Decisions based on Science
Physical science and social science
A strong South Dakota depends on wise allocation of state resources. We need to make choices that are good for people in both the short term and the long term. For example, if we can become energy independent with renewable resources, including hydroelectric, wind, and solar, then we will not be exporting dollars to other states and nations. Norman's background in natural resources and the physical sciences will help guide these decisions. We also need to use social science research to guide decisions. For example, many studies show that preschool education is an investment that pays for itself many times over in better learning, lifetime skills, and income. We need productive citizens that are able to adapt to a changing world.
Issues & Political Concerns
Moving South Dakota Forward
Our well-being depends on clean air, water, and productive land. Norman's Bachelors and Masters degrees are in Forestry, and his PhD is in City and Regional Planning. He stays current on scientific issues through membership in the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Soil Science Society of America, among others. He is an expert in making maps of soil properties of the United States. He will use his understanding of environmental issues to help guide decision making for South Dakota.
A strong economy depends on well-educated citizens. Supporting schools, teachers, and staff is one of the primary responsibilities of state government. School systems, technical colleges, and universities can all work with employers to ensure that students are prepared for work. We also need broadly educated citizens that understand history, economics, and geography, so that we can work productively with countries around the world.
Every person should have access to affordable health care. The legislature should approve an expansion of Medicaid, which will bring millions of dollars to South Dakota, and enable more than 55,000 additional people to have coverage. The state should take leadership in response to Covid-19, which has both direct and indirect impacts on the health care system, individuals, and the economy.
The primary state role should be funding education and infrastructure. We should be cautious about direct subsidies for particular industries or special regulatory favors. Expanding affordable housing opportunities will help companies to expand in many communities. A diverse workforce has helped keep our economy strong.
Working to benefit all people
Good government requires that the public can know how funds are spent and how decisions are made. A strong free press is critical for ensuring governmental transparency. Open meeting laws should be enforced. Support for South Dakota Public Broadcasting is in the public interest.
State employees provide valuable services to the citizens of the state, and should be rewarded with appropriate cost-of-living and merit pay increases. Norman will listen to citizens about their needs for state services. We can be proud to have one of the best-funded retirement systems in the country.
Infrastructure investments, such as highways, bridges, public transit, bike paths, and bike lanes will strengthen all aspects of the economy for the long term. Targeted public investments can improve energy efficiency and promote the use of renewable energy. Funding for highway construction and maintenance should transition from a gasoline tax to a more stable source as we move away from fossil fuels. Norman will advocate for economic and scientific studies to find the best approaches for this transition.
All people are created equal
There has been an unfortunate history of discrimination based on race, sex, sexual identity or orientation, national origin, or other factors. Reconciliation with tribal communities should be revived. The founders had it right that all people are created equal. Our laws must reflect this.
Things we can do better
Remove the stigma
For many years, there has been a stigma against those with mental illness. We can work together to end this stigma, and strengthen the provision of mental health services. The original plan for community-based mental health centers developed in the 1960s was well intentioned, but has never been fully funded. Many people with mental health issues lack affordable housing or are homeless and generally need case managers.
Long Term Care
State limitations on nursing home beds should be revisited in light of our aging population. The state has a role in monitoring quality of care. Many people have assumed that Medicare or Medicaid will provide long term care for them, but that is not how the system is currently structured. More effort is needed to help educate the public on how the system currently works. Lawmakers need to solicit the views of the public about potential solutions moving forward.