Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > District 2 State Senator Chuck Welke at the Brown County Fair

District 2 State Senator Chuck Welke at the Brown County Fair

August 19, 2014
Deputy Commissioner School & Public Lands speaking with State Senator Chuck Welke at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema

Deputy Commissioner School & Public Lands speaking with State Senator Chuck Welke at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema

The final legislative candidate I was able to speak with at the Brown County Fair was District 2 State Senator Chuck Welke. Many people have mentioned to me that his opponent, current District 2 State Representative Brock Greenfield, had switched over to the Senate race just to bring the seat back to the Republican Party. I’m not sure if that is true. But I do think it is true that the battle between Welke and Greenfield will be one of the top races to watch this fall.

Welke said his top priority in Pierre will continue to be Education. He mention the summer study from last year that looked into education issues in South Dakota. He is still disappointed  HCR 1002 didn’t pass. I wrote briefly about this resolution back in January. Even though I feel the resolution was bad, I will agree with Welke that education does not seem to be a priority in Pierre. Welke stated that schools unable to fill teaching positions this fall are already feeling the pain of inaction in the state legislature. Perhaps education can get more attention in the 2015 legislature.

When speaking about the minimum wage initiative Welke sees it as a fairness issue for workers. He says nobody should have to work and not get ahead in life. In addition, he believes raising the minimum wage in South Dakota will provide true economic development by allowing more money to be spent by workers. I don’t agree with Welke, but the average voter may think he is right.

Medicaid expansion is another standard Democrat talking point Welke was able to fit in. He thinks first and foremost that expanding Medicaid in South Dakota would be the fair and right thing to do. Beyond that he also says it puts an undue burden on the state and counties to support those that would otherwise be covered by the Medicaid expansion. Interestingly that is an approach I’ve seen work on some moderately conservative people in conversation.

Finally Welke spoke about the infrastructure. He mentioned the legislative summer study going on this summer and has hope something good will come out of it. He contends the state needs to do something for the counties and townships. He feels the summer study meetings that have happened so far have been positive and there has been a great deal of feedback from the public. Welke says the biggest point of contention is really finding out where to get more revenue for transportation. Everyone seems to agree infrastructure is an issue, but who wants to pay for it.

At this time I’m not sure if Welke can successfully defend his seat from Greenfield. Ideologically I agree more with Greenfield than Welke. Yet part of me wants Welke to stay in Pierre for the ‘competition of ideas’ talking point I’ve heard him use in the past. If nothing else this should be a nail-biter of a race to watch as the polls close.

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