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Gov: 'There is still a lot we can achieve'

Gov. Dennis Daugaard addresses the Davison County Lincoln Day Dinner Thursday at the Ramada Inn in Mitchell. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)

Gov. Dennis Daugaard says he loves being a cheerleader for South Dakota.

"It's great because we've got a great product to sell," Daugaard said in a speech at the Davison County Republicans' Lincoln Day Dinner, held Thursday at the Ramada Inn in Mitchell.

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"I like telling people what a great state we have, because we really, really do."

Daugaard, the event's keynote speaker, reflected on his first term in office and asked for the opportunity for a second term.

Daugaard spoke of his work eliminating the state's $127 million budget deficit by proposing and pushing deep cuts through the Legislature; his leadership in dealing with severe flooding in 2011 that flooded farmland, closed roads, wrecked campgrounds, overtook and threatened homes, and caused millions of dollars worth of damage; and signing into law criminal justice reforms with the aim of restraining the state's bulging prison population.

"We've made a lot of progress, but there is still a lot we can achieve," he said.

Daugaard is facing a challenge in the June 3 primary from Lora Hubbel, a former one-term state legislator, who also seeks the party's nomination for governor. Hubbel spoke briefly at Thursday's event and criticized Daugaard, claiming he has opened the state to the Common Core school standards and the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

"When I'm your governor, bureaucrats in Washington and in Pierre will not dictate your health care," Hubbel said.

About 120 people attended the event, including four of the five candidates running for the Republican nomination for South Dakota's U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat. Each of the candidates was given a chance to briefly address the crowd.

Sioux Falls physician Annette Bosworth, a Plankinton native, said she has seen firsthand the federal government's interference in health care and education. Bosworth and her husband, Chad, have three children.

"As we raise our kids, we get to see the America that they're about to enter into, and it's the reason I run," she said

State Sen. Larry Rhoden, of Union Center, said making the decision to run for the U.S. Senate seat was incredibly difficult.

"What it boiled down to is what's at stake for America," Rhoden said. "Because in my mind, America is under assault."

Rhoden criticized Obamacare, and also attacked the judicial appointments made by President Barack Obama.

Army Reserves Maj. Jason Ravnsborg, of Yankton, also criticized Obamacare, but added Republicans need to develop a plan to replace it.

"We can't just be the party of 'no,' " he said. "If we're the party of 'no,' we're going to lose in the fall."

Former Gov. Mike Rounds, of Fort Pierre, said South Dakota's conservative values need to be brought to Washington, D.C.

"We balance our budget here every single year," Rounds said. "Let's get back to doing that in Washington, D.C."

Rounds also proposed eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, and repealing and replacing Obamacare.

State Rep. Stace Nelson, of Fulton, the remaining Republican U.S. Senate candidate, did not attend the event.