Consistent Common Sense: From the Senate to South Dakota's Highest Office

In my eight years in the state Senate, I worked to make South Dakota and our families stronger. From fighting for grassroots economic development, to strengthening our schools, and holding our government accountable, I’ve worked as a bipartisan consensus builder to make sure the people’s voice is heard. I fought for common sense South Dakota priorities in the Senate, and I will continue to lead on these priorities to get more done for our state as governor:

Senator Sutton's Track Record

Government Integrity


  • Retaining state agency financial records for a longer time period
  • Requiring printed names of those signing state contracts
  • Serving on the legislative oversight committee that investigates other arms of government
  • Decreased lobbyist gift limits and limited ability of government officials to serve as lobbyists
  • Limited conflicts of interest in state government programs and grants

Limit Money’s Influence in Politics: 

  • Fighting to tighten-up campaign finance limits so that money alone can't win power
  • Changed the law to limit personal use of campaign money so officials can’t get rich off being a politician

Open Government:

  • Opening more government records to public view so voters know how their tax dollars are spent
  • Supported legislation to increase transparency on government websites

Listening to the People:

  • Fighting the repeal of campaign finance limits and ethics commission approved by the people in IM 22
  • Implementing a state ethics commission
  • Ensuring all hardworking South Dakotans receive minimum wage in accordance with the people’s vote

Economic & Workforce Development

Building South Dakota:

  • Created a bipartisan economic plan focused on infrastructure, better jobs, affordable housing, and education
  • Securing ongoing funding for this initiative without raising taxes

Expand Training and Opportunity:

  • Bolstering career and tech education in high schools
  • Supporting Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) by expanding job-training opportunities to urban and rural schools
  • Professional recruitment assistance for rural communities
  • Childcare support and workplace accommodations for working class families


Support Teachers and Student Success:

  • Raised teacher pay in 2016 to increase recruitment/retention of teachers & moved SD from last place in the nation
  • Lowered the student to teacher ratio to help small schools
  • Recruit rural teachers with tuition reimbursement program
  • Ensure all students can access post-secondary education
  • Reduce student debt by lowering education costs and increased support to needs-based scholarships
  • Invest in our future by addressing the need for early childhood education


Improve Coverage:

  • Ensured insurance coverage for health services for kids with hearing difficulties

Rural Access to Healthcare:

  •  Served on the Governor’s Primary Care Taskforce to keep rural hospitals in operation
  • Support the Rural Healthcare Recruitment Assistance Program to attract providers to smaller hospitals
  • Support increased provider reimbursements for Community Support Providers and Nursing Homes
  • Allowed nurse practitioners’ independence to make healthcare more accessible in rural areas

Recognize Opportunity and Provide Treatment:

  •  Expanding healthcare coverage to working South Dakotans to create jobs, save millions, and improve coverage for tribal members
  • Collaborating for solutions to the meth and opioid epidemic
  • Supporting increased access to extensive addiction treatment and mental health services