Gubernatorial hopeful speaks to SDSU College Democrats

Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson

Gubernatorial candidate Dennis Weise spoke to the SDSU College Democrats in the Walder Room of the Union March 15.

Weise announced his candidacy just one day before his on-campus appearance.

The people of South Dakota need a “much more effective and strong voice” to represent them, he told students in attendance, which numbered close to three dozen.

Talk almost immediately turned to the abortion issue.

He’s a pro-life Democrat, he said, and he never would have signed the bill. Issues like rape and incest should be left for the mother to decide.

Those two cases should have at least been discussed on the Legislative floor, he said.

This piece of legislation, he said, takes a mother’s rights to a whole new level and “takes it away from her.”

The topic of education and the willingness to fund it is lacking, he also said.

“We really have to make it a priority,” he said. “If we spend as much time on education as abortion, we would have funded education by now.”

The students had a chance to ask Weise questions during the half-hour meeting.

One student asked about the minimum wage increase that Gov. Rounds turned down this Legislative session.

It’s not a hard issue for me, he said. A minimum wage set at $6.50 is not unreasonable.

“I think it has to be $6 and maybe more,” Weise said. “That won’t hurt a single soul in this state. That won’t hurt a single business.”

He also criticized the bill itself.

“That was a phony bill,” he said.

The education topic resurfaced when Weise turned the tables and asked the students: ‘Is our education appropriately funded?’

Weise took notes on student responses and said schools need to provided more opportunities so students can get the education they want.

South Dakota needs to offer more educational opportunities than just agriculture, he said.

The College Democrats then handed out petitions for the primary elections. 1403 signatures are needed by May 4. The primary elections are scheduled for June 6.