Democrats in District 20 will be well represented in the upcoming elections for state Senate and House of Representatives seats.
Three Mitchell residents joined the race on the Democratic Party ticket for the November elections. Ione Klinger and Jim Schorzmann are among four candidates running for two seats in the state House of Representatives. They face Republicans Lance Koth and Paul Miskimins, both of Mitchell.
In the state Senate, Dan Miller will run as a Democrat against Republican incumbent Josh Klumb, of Mount Vernon, for the contested seat.
Tuesday was the South Dakota Secretary of State's filing deadline for Republican and Democratic candidates to turn in signatures and to qualify to be on the ballot. Until recently, Democrats didn't have a candidate in any of the races.
Miller is an associate professor of theater and theater director at Dakota Wesleyan University, where he's worked since 2007. While he plans to utilize his education knowledge as the backbone of his campaign, he says he's not a traditional politician.
"That is one of the biggest reasons I feel I'm a fantastic candidate in this race," he said. "We have too many career politicians in our government, and I feel like it's time to get a regular person out there to listen to the thoughts, concerns and ideas of the people in our state."
Miller said he'd like to better represent South Dakotans, especially since almost 85 percent of the state's legislators are Republicans. He said the makeup of the state's citizens is far more balanced between Republicans, Democrats and independents than the Legislature indicates.
"Democrats need to get out and have that important representation," he said. "That's part of making sure everyone is represented in our government."
Schorzmann, an Air Force veteran, worked for more than 26 years as a mail carrier in the Mitchell area before his retirement in 2012, and he said efforts to support veterans will be a key part of his campaign.
Schorzmann has run for the state House twice before - in both 2012 and 2014 - but lost both bids. He said he was motivated this time to run following the Legislature's actions to undo campaign finance reform measures voted upon by citizens in the 2016 election.
"When we voted on all of those amendments the last time and the powers out to be ripped that to shreds, that's what made me want to run," he said. "Someone needs to stand up for those amendments and the people who voted for that. I believe that our vote should count for something."
Klinger was an area teacher for more than 40 years prior to her retirement in 2017. She worked at L.B. Williams Elementary teaching reading recovery, Title I and special education.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Klinger told The Daily Republic she did not want to address her candidacy because she had not yet received the official documents from the secretary of state's office.
Davison County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Mitchell said his party has to overcome a minority status in finding people to run and potentially serve in the Legislature but it's a problem not foreign to either party.
"I think it's fair to say that neither party has a herd of people rushing to serve," he said. "But that's the job of the party leadership to find those who are interested and able to run, and with the way the legislature is set up, there's a lot of people who can't run for whatever reason, whether it's job or family commitments."