Even though four men are on the ballot in the state House District 2 race, only three of them are pursuing the office.
Danny Miles, a Democrat from Conde, chose not to seek the office after joining the Spink County Farm Service Agency county office committee. Withdrawal papers were not submitted before the August deadline, so his name remains on the ballot, said South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant.
Two of the four candidates will be elected to represent District 2, which consists of all of Clark and Hamlin counties, most of Spink and part of Brown County.
Redistricting led to a big change for the two House incumbents — Brock Greenfield of Clark and Burt Tulson of Lake Norden. Both formerly represented District 6.
The Democrat remaining in the District 2 race is Dennis Nemmers, who lives at Lake Poinsett.
Nemmers ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate four years ago in District 6. Now 65, he worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 31 years, 24 of them as postmaster.
Nemmers would vote no on Referred Law 16, which originated as House Bill 1234. An education reform act, it would create a program for teacher merit bonuses and eliminate state requirements for teacher tenure.
Nemmers said he hates to see schools consolidating. He opposes the state requirement that schools with fewer than 100 students are forced to consider consolidation. He also doesn't like to see post offices close.
If elected, he said he will be more responsive than many current legislators. “You can write to them, you can call them, and you never get a response.”
Nemmers said Lake Poinsett experienced flooding two years in a row, and he never saw a legislator visit. He said he will attend county commission meetings to keep in touch with what's going on. Some current legislators, he said, seem more worried about what the governor wants than the needs of their constituents.
Greenfield, 37, has been in the Legislature for 12 years, the first eight of them in the Senate.
Because of term limits, he switched to the House four years ago. The change from old District 6 to new District 2 isn't a major adjustment for him, he said.
“I've always served a large, rural district so while the shape changes and some of the communities change, it's going to be similar for me, getting out and covering a large area.”
Fiscal matters have been the overriding concern the last few years. One group that's worked hard to address South Dakota concerns has been the governor's open government task force, Greenfield said.
With regard to schools, “the goal at the end of the day is to make sure the students are receiving a superior education,” he said. Whether Referred Law 16 passes or fails, he said, the state is going to have to address its teacher shortage.
A big concern is how the state will be impacted by the Affordable Health Care Act, he said. Legislators must work at “providing care for those who can't care for themselves,” Greenfield said.
The new federal health care law, he said, will have an effect on any organization that receives Medicaid reimbursements — nursing homes, hospitals, mental health institutions and adjustment training centers. The state will have to pick up a larger share of Medicaid funding, he said.
Greenfield was an intern for two years before he joined the Legislature “so I've spent almost the entirety of my adult working life in Pierre. I've developed relationships that really help me get things done for the people I serve.”
Tulson, 65, has spent two years in the House, representing District 6. He is a retired general contractor and builder, and is a substitute teacher and baseball coach. He is also a member of the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame.
The change in districts hasn't been a hardship for him, he said, because all South Dakotans have similar interests. “It's been fun to meet new people and to get to know different people in different areas. I look at it as a blessing,” Tulson said.