District 20 House: Carson seeks to take care of unfinished businessLance Carson is running for a fourth term representing District 20 in the state House of Representatives.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
Lance Carson said he has unfinished business in Pierre.
Carson is running for a fourth term representing District 20 in the state House of Representatives.
“I think there’s some things that need to be accomplished that have been started,” he said Friday. “One of the things I’m rather proud of is I serve on the Appropriations Committee and we have seen the largest reversion of the general funds ever.”
A reversion is when dollars unspent by state departments are returned to the state treasury. In the past, many departments felt obligated to spend every dime to ensure they received the same appropriation the next year, Carson said. That has changed, and for the better, he said.
“We’ve seen reversions before but not the amount of departments we’ve seen, and the amount of money we’ve seen reverted back this year,” he said.
Carson is the chairman of the House Government Operations and Audit Committee. He also is vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee and is on the Executive Board, a joint committee of the House and Senate.
He said he has gained a great deal of insight into how the state budget process works, and thinks that makes him highly qualified to serve again. But he said some of the Legislature’s work could be shaped by how voters decide issues in the Nov. 6 election.
Carson said the seven ballot questions could “very possibly have huge impacts on the state budget and the way business is done with the state.”
He said he supports Referred Law 14, which calls for dedicating 22 percent of the state’s excise taxes to be spent on large projects, which he said would help lure corporations to the state. It is an incentive to move forward, Carson said, and he hopes it passes.
For example, a new $50 million business in the state would pay back in taxes far more than the money invested to bring it to South Dakota, he said.
“That is a very win-win situation for everybody concerned,” he said.
Carson and Rep. Tona Rozum, both Republicans, are running against Democratic challengers Dave Mitchell and James Schorzmann. All four are from Mitchell.
District 20 includes Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties. That’s a change, as Jerauld County was added to the district when new lines were drawn. The two candidates who receive the most votes will win two-year terms in the state House. Carson said he expects a close contest. “I think so,” he said. “I always thought the races have been very competitive. No matter who’s elected, they all have something to offer to state government.” Carson said he feels his years in Pierre make him the best choice for voters. “My past experience, knowledge of the state budget and the work that needs to be finished up because I was in on the starting of it, the ground floor,” he said. Carson said his campaign budget is between $9,000 and $10,000. A “great share” of that comes from him, he said, but the Davison County Republican Party has also assisted him. He’s been going door-to-door, has bought print and radio advertising and will attend candidate forums.
Carson said he has been “very available” to people across the district as he does business, attends social events and appears in the public. When he first got into office, that didn’t happen, he said, but now people feel free to ask him questions or tell him their view of something, and he’s glad that has happened.
He owned and operated Lance’s Interstate Amoco from 1979 until he sold it in 2005. Previously, he owned and operated a service station in Brookings.
Before he ran for office, he served on the South Dakota State Fair Advisory Commission and the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Committee, for which he was the chairman for 16 or 17 years, he said.
Carson and his wife, Donna, have been married 46 years. This summer, Donna Carson spoke to the media after her husband was hospitalized.
Carson said he is doing fine now. Doctors removed his gall bladder and that cleared up problems he was having.
He said if he is elected this time, he will serve two more years and then retire from public life. He will turn 67 on Dec. 3.
“I’m done,” Carson said.