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As election nears, Sutton makes Mitchell stop

Every seat in the Cornerstone Coffee House and Deli in Mitchell was filled on Friday afternoon by people wanting to hear from Billie Sutton, the Democratic candidate for governor.

State Sen. and Democratic candidate for governor Billie Sutton, of Burke, speaks to community members at Cornerstone Coffee House and Deli in Mitchell on Friday, less than a week before Election Day. (Ellen Bardash / Republic)
State Sen. and Democratic candidate for governor Billie Sutton, of Burke, speaks to community members at Cornerstone Coffee House and Deli in Mitchell on Friday, less than a week before Election Day. (Ellen Bardash / Republic)

Every seat in the Cornerstone Coffee House and Deli in Mitchell was filled on Friday afternoon by people wanting to hear from Billie Sutton, the Democratic candidate for governor.

Sutton told those in attendance that, just as his family rallied around him after a 2007 rodeo accident left him paralyzed by spinal cord damage, he wants voters to band together next Tuesday to vote for him in what has become a very close gubernatorial race.

"Just like I only made it through my toughest time with the people around me, we have to band together and fight for a stronger South Dakota," Sutton said, adding that the support from his family, friends and neighbors was what first inspired him to run for public office. "It was because of them that something was awakened in me that I didn't know I had. It was a service-over-self mentality; a need to give back for something bigger than myself."

Sutton's stop in Mitchell was part of his 19-city South Dakota Strong Tour, which began on Wednesday and will continue up to election day. It was the first of Sutton's three stops in eastern South Dakota on Friday, followed by appearances in Huron and Madison. Sutton faces Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem in a race that appears to be tight in the final month.

The majority of Sutton's statements Friday centered around bringing South Dakota together, something he said he's done during his time as the senator for the state's 21st district.

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"People are ready for something new," he said. "They're tired of politics as usual. They're tired of the divisiveness, and they want leaders that can bring us together."

Sutton also said that, if elected, he'd work on funding early-childhood education and providing students with more need-based scholarships, as well as supporting the agricultural economy and keeping government trustworthy.

"Our problems are not Republican problems or Democrat problems. They're South Dakota problems," Sutton said. "I think my opponent has forgotten that. Being in Washington, D.C., too long can sometimes do that, I guess."

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