A key state lawmaker who helped draft the plan to increase teacher pay in South Dakota is not going back to Pierre next session.
Republican State Representative Jacqueline Sly failed to achieve enough votes in the primary race against incumbent State Senator Phil Jensen.
Sly was a co-chair of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force and a key supporter of the half cent sales tax increase passed last year by lawmakers. Jensen is among 10 state senators who voted against the final passage of the bill.
Sly says despite the political loss, she would not change her past. She says she’d vote again for the tax increase to support teachers.
“Unless we do something, we will not have teachers for my grandchildren, high quality teachers, and for the children of the state. And we know that South Dakota has a constitutional responsibility for public education, and I believe in that, and I would vote again for the half percent sales tax increase,” says Sly.
Senator Jensen calls his win a blowout. He says the results of this race are a reflection of conservative dissatisfaction in District 33 with Governor Dennis Daugaard’s administration.
“They like to portray conservatives as extremists. When, in reality all we are doing is we adhere to the Republican Party platform. The extremists are the ones who go off and don’t adhere to the Republican Party platform, whether it’s the national one or the state one. We are simply trying to conserve and adhere to our own Republican Party platform," Jensen says.
Some other state lawmakers who supported the sales tax increase for teacher survived primary challenges. You can find a full rundown of those races here.