Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > District 3 State House Democrat candidate Burt Elliott at the Brown County Fair

District 3 State House Democrat candidate Burt Elliott at the Brown County Fair

August 14, 2014
Burt Elliot (right) speaking with constituents at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema.

Burt Elliott (right) speaking with constituents at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema.

It is time to continue my series of short blog posts highlighting politicians I chat with at the Brown County Fair. Earlier this week I took the opportunity to speak with Democrat House candidate Pat Hale. Today I was able to speak with the other Democrat in the District 3 House race Burt Elliott. Elliott’s entry into this race makes it one to watch. Burt is well-liked in the region and has an almost incumbent-like status in this race due to his previous years of public service; including serving in Pierre.

I started out by asking Elliott what his top priority in Pierre would be. He stated small businesses should be the main focus. Elliott is concerned with the rising cost of doing business. In particular Elliott mentioned that he doesn’t like mandates on small business owners. It was good to hear a Democrat politician take this stance. I don’t by any means thinks he wants to deregulate everything. But at least he sees how small business owners are burdened by regulations.

If elected back to Pierre, Elliott would like to once again be on the transportation committee. He would work on the transportation committee to find more funding for roads. Being a Brown County resident and former Brown County Commissioner, Elliott has seen first hand how poor the conditions of roads are in this area. He is open to looking at a variety of ways to increase funding for transportation. One idea he supports is raising the gas tax in South Dakota by five cents per gallon. He also believes the federal government will do the same. Elliott also mentioned some high population counties can actually fund their roads off of just the wheel tax because they have more state roads going through them. Brown County is the opposite of that. There is a higher percentage of county roads in Brown. I think Elliott’s mentioning differences between counties is important because often transportation discussion is done at the state level. Perhaps looking locally (the county in this case) would work much better.

As a former teacher it was unsurprising to hear Elliott support education. He did mention though that money alone is the not the only answer in solving teacher retention issues. Elliott pointed out the South Dakota Retirement System (SDRS) has been a great benefit for teachers.  In order to sell education in South Dakota to teachers he would like to see more benefit programs such as SDRS implemented.

Finally I asked Elliott about Common Core. I was interested in this issue with Elliott because he was a teacher for about thirty-five years. “Common Core is nothing but a goal” is what Elliott had to say on the topic. He believes there has been a lot of misinformation about Common Core spread around about it being a curriculum. Elliott says there have always been goals in education and that he is not afraid of Common Core. His only apprehension with Common Core was making sure it was suited to best work with the education system in South Dakota. There may be some room for anti-Common Core parents to switch his view on this topic if they can show the State of South Dakota has lost local control with the implementation of Common Core.

Elliott is the candidate that the District 3 Republican House candidates need to watch out for. His name is possibly just as recognizable as Novstrup, and he is well-liked in the area. Add to that the fact Elliott doesn’t seem over-partisan and I think he will be a possible win for the South Dakota Democrat Party this fall. If nothing else the District 3 House race should be a nail-biter at the polls this November.

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