Three candidates vie for two District 22 House seats

By Plainsman Staff
Posted 5/29/24

Candidates for District 22 answer questions for voters

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Three candidates vie for two District 22 House seats


HURON — Registered Republican voters in District 22 will have the choice of three candidates for the two seats in the S.D. House of Representatives, when they go to cast ballots on June 4.

Recently retired Huron Chief of Police Kevin Van Diepen, Terry Nebelsick, who retired as the superintendent from the Huron School District and past legislator, educator and businesswoman Lana Greenfield have all tossed their hats in the ring for the upcoming primary election. And, as there are no Democratic or independent candidates who have filed nominating petitions, the results of the primary election will, in actuality, be the general election results.

The Huron Plainsman sent identical questionnaires to the three candidates and their respective answers to those questions are printed here. We begin with the order of the candidates as they appear on the ballot and rotate answers after each question.

Plainsman: If elected to represent the voters of District 22 would you step in to oppose the decision of the people of the state or support the voter’s decision, based upon your personal beliefs?

Kevin Van Diepen — I would not oppose the vote of the people. 

Lana Greenfield — 1. I support voters’ decisions; however, if constitutionality is a problem, then the issue would have to be fixed to be not only legal but also acceptable to the voters of this state.

Terry Nebelsick — I will respect the will of the voters, including their decision on how they want primaries run. The marijuana issue became complicated during a previous election because the courts ruled that the ballot allowed confusion concerning whether voters were addressing medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana is clearly supported in South Dakota, while the voters rejected legalizing recreational marijuana in the last initiative. While I oppose legalizing recreational marijuana, I respect our citizens, their right to petition and vote on the issue, and whatever the results of that vote. Concerning the proposed constitutional amendment on abortion, I will vote no on the proposed amendment, however, I will honor the results of the vote as I serve in the House of Representatives.

Plainsman — Tell the voters a specific time when you, or a team you led, had to overcome a difficult problem, how you addressed the issue and the outcome of your action?

Greenfield — When I was teaching, one of our high school students committed suicide before school one day.  As I was the advisor of his class, I needed to make certain that we contacted community clergy to come to the school and be on hand before the students were made aware of the situation.  We spent the rest of that day and the next as a group just sharing feelings.

Nebelsick — When I moved from HS principal to superintendent of the Huron School District in 2011, the district was faced with a significant annual deficit due to the cost of the English Second Language (ESL) programs in our district as we welcomed students from around the world. I learned through research that every state surrounding us had additional state aid which paid for much of the cost associated with bringing students to proficiency in English. The Huron area had sent an additional $12 million in sales tax revenues to the state, but were receiving no support for the ESL funding costs. Our business manager, Kelly Christopherson and I worked with local legislators and the governor’s office to passlegislation that supported workforce development in the state by funding an additional 25% per student for those learning English as a second language. This legislation helps 62 school districts, and is a win-win, as the state economic base grows and we are able to educate our workforce without an additional burden on local property tax. Tied to this work was our commitment to make the best education available to every student in the district, regardless of the where families lived. Our voters supported grade-level schools, which brought everyone in the community together, and created one student body where our 3000 students learn and grow together. Finally, I am proud that I served as president of the SD School Superintendents Association, and the Large School Group during the difficult Covid year of 2020, when we all worked together to open the schools on time and provide students with the full range of learning experiences and extracurricular activities, while keeping them safe and protecting the faculty and staff, who were much more vulnerable to serious illness. Our community pulled together rather than pulling apart.

Van Diepen — In 2020, with the outbreak of the COVID pandemic I was on the original board that started forming the committee and arranging for the testing site along with the fire chief.  We spent countless hours making sure that we could handle the situation, finding testing locations and supplies prior to the City and County commissions formally taking over the task force.  I then focused on how to keep the Huron Police Department officers safe while still providing services to the citizens of the city.  Funding and supplies were large part of making these situations workable.  Working with the citizens and employees  were the most valuable item and listening to many others with ideas that contributed to the operations.
Plainsman — Should you be elected, have you a specific issue, or collection of similar issues, upon which you hope to be able to work and possibly enact change?

Nebelsick —I’ve been chairing the School Finance Accountability Board in South Dakota for several years, working with the legislature’s joint appropriations committee to assure that appropriate state aid goes to teacher salaries. I also worked with farm and business organizations to pass a growth cap of 3% on capital expenditures for taxpayers. I would like to continue to work on both of those issues if I would be fortunate to be appointed to appropriations. I’ve been on the State Board of Educational Standards for several years, and I believe that I can help bring common sense on education issues.Finally, value-added agriculture is critical to the economy of our entire District 22, and I want to make sure that I am connected to our agriculture constituents and working on their behalf.

Van Diepen — Supporting our law enforcement officers and our ag sectors.

Greenfield — When running for the Legislature, I think the best agenda is no agenda.  It is, in my opinion, not prudent to introduce several  bills on a similar subject.  I have compassion for the needs of people who cannot help themselves, for working parents who experience daycare shortages, and for schools that need to fill teacher vacancies. ( which is a nationwide problem).  Thus these are issues, which I would gravitate toward.
Plainsman — Cite a specific experience that makes you the best choice to represent the voters of District 22?

Van Diepen — A total of 36 years in Law enforcement and 6½ as the Chief of Police, making life and death decisions, managing a large budget, basing decisions on facts not just on someone’s word, being a public servant that is willing to listen and be a voice in the legislature for all of District 22.

Greenfield — I am the right candidate to choose to represent District 22. I have legislative experience and leadership skills.  For four years I chaired the House Education committee, a very challenging position at times.   Yet I was able to conduct the business of each day with courtesy and fairness. I am a retired 37-year teacher and business owner.  I have lived my entire life in public service and will serve the people of this district with honesty, fairness, and integrity. I would be honored to be a voice for District 22.

Nebelsick — I offer the experience of leading an organization with a $40 million budget funded by taxpayers at the local, state and national level. I believe I am a positive voice for a bright future in South Dakota, and I believe I’m a proven leader, bringing people together to solve problems and make our state better for all of us. I have respect for the other two candidates, and trust the voters judgment on which two of us should serve in the 2025 and 2026 legislative sessions. Next year is the 100th legislative session, and I look forward to being a part of the legislative team that moves South Dakota forward.