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Graves wants legislative seat

Joe Graves for state Senate.

Or state House.

Monday during the Mitchell Board of Education meeting at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, Graves, the school district superintendent, announced his plan to run for the South Dakota Legislature in 2014.

"There is a time in the future when I intend to make a formal request of the school board to run for the state Legislature," Graves said to the board during his superintendent's report. "I think it's probably time for me to get that information to you. Of course, the board would have to approve that would be acceptable to you."

  Whether he runs for the House or Senate, Graves said, will partly "depend on what other people are doing," but either way, he will run as a Republican.

One of the two House seats in District 20 -- which encompasses Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties -- will be open because Lance Carson is term-limited in the House. When contacted Monday night by The Daily Republic, he said he has not decided yet whether to run for the district's Senate seat.

The district's other representative, Tona Rozum, said Monday night that she plans to seek re-election. The district's senator, Mike Vehle, could not be reached immediately Monday night but has been campaigning at events such as the Corn Palace Festival. Carson, Rozum and Vehle are all Republicans from Mitchell.

In a follow-up interview with The Daily Republic after the school board meeting, Graves said he wants to become part of the legislative process and believes his areas of expertise -- education, in particular -- could benefit the state.

"I want to be someone who can help continue to make South Dakota a free and prosperous state, as great a state as it can be," he said. "Lots of education decisions are made in Pierre. I think I can add to that process, as well."

Graves said he will present his official request for board approval at a later date.

Board members offered little commentary on the announcement, and board President Theresa Kriese said in a follow-up interview she doesn't know if the board will approve the plan when Graves presents it.

"We will see what Joe brings forth as a plan," she said. "We still have to review what his plan is for coverage of the district while he's at session."

The Legislature meets each winter at the Capitol in Pierre for its annual sessions, following a schedule that basically runs from January into March. Interim committees meet between sessions.

Kriese said, for now, she's not leaning one way or the other.

"At this point I'm keeping an open mind either way, until we see what he can lay out for a plan," she said.