BURKE, S.D. – Today on his family’s ranch overlooking the Missouri River in rural Burke, South Dakota, Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton announced his candidacy for Governor of South Dakota.
Senator Sutton, a fifth generation South Dakotan and term-limited District 21 State Senator, said he is running for Governor to put his South Dakota values of hard work, honesty, and integrity to work for the people of South Dakota.
Senator Sutton said that making his announcement for Governor from his family’s ranch was important because of the values he was raised with and the ranch’s connection to his life story.
Senator Sutton said, “I look around this ranch – a business and way of life my parents built with their blood, sweat, tears, and hard work, and I see the values that make us South Dakotans: rugged individualists with a heart for our community and neighbors, a never-say-quit attitude, and a desire to build a better life for each generation to come.”
Senator Sutton was raised a rodeo cowboy on the ranch. He had a successful college and professional rodeo career, making it to the top 30 in the world in the professional ranks. However, Sutton’s rodeo career was cut short in October 2007 when he was paralyzed in a rodeo accident.
Senator Sutton recounted, “My horse flipped over in the chute, and I was instantly paralyzed. My life changed forever in that moment– but I know deep down it’s more important to live by God’s plan for my life than it is to live by my own plan.”
Senator Sutton said that during his recovery, “It felt as though the entire state of South Dakota was behind me. Now is my time to give back to the state I love.”
“My wife Kelsea and I are raising our family, and we want to ensure that all South Dakotans can live the South Dakota dream of having a good-paying job, a great quality of life, a world-class education, in a state that helps every person live up to their God-given potential.” Sutton said.
Senator Sutton also laid out his vision for South Dakota in his announcement speech at the Sutton Ranch.
“I believe in a South Dakota where every person can get a world-class education and job with a good wage that provides the opportunity to build a better future for their family. If you are willing to work hard, you should be able to get ahead in South Dakota.”
“I believe in a South Dakota where our state government is as honest and hardworking as our people. We deserve better than what the establishment in Pierre has let happen to our state, and as our next Governor I’m going to change the culture of corruption.”
“I also believe in a South Dakota where we embrace our ag economy and our rural way of life. Our entire state, rural and urban, is impacted by the strength of our ag economy. Whan ag struggles, South Dakota struggles. When ag is strong, South Dakota is strong,” Senator Sutton said.
Sutton also told the crowd at the announcement that he will travel the state and listen to the issues facing people in their local communities.
“No one person has all the answers, and no political party has a monopoly on good ideas. I believe together we can find the answers and solve the problems facing our state,” Sutton proclaimed.
Senator Sutton resides in his hometown of Burke, SD. He still rides horses and has a cattle operation with his family. Senator Sutton formerly served as manager of a local Hay Association where he marketed hay across the country for area farmers. Sutton has worked as an investment executive for First Fidelity Bank, a small community bank, since August 2010.
Sutton was elected to the State Senate in 2010 and is now in his fourth term. He is the current Senate Minority Leader, serving in that role since 2014.
Senator Sutton is married to Kelsea Kenzy Sutton, an attorney with First Fidelity Bank and County Commissioner in Gregory County. Billie and Kelsea also have a young son named Liam.