Brookings County breaks records for 2020 election


Andrew Rasmussen, Reporter (He/him)

The 2020 election has come and gone, ending with some historic results in South Dakota.

Brookings County, home to part of District 4 and all of District 7, saw a 74.9% voter turnout during the general election. 

Republicans will control both the House and the Senate of the SD Legislature. Ninety-four of the 105 legislative seats were won by Republicans. 

A record number of women were elected to the South Dakota State Legislature with 30 female legislators set to take office in January. Twenty-five of the 30 elected are Republican legislators. 

In Brookings, Rep. Tim Reed (Republican) says his priorities in Pierre include legislation aimed to improve rape and domestic violence laws in South Dakota. One specific piece of legislation will allow for “escalating penalties” in cases of repeated domestic violence. 

Reed also noted he is working on a transparency bill with the SD Newspaper Association that will affect public notices in newspapers. 

In addition to these priorities, Reed also said COVID-19 will be a prevalent topic of discussion. 

“Following up on small business relief will be really important,” Reed said. “Also, how are we doing, we are having a surge right now, I don’t know how long that will last, but I think it is something that we may have to be still looking at in the legislature.”

Marijuana will also be a topic in the legislature with the passage of Amendment A and Initiated Measure 26, which legalized both recreational and medical marijuana.

“There may be some changes that have to be made to that measure [Initiated Measure 26],” Reed said. “I agree that now that people voted it in, we have to leave medical marijuana, but when a bill is that long … there may be people that want to weigh in.” 

Former state senator and representative-elect Larry Tidemann (Republican) said he will prioritize funding in both K-12 and higher education, especially how it relates to COVID-19. 

Tidemann also noted the one-time funds that are available could be used for university projects, like a new biosystems building, which is proposed to use both private and public funding. 

Both Reed and Tidemann encourage students to reach out regarding legislation. 

As District 7 representatives, they represent students as well as the Brookings community. Legislative contact information can be located on the SD Legislative Research Council website. 

In addition to the many local and statewide elections, the presidential election has concluded with Joe Biden as the projected winner. President Donald Trump carried South Dakota and its three electoral votes with 62% of the vote.