Home > Uncategorized > District 15 State House Independent candidate Eric Leggett at the SDLP convention

District 15 State House Independent candidate Eric Leggett at the SDLP convention

August 22, 2014
Independent District 15 state House candidate Eric Leggett at the SDLP Convention. Photo by Ken Santema

Independent District 15 state House candidate Eric Leggett at the SDLP Convention. Photo by Ken Santema

The final guest speaker at the South Dakota Libertarian Party (SDLP) state convention was Eric Leggett. Leggett is running for state house as an Independent in District 15. His opponents in this race are both incumbent Democrats: Representative Karen Soli and Representative Patrick Kirschman. It is good see the race in District 15 isn’t going completely unopposed, as happens in way too many districts in South Dakota.

This race is interesting because I’ve had many people tell me Leggett is one to watch out for as being a true independent. But I’ve also had people in the area say they are wary of him because in 2010 Representative Jenna Haggar ran as an Independent in the old District 15. Then after redistricting she ran as a Republican in the newly redistricted District 10. I’ve heard some fear that Leggett is nothing but another Jenna trying to win as a Republican in a blue district. After seeing Leggett speak and speaking with him after the event I believe Leggett truly is an Independent and will not switch registration after winning.

Leggett stating his first priority is to get rid of the grocery tax. He would submit legislation to that end. He says the poorest citizens in the state shouldn’t have to shoulder a higher burden to support the government of South Dakota. I think this might be a winning issue for him. It’s actually surprising the Democrat Party hasn’t tried to make this their ballot initiate, instead of the minimal wage increase.

From there Legget said he would support legislation repealing the death penalty. He said “I don’t think we can kill ourself to a better society”. Leggett acknowledged he paraphrased that line from Democrat Representative Bernie Hunhoff. Leggett also focused on the many people who have been wrongly convicted and sentenced to death. I agree with Leggett that the thought of anyone being wrongly put to death by the state should give anyone pause about supporting the death penalty.

Education was Leggett’s next talking point. He believes the vital component of any free society is education. Education empowers people and helps to fight against corruption by having an informed society. Along those lines he believes it is not right South Dakota has the lowest paid teachers in the nation.

Leggett said competition of ideas in politics is important. He noted the Libertarian Party flag including the words “Party of Principles”. He believes independents, Libertarians, or any other third-party must set a high moral standard and be principled. He noted that good philosophy is not enough. The candidates chosen must actually live by the principles they are promoting. Those candidates must run on their own merits.

Leggett mentioned he does have some disagreements with the Libertarian Party. But he went on to say that is OK. He says it is OK for there to be discussions about differences. And such discussions can happen without attacking each other. I agree with what Leggett is saying completely. That is why on this blog I try to discuss differences I have with opposing views, instead of personally attacking the people expressing those views.

Actually when speaking to Leggett after the event I would say he is a true liberty-oriented candidate, and not in the way that Tea Party and Occupy movements have been. It seemed any conversation I had with Leggett went back to how he felt any particular legislation would impact individuals. He might not be libertarian, but he is definitely worth it for libertarian-leaning individuals to check out. He woudl also be worth checking out for anyone that is tired of the same old partisan talking points from both parties.

I plan to meet with Leggett again soon. At that time I will ask some questions from a more conservative viewpoint. It will be interesting to hear his answers.

PS. The best part of Leggett being attendance was actually his son. Leggett’s young boy spent the day answering rhetorical questions of politicians when they spoke. It made for a fun day!

  1. August 22, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    I remember Eric’s death-penalty quote as, “I don’t believe we can kill our WAY to a better society.” That might be worth correcting, unless I’m wrong of course (ha ha).

    Great posts today, Ken.

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