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Dave Johnson, Candidate, Says Focus Is On Pine Beetles

Rapid City business owner Dave Johnson announced Wednesday his candidacy for the District 33 Senate seat now held by Phil Jensen. Johnson will challenge Jensen in the Republican primary election.
   As an arborist and owner of a tree service, Johnson says one of his primary concerns is funding to battle the mountain pine beetle infestation in the Black Hills.
   He says the bug is indigenous to the Hills, but in 120 years of monitoring, it has never before been this destructive. Johnson says the epidemic has not yet reached its peak, and it promises to bring “colossal” losses to tourism and property values.
   “It’s a dilemma. It’s a big issue. And we need to get a lot of people at the table on this to come with a resolution, and I can do that,” he says. “I can build a consensus. I’ve been doing it for 34 running this tree company. I’m a successful businessman, and you don’t get that way unless you can get people together with conflicting goals and get a compromise together.”
   Johnson says the National Forest Service and South Dakota Forest Service have not had the resources to adequately fight the epidemic.
   Johnson says he’s running to bring common sense to the District 33 Senate seat. In addition to running a business, Johnson is a pilot and retired Air Force Captain and holds an MBA. He’s been married for 28 years and has three daughters.