BURKE, S.D. – When Senator Billie Sutton, financial professional, rancher, and fifth generation South Dakotan from Burke, announced his campaign for Governor of South Dakota in May, he vowed to travel the state to talk with fellow South Dakotans about the issues facing our state’s people and local communities.
This week Senator Sutton concluded the first formal town hall listening tour of his campaign. The Sutton “Listening Tour: For a Stronger South Dakota” included stops in Sioux Falls, Brookings, Rapid City, Spearfish, Vermillion, Mission, and Aberdeen.
Before embarking on the town hall series, Senator Billie Sutton remarked,
“In politics today, it seems like most politicians do too much talking and not enough listening. My campaign for Governor will be about the people. I want to hear from everyday South Dakotans about the issues that matter most to them so I can use common sense to address the concerns and priorities of our people.”
Reflecting on the concerns of the citizens he heard from on the listening tour, Sutton said,
“On this ‘Listening Tour: For a Stronger South Dakota,’ we have driven over 2,000 miles, traveled through 29 of South Dakota’s counties, and heard about the issues important to nearly 300 South Dakotans.
I heard from Zach in Aberdeen who loves Aberdeen but is concerned that most jobs available in the area are at or just above minimum wage. College students graduating from Northern State University often have to move away to start a career.
I heard from Cori Ann in Brookings who expressed concerns that our country is divided. She is looking for a leader that can bridge that divide and bring our communities together.
I heard from Janet in Aberdeen who saw a study that showed South Dakota was one of the most corrupt states in the country. She is concerned about the scandals like EB-5 and GEAR-UP we have seen in the state.
I heard from Doug in Vermillion who is passionate about direct democracy and is concerned that the will of the people is not being respected in Pierre.
These are just a few of the many concerns I heard from the people of South Dakota on this town hall listening tour, but the common theme among them is that South Dakota needs a leader that can take on the tough challenges we face so we can build a stronger South Dakota for generations to come. I will be that leader and will continue to listen to the people our of great state.”