Open government, equality key for attorney general, Volesky says


Tasiyagnunpa Livermont

With the general election drawing near, candidates for all offices, even those farther down on the November ballot, are making their views known.

Attorney general candidate Ron Volesky said he feels that increased spending for prisons and law enforcement instead of law enforcement should stop.

Since 1985, Volesky said in an interview with the Collegian, prison spending has increased in South Dakota by 214 percent, while spending for education has only increased by about two percent.

“We need to incarcerate less people, and we need to use the resources in more important areas, like education,” Volesky said.

In addition to higher spending for education, Volesky said he also thinks that South Dakota schools need to incorporate American Indian culture and history into their history programs.

He doesn’t believe that this should be accomplished by mandating guidlelines for the schools. Volesky said he felt that as attorney general he could aid in the persuading of school districts to take action.

“I think so many of our high schoolers graduate and know very little about the cultures in South Dakota,” he said.

Though he said he can do a lot of good for American Indians in South Dakota, Volesky said he thinks that all people should be treated equally and receive no special treatment. This is especially important in law enforcement. He said his theme as attorney general will be, “No person, corporation or entity is above the law.”

“The attorney general of South Dakota symbolizes what the South Dakota judicial system stands for, and I think that is equal treatment for everyone,” Volesky said.

Volesky said that South Dakotans have a right to know what is happening in the state. He will support legislation to repeal the so-called gag law, which now limits what information about criminal investigations is given to the press.

A repeal of the gag law is important for an open, publicly accessible government, he said. As attorney general, he would support open government by making sure his own office stays open to the public, which would include holding weekly press conferences.

“Generally speaking, you can let the people nknow what’s going on,” he said.

Volesky received his masters’ at South Dakota State University after completing his undergraduate degree at Harvard. He then went on to receive his juris doctorate from the University of South Dakota. He currently resides in Huron with his wife and their four children.