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Republican governor candidatesdebate at newspaper convention

SIOUX FALLS -- The South Dakota Newspaper Association hosted a debate Saturday between candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor. U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and state Attorney General Marty Jackley spent nearly an hour answering a doze...

U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and state Attorney General Marty Jackley debated for one hour Saturday at the South Dakota Newspaper Association convention in Sioux Falls. They are competing for the Republican nomination for governor in the June 5 primary election. (Bob Mercer / Capitol correspondent)
U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and state Attorney General Marty Jackley debated for one hour Saturday at the South Dakota Newspaper Association convention in Sioux Falls. They are competing for the Republican nomination for governor in the June 5 primary election. (Bob Mercer / Capitol correspondent)

SIOUX FALLS - The South Dakota Newspaper Association hosted a debate Saturday between candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and state Attorney General Marty Jackley spent nearly an hour answering a dozen questions from four reporters and editors.

The June 5 primary winner faces Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton in November.

Each hopes to succeed Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican serving his second and final term.

Among points in opening statements, Noem said drugs and crime were rising, while Jackley said South Dakota was a "safe" state.

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"Statistics show that," Jackley said.

Noem in her closing pledged state government under her administration would be accountable "like it never has before."

Responded Jackley, "We're not getting it from Washington. We need a strong voice."

Neither pursued the issue of enforcing abortion restrictions that flared Friday between their campaign managers.

Questions instead focused on broader conditions within the state. The first asked the definition of a Republican in South Dakota.

Noem said smaller government and smaller roles in people's lives. "It means you fight for life. It means you fight for our Second Amendment rights," she said.

Jackley said limited government, protecting taxpayer dollars, balancing budgets and protecting freedoms, including protecting "unborn" and the Second Amendment, he said.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms.

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Another asked what to do about South Dakota's sluggish revenue if the U.S. Supreme Court doesn't allow states to more broadly tax sales made over the Internet.

Noem said it was "very difficult" to convince Congress to pass her legislation that would have allowed a state to tax sales by a business outside its border.

She said she supported South Dakota's case in the nation's high court.

"What we need to do is grow our economy," she said, pointing to South Dakota recently showing the smallest growth of gross domestic product in the nation.

She said South Dakota needs "a refocus" to find the next big industry as former Gov. Bill Janklow did when he pursued financial services in the late 1970s and early '80s.

Jackley meanwhile recalled trying to talk to the nine justices when he presented the states' side.

"I was standing there giving everyone in South Dakota a voice," he said. "We just simply want an even playing field."

He added, "I think we are going to win this. We have the right case."

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If South Dakota loses, he suggested following Colorado's example: Passing a law requiring businesses report Internet-based sales made to customers in the state.

Among other highlights:

Noem pledged no new taxes, no new regulations and no new boards or other panels.

"In South Dakota we have over 120 boards already," she said. "You don't have to form more government to listen to people."

But Jackley said he's used task forces in the past and plans more if elected.

"That's not more government," he said. "I know how to do it. And I'll do it again."

Jackley supported President Trump's effort to secure the border between the United States and Mexico because "90 percent" of illegal drugs flow across.

"It's an easy solution," he said.

But Noem suggested law enforcement in South Dakota hadn't kept up as times changed.

"The facts are in the last 10 years violent crimes have doubled in our state," she said. Rapes "tripled," she said.

Related Topics: KRISTI NOEM
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