Agriculture is South Dakota’s number one industry and it should be South Dakota’s number one priority. Growing up on a farm near Flandreau, Paula understands that farming isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life. She saw firsthand the struggles of the 1980’s farm crisis and the toll it took on rural communities. That’s why Paula will demand a seat on the Ag Committee so she can forge relationships to strengthen and protect South Dakota’s interests. One of Paula’s first priorities is to reinstate Country of Origin Labeling so South Dakota farmers and ranchers can proudly market their products.
South Dakota Seniors
Paula believes protecting Social Security and Medicare are key to ensuring South Dakota’s middle class can retire with dignity. Paula also believes that workers shouldn't have to protest in the streets for pensions they already earned, they should be enjoying them in retirement. Even after diligent planning for retirement, rising prescription drug prices prevent seniors from making ends meet. That is why ensuring access to generic medications is a part of Paula’s plan to improve health care for seniors on fixed incomes so seniors don’t have to choose between heating their homes or purchasing life saving prescription drugs.
As a school teacher and mother of three, Paula understands the need to help strengthen South Dakota’s working class families. Income inequality continues to be a major impediment to economic recovery. Paula believes in fighting for better wages, paid family leave and equal pay for equal work. Even in an area like Sioux Falls, which has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, half or more of its school district children receive free or reduced lunches. That’s a sign of an economy that benefits too few at the top.
There are a host of issues facing Indian country that have gone unanswered for decades. The most pressing problem today is the underfunded and poorly administered Indian Health Services. Hospitals have closed their doors and patients have been denied care. It is an issue of life and death. The immediate solution to the health care crisis in Indian country is Medicaid expansion created under the Affordable Care Act. It expands access, increases resources to an overburdened healthcare system and holds the federal government accountable to live up to its treaty obligations.
Along with economic development and housing assistance, Paula believes increasing resources to law enforcement is an important component to combat opioid and other drug epidemics that continue to plague these communities.
Growing up in Flandreau, Paula understands that bridging the cultural gap between communities is critical to strengthening all of South Dakota. Paula supports tribal sovereignty and believes the tribes succeed when they have the ability to forge their own destiny.
Paula believes that Congress must move past its recent history of do-nothing obstruction. She is committed to moving America forward, and that means looking for areas where leaders from both parties can work together. Paula has always put the people she represents ahead of partisan politics and personal ambition. As a state legislator, Paula worked to develop consensus on education and good government. As a member of Congress, Paula will continue to put good public policy first.
As a high school science teacher for 10 years, Paula understands the impact a quality education can make on a child's life. She has dedicated her entire career to improving education in South Dakota. Paula supports efforts to expand access to pre-K education through programs like Head Start. This commitment needs to extend through grade school all the way to graduation. In a global economy, an advanced or college degree is critical to developing the skillset needed to remain competitive. That’s why Paula believes that education is a workforce development issue, and will support efforts to increase technical and career education, and make it more affordable for middle class families.
South Dakota has the potential to revolutionize energy production, and with it, create a strong middle class economy. Paula is a strong advocate for ethanol and believes in strengthening the Renewable Fuel Standard. To capitalize on South Dakota’s wind energy potential, Paula believes more research and development is needed to build the infrastructure necessary to transport clean energy from coast to coast so South Dakota can be a leader in clean energy production.
From our national guard units to Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota has a strong military tradition which respects the sacrifice our veterans make to defend our country. Veterans deserve top quality health care. Paula supports immediate action to streamline appointments, reimbursements and access to care for veterans. Administrative failures are not an appropriate reason for delayed or denied care and Paula will work everyday to ensure we support our military at home and abroad.
Fighting for Accountable Government
Paula is a champion of transparent and accountable government. As a state legislator, she sponsored an ethics commission bill and endorsed legislation to reduce conflict of interests. She is opposed to the EB-5 VISA program, and believes we need to strengthen safeguards to federal grants to ensure taxpayer dollars are not misused. Paula supports overturning the Citizens United decision. She believes that campaign finance reform is necessary to truly ensure government is operating in the most effective manner possible and will support efforts to reign in spending by special interests groups and lobbyists.