District 26B House hopefuls respond to questionnaireThe District 26B state House race includes Maynard Konechne, D-Kimball; and James Schaefer, R-Kennebec.
By: Staff reports, The Daily Republic
The District 26B state House race includes Maynard Konechne, D-Kimball; and James Schaefer, R-Kennebec.
District 26B consists of Jones, Lyman, Buffalo and Brule counties. The top vote-getter will win District 26B’s one House seat.
Following are the candidates’ responses to a questionnaire from The Daily Republic. They were allowed to write up to 250 words per response.
The election is Tuesday.
What personal qualities and or experiences make you a good choice for election to the Legislature?
KONECHNE: I grew up in Kimball and graduated from Kimball High School. In April 1976, I took over Konechne Digging, doing all types of backhoe work, trenching, laying sewer and water lines, inside plumbing and sewer cleaning. For 30 years I have been a bus driver for the Kimball School District. I have been a volunteer emergency technician and volunteer fireman in Kimball for 38 years. I was part of the committee that remodeled a building for the doctor’s clinic in Kimball. This committee worked with Mid-Dakota to get doctors to come to Kimball daily beginning in 1982 after our local doctor retired. I have represented the South Dakota Emergency Technicians Association as their legislative chair for the past several years. I have worked closely with the Legislature personnel in passing bills to improve rural emergency care in the South Dakota. I have been a member of the Kimball Chamber of Commerce for 36 years, holding various positions. I currently serve as president of Lake Francis Case Development, which consists of the towns of Chamberlain-Oacoma, Kimball, Reliance and Lower Brule. I have been a member of the Knights of Columbus for 38 years and have held many offices locally and on the state level. My wife, Patti Lee, and I have three grown children who live in Pukwana, Laramie, Wyo., and Tampa, Fla. We also have three grandchildren. With my experience as a business owner-bookkeeper, volunteer EMT and fireman, I hope to take the knowledge I have gained to Pierre.
SCHAEFER: Using my Christian values and my grassroots experiences, I will continue to work for opportunities to improve quality of life for the people of South Dakota.
My life experiences include being raised on a ranch in District 26B. Because my parents lived a distance from town, I attended high school by finding a place to live where I did house work and helped care for the children. Working construction, ranching and teaching provided the funds needed to graduate from Northern State University in Aberdeen with a bachelor of science in education. As a director for the Farm Credit Services of America for 11 years (one year as chairman), I gained additional experience in the financial world. Working with youth during my teaching career and 4-H volunteering have also been rewarding experiences.
My wife Gloria and I continue to farm and ranch in Lyman County. We have been blessed with two children and five grandchildren.
Please explain your stances on a few issues that you believe are most important to your race.
Education: Providing our students with a quality education is one of the best things we can do overall for our state. We need to adequately fund our schools in order to give our children a quality education. We need to provide quality programs and incentives in order to keep our young people in South Dakota as our future workers and leaders. Agriculture is the largest industry in our state, and we need to continue to find ways to increase our value-added options.
Tourism: With tourism being South Dakota’s second largest industry, I feel we need to continue to support our current tourist attractions, as well as being creative in generating even more tourism business in our state.
Health Care: I would like to see quality, affordable health care available to our citizens in rural areas. The Medicare issue gripping our state is one that we will have to address.
Roads and Bridges: Funds need to be secured to keep our roads and bridges safe and navigable. We rely on our roads and bridges to provide safe travel for our South Dakota residents, as well as for the transport of our agriculture products, and for the safety of all who travel throughout our State.
SCHAEFER: With 2 years of experience in the Legislature, I believe I have a good handle on the current issues facing South Dakota. One of those issues is fair valuation of agricultural land. Currently I serve on the Agricultural Land Tax Assessment Task Force.
Education is a major issue; I will work for common sense funding of education based on a school’s individual needs. I support opportunities for school boards, administration and teachers to work together to continue pursuing excellence in education.
Rural health care is a vital issue. I am serving on our community committee to return health care to our small town and will work to pass legislation to strengthen health care across rural South Dakota.
In the past I worked to establish pro-life legislation. I will work hard to pass legislation to promote prolife.
Being a good steward of our citizens’ tax dollars, I will continue to vote to balance our South Dakota budget. We must live within our revenue; this just makes good economic sense.
What is your vision for the future of your legislative district?
KONECHNE: My vision for my legislative district and state would be to prioritize the issues that affect our state and to be able to work collaboratively with other legislators to be prudent in finding the best way to move these issues forward as a team. I hope to help our state continue to be as positive and strong as it is, and to help it become even more successful for its citizens, as well as for all who visit.
SCHAEFER: My beliefs for District 26B’s future include:
• Dedicating excellence in education where our children continue to learn in a positive environment. Having community support for and involvement in our schools. Hosting positive youth based organizations.
• Supporting quality rural health care where our citizens have immediate access to medical staff on a regular basis.
• Fostering a business friendly environment for growing rural businesses and agricultural production. Providing additional opportunities for our youth to be an active part of our communities.