Independent candidate stops for a visit

Still in need of the required 3300 signatures to be on the ballot, 71-year-old Larry Pressler and his team are fairly confident they can achieve this and be in the running for the South Dakota Senate spot as an Independent candidate. 

“I’m bidding to become the second Independent for South Dakota,” Pressler said. 

Elections will be held in November 2014, but Pressler needs to acquire all of the signatures by April 29 in order to be on the ballot. 

For many years, Pressler was registered as a Republican, but last year he decided to be Independent. 

“It is time in America to change the political structure… the parties are strangling each other,” Pressler said. 

He believes that if he can come in as an Independent senator, he can work with both political parties. His role model is Angus King of Maine, who is currently a U.S. Senator. Pressler said that King has worked with both the Republican Party and Democratic Party to bridge the gap in a bi-partisan way. Pressler also finds former senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut a role model. 

According to Pressler, he has a deep background with South Dakota and South Dakota State University. He was friends and workedwith the late sherwood Berg, former president of SDSU from 1975 to 1984. Pressler also has 22 years of previous experience in Congress. He was in the House from 1975 to 1979 and in the Senate from 1979 to 1996. 

“I could be in retirement, but the country is in such a bad shape, so I came back,” Pressler said. 

If he is elected, Pressler has several ideas as to what he will do in office. For students, he wants to work for education by finding more Pell Grant money, so that students can borrow less money. He also hopes to make the interest rate lower on loans. 

Other plans Pressler has include breaking up the duopoly of the two parties, increase minimum wage, create real permanent jobs, work hard for cheaper airline service in our state, and most of all make history as an independent senator. 

Frustrated with the way things are being run currently, Pressler said that he’s seen money being wasted overseas. 

“We’ve been misled by our leaders,” Pressler said. “We’re a big rich country; we need to stop spending so much abroad.” 

Pressler considers both of his opponents, Rick Weiland and Mike Rounds, to be “good guys,” but he believes that if either of these two is elected, they will have to vote for increased military spending. Pressler described it as a “straight jacket poisonous deadlock if they go.” 

“I should be able to do bipartisan things, for a conservative reason,” Pressler said. 

Pressler said that most Independent candidates don’t go too far, but he thinks that because he is well known he has more of a chance.

Pressler believes that today’s young people will see a year where there will be five or six independents in Congress. He said there would be a fundamental change in American politics.

Since Pressler decided to run for senator last year, he has been in every county in South Dakota. Now, he is going back and is getting petitions signed. 

Though he is the eldest of the candidates, Pressler doesn’t see age as an issue. He said that if any of his opponents bring up his age, he will challenge them to a five mile run.