what we could to make it work. As challenging as that was, I believe it was easier then than it is now.

2. What prompted you to run for office/re-election?

(See below.)

3. What public policies are you passionate about? What would your policy priorities be in Pierre?

Roe v Wade is central to my decision to run for office. Roe is more than access to abortion. It is about privacy, having access to needed health care and not treating women as second class citizens. No woman needs a politician sitting in the doctor’s office with her. Abortion bans kill women.

South Dakotans have voted twice against abortion bans. South Dakotans have the sense to support smart, thoughtful policies but our leadership continues to ignore the will of the people.

Related to South Dakotans supporting initiatives, more recently we voted to legalize marijuana. Again, a majority supported initiative is overturned and rather than craft good working legislation reflecting what people want, it is tossed into the waste bin instead. I support legalizing marijuana and would work to see that happen if I were elected.

4. Cutting the grocery tax has become central to this election cycle. Do you think that the legislature should cut the grocery tax next legislative session? Are there any taxes you would cut instead, or in addition to?   

Yes, food taxes should be cut. New taxes on marijuana could help offset food taxes. 

5. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier in the year. South Dakota currently has a law that prevents abortion almost completely outright. Are there any exceptions you would like to see the legislature enact? What other laws would you like to see passed to support mothers and families?

We should follow Canada’s approach and remove abortion from the legal code. It is a health issue, not a criminal issue. The US has twice the maternal death rate of Canada. The US has a higher stillbirth rate of developed nations. We need to be honest about the health impact of restrictions.

6. Recreational marijuana is on the ballot in November. If it passes, would you commit to legalizing it?

Yes. I voted to legalize before and will vote yes again. Enacting a legal framework does not have to be complicated. 

7. What is the most important quality for an elected official to possess?  

Anyone running for office should be curious as to how systems work and are supposed to function. Basic science and biology knowledge should be a requirement. Any elected official should possess the curiosity and capacity to study, to continue learning, to develop knowledge beyond the bubble of their lives. All legislation should be considered in regard to who it helps, who it might hurt and do benefits apply to all or just a few. 

8. Who do you take inspiration from, and why?

I take inspiration from all the people I have met over the years who make it work. People face challenges every day and they make it work. The strength of character, of not giving up, these are the people that inspire me.

State legislative candidates in contested districts this election season were emailed the same survey to complete for Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory News. 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.