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State Rep. Wismer to run for S.D. governor

Posted: Thursday, Jan 30th, 2014

Susan Wismer

PIERRE (AP) — State Rep. Susan Wismer announced Tuesday she will seek the Democratic nomination for South Dakota governor this year.

With Dem-ocrats from the state House and Senate standing with her, the 58-year-old accountant from Britton criticized Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard for cutting spending on education and health care. She said she wants to help educate children of all income levels, provide jobs with good wages and help low-paid health care workers.

“All our kids deserve the best schools with the best teachers to help make sure their future in this state will be bright,” said Wismer, who has been in the Legislature since 2009.

Wismer, who runs a tax and bookkeeping business with her sister, said South Dakota has been dominated by Republicans for too long. The last Democrat elected governor was Richard Kneip in 1974.

“Government is better when there’s a competition of ideas,” Wismer said.

Daugaard has not formally announced whether he will seek a second term.

After a sluggish economy trimmed state revenues in 2011, Daugaard and the Republican legislative majority cut funding for, among other things, schools and Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals and other facilities. Daugaard’s plan called for reducing most spending by 10 percent, but the Legislature made some changes that reduced the size of the cuts for schools and medical facilities.

Tony Venhuizen, Daugaard’s communications director, said the governor is not focused on politics right now.

“He’s focused on his service as governor and the legislative session. He will turn his attention to the upcoming election this spring,” Venhuizen said.

Wismer’s announcement means Democrats will have a primary in the governor’s race. The former head of the state wildlife agency, Joe Lowe, announced his candidacy in December.

Lowe said he is well-known in western South Dakota, while Wismer is familiar to residents in the northeastern part of the state.

“As long as we’ve got some solid Democrats trying to run in this race, that’s the important part,” Lowe said. “It’ll be an interesting race, and I wish her well.”

For the complete article see the 01-29-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-29-2014 paper.

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