Weekly Roundup: State of the State

Friends, as we begin the first week of the 2021 session, I want to thank you again for trusting me to represent our values and our community in Pierre. We have a lot to accomplish, and I’m excited to see what we can get done!

2020 was one of the hardest years we have experienced in a long time. Some have lost family members, friends, livelihoods, and so much more. While COVID-19 still dominates headlines, there are reasons for optimism. South Dakota leads the nation in giving our citizens the first dose of the Coronavirus vaccine. I expect that to continue over the next several months as we fight to return to a more normal way of life.

Governor Noem highlighted this and other progress in her state of the state address and touched on several of her priorities for the session, including helping foster children find homes, expanding access to apprenticeships, improving education, and developing our workforce.

We also heard from Chief Justice Steven Jensen and Standing Rock Tribal Chair Mike Faith, as they addressed the state of the judiciary and state of the tribes, respectively.

Because of our decision to keep our economy open, we will go into this session without the budget crisis affecting many other states. In fact, we will be starting session with a budget surplus. This is important, because in such a difficult environment for families and small businesses, the last thing we need is a big tax increase to further burden our workers and businesses. Instead, this surplus will make it easier to give inflationary salary increases to teachers, nursing home staff,and state employees. Our teachers, care providers, and others have shown up when we needed them the most, and I will be making that pay raise a priority.

As always, I am working hard to ensure that our home, South Dakota, is the best place in the country to raise a family, start a business, experience the great outdoors, and enjoy our God given freedom.

This session I will be serving as Chairman of the House Taxation committee, as well as serving on House Education. I look forward to representing Brown County on these committees, ensuring that our children receive a quality education and keeping our taxes low.

I welcome all citizen input and will do my best to respond to all inquiries. Please reach out to my Facebook page—Drew Dennert for State House.

Rep. Drew Dennert

Rep. Drew Dennert announces bid for re-election

Rep. Drew Dennert announced his candidacy for re-election for District 3 House of Representatives.

“It has been a great honor to serve District 3 and the residents of Brown county and I hope to continue serving South Dakota in the State Legislature. If re-elected I will continue to prioritize our agriculture industry, education funding, job growth, and an environment where small businesses and our citizens can thrive.”

Some of Dennert’s legislative accomplishments include passing legislation that he was the prime sponsor of including:

  • HB 1204 from 2019. This legislation helped simplify tax laws for young people under the age of 18 when entering the small business field.
  • HB 1092 from 2019. In an effort to increase transparency and accountability in state government HB 1092 increased the number of financial reports that legislative candidates are required to file.
  • SB 128 from 2019. 128 added an appropriation that aimed to replace some of the funds that were swept from the South Dakota bred horse racing fund.

Other accomplishments include his continued support of Northern State University, boosting funding levels for nursing homes and community service providers. As well as supporting various bills aimed at improving habitat in South Dakota that will help to bolster hunting and fishing opportunities for resident sportsmen and sportswomen.

During Dennert’s time in the legislature he has been a member on the Transportation and State Affairs committees as well as House Taxation where he has served as Vice Chair for the past two years.
Rep. Dennert is a husband, father and a sixth generation resident of Brown county. He resides in Aberdeen with his wife Ashton and son Tracy. Dennert is a part owner and operator on the family farm in the Columbia area.

Uncovering The Real Agenda Behind Ballot Measures

Last year South Dakotans cast their vote for a near record breaking 10 ballot measures, nearly beating the modern record set in 2006 of 11 measures in an election.

Next year we may be poised to beat the 2006 ballot measure record, as 20 measures have been submitted for review and several have been approved for circulation. But before any of these measures can make it to the ballot, they must collect enough valid signatures from South Dakota voters before the November 6th deadline.

Like every election, most ballot measures have good intentions but some may have unintended consequences that voters should consider before signing off on to put them on the ballot – or vote them in. Something I know all too well from personal experience.

In 2015, I remember being approached by a petition circulator who asked if I would be willing to sign his petition for Marsy’s Law. I asked him to explain what the measure would do and after his explanation that the measure would guarantee equal rights for victims in the judicial process, I made the decision to sign it.

But soon after signing the petition, I did some research of my own and learned that the measure was sponsored by an out-of-state group and that measure could have significant costs for local taxpayers, which the measure’s sponsors wouldn’t have to bear. It quickly became apparent to me that it wasn’t as simple as the circulator had explained; and whether or not it was a good decision to sign it – I was disappointed in myself for not taking the time to evaluate the issue and make an informed decision beforehand.

Many of the upcoming 2018 election ballot measures sound good on the surface, but by digging a little deeper, you may find they carry some unintended consequences. That’s why I plan to ask questions and slow down this year when approached to sign another ballot measure petition.

Petition circulators are great salesman and know how to do their job quickly and effectively, but some simple questions may get some answers to give pause before signing.

A great question is to ask whether the measure’s sponsor is from South Dakota or not. Out of state groups commonly want to have their cake and eat it too – by pushing their agendas while never facing the unintended consequences they may have. I want to know the people that came up with the law, whether good or bad, will have to live under it just like you and me if it passes.

Often these out-of-state groups hire professional circulators to get the required number of signatures to get their issue on our ballot. That’s why it’s worth asking the petition circulator whether they are being paid or are a volunteer – it’s the difference between doing a job or believing in a cause.

And finally ask to read the Attorney General’s explanation of the measure, which is on the back of every petition in its entirety. It’s worth reading, if not just to make sure that the circulator isn’t selling you a bill of goods.

South Dakota is the birthplace of the ballot measure process, leading the country in this vital tool, and we should all participate. But we should do so informed and confidently in our decision, because we’re the ones that have to live with our choices.

2018 Re-Election Announcement

With Representative Kaiser announcing last week that he would not seek re-election to run for Brown County Sheriff, I wanted to take the opportunity to let everyone know that my intentions next year will be to run for re-election!

In the past year I have been blessed to be in the State House and to represent the people of Brown County. I have learned some valuable lessons and how important standing up for your core values are and how important it is to work with people who both agree with you or sometimes disagree with you.

And while my conservative values are what gave me the passion to run in the first place, continuing to fight for the conservative cause is what encourages me to keep fighting.

We have done a lot right in South Dakota but the more involved I get the more I realize that we truly have a lot of work to do. Whether it’s taxes, government corruption, constitutional rights, the right to life, education, helping to improve our economy or any other issue, we need more people involved who will vigilantly fight for liberty and for the values we all believe in.

I hope that over the next year you will do your part to become more active in our political process and learn more about the candidates running and the issues that we support.

Also in an effort to help voters learn more about me, I have setup this website and encourage you to visit frequently as I will continue to update it.

Please check it out, and I appreciate all the support I have received from the community of Aberdeen!