GOP House Candidates Debate Ag, Prescriptions Among National Issues

May 25, 2018

Left to right: Dusty Johnson, Shantel Krebs and Neal Tapio.
Credit SDPB

Each of the three Republican candidates for South Dakota’s lone US House seat has a different idea for representing the state’s ag sector in Washington DC.
 
Those candidates squared off on South Dakota Public Broadcasting TV Thursday night.
 
The debate centered around a host of national issues that effect South Dakota, including the 2018 Farm Bill.
 
Since this year’s Farm Bill has stalled in the House, Dusty Johnson – a former Public Utilities Commissioner and chief of staff to Governor Dennis Daugaard—says he expects negotiations to take place next year.
 
“I would want South Dakota to know my top committee assignment would be the agricultural committee. I think it’s critically important to South Dakota, I think it works well with my background," Johnson says. "I’ve already been in conversations with people who work closely with the ag committee.”
 
One of Johnson’s opponents, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says the ag committee needs to protect producers and  look at SNAP benefits.
 
“We need to, first of all, have a safety net. Number two, we need to reform welfare," Krebs says. "That includes making sure that able bodied people are working if they’re going to receive assistance.”
 
The third candidate vying for the GOP ticket in state senator Neal Tapio. He says he’ll partner with the state’s ag groups and take their ideas to Congress.
 
“To the Farm Bureau and the Farmer’s Union, I promise the Corn Growers Association, as well as all the agriculture commodity organizations, I promise to be your ally and partner in fighting for South Dakota producers," Tapio says.

The Republican candidates for South Dakota’s lone US House seat also say healthcare reform is needed.

As Congress slowly dismantles the Affordable Care Act, the Republican candidates say further changes to the healthcare system is needed.

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says the companies should be allowed to sell insurance across state lines.

“And getting the federal government out of the way and providing that choice and getting that choice back to you, the patient. It means increasing competition," Krebs says.

Kreb’s opponent, former chief of staff to Governor Dennis Daugaard, Dusty Johnson says innovation in healthcare starts at the state level.

“That was federalism, that’s why the tenth amendment is in there," Johnson says. "When I’m in congress, I will vote to give states unfettered flexibility so that they can innovate.”

State Senator Neal Tapio says the high price US consumers pay is subsidizing cheaper healthcare costs around the world. He says congress needs to look at that.
 
“Until we’ve addressed that, we’re not going to be able to address the other problems in healthcare, of which there are just numerous," Tapio says.
 
Tapio say he supports legislation that goes after "wall street speculators," who jack up the price of necessary prescriptions.
 
The Republican primary is on June 5th.