Who am I?
I'm a fifth generation South Dakotan and father of five. I've spent the last 33 years working in and out of the private and public sectors - First, as an aide to U.S. Senator Tom Daschle then as a Regional Director in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for President Bill Clinton. After FEMA, I worked as the South Dakota Director for the American Association of Retired People (AARP) before becoming CEO of the International Code Council (ICC), a non-profit trade association responsible for developing commercial and residential safety construction standards and codes. I left ICC last year and now own and operate several small businesses with my wife, Stacy, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Why am I running?
I'm running because I think that big money and special interests have taken over our government and turned it against us. Campaign finance laws and Citizens United have given rise to a system where corporations and billionaires write laws that disproportionately favor their own personal and financial interests at the expense of working Americans. The day after a United States Senator in sworn into office they need to raise, on average, $10,000 a day, every day, for 6 years to be reelected. It's completely crazy and too many Senators are letting the big money special interests who fund their campaigns write the laws for this country. I am running to change this and get our government working for everyday citizens.
My top policy goal is to get big money out of politics by overturning the Citizens United ruling and reforming our campaign finance laws. We cannot get real reform in this country as long as the big money special interests are able to elect the politicians of their choosing. The first bill I plan on introducing, which is on the back of my business card, is a proposed constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United. I am also going to fight to expand access to health care by allowing every American, regardless of age, to buy into Medicare. Medicare is the most efficient health care provider in the country and every American should have the opportunity to buy into it at a reasonable price. I also want to enact comprehensive tax reform. I favor and will fight for a more progressive tax code that quits dolling out billions of dollars in subsidies, eliminates tax shelters, and write-offs to America’s most powerful and profitable corporations. Companies like Apple simply should not be able to hide profits overseas while we are kick kids off of Head Start.
In office, I intend to do everything I can to bring these goals into fruition - knowing that these are long-term projects that will require a lot of hard work. I will work to highlight the abuses we are fighting against and help elect likeminded people to office.
My DFA Values
I believe that we got half a loaf with health care reform because we did not get a public option. I believe that every American, regardless of age or health, should be allowed to buy into Medicare. I believe that big money special interests have taken over our government and turned it against us. Our campaign finance laws have failed to stop billionaires and corporations from being able to elect the politicians of their choosing – the same politicians who let them write laws that disproportionately favor their own personal and financial interests.
We are not going to get the change we need in this country until we get big money out of politics. American families are working harder and harder yet they are failing to get ahead. They are working themselves to the bone while Wall Street and big money special interests rig the economy against them. I am committed to fighting this distortion of our political system and putting our government on the side of ordinary citizens.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I am committed to running the largest grassroots campaign South Dakota has seen in generations. Many campaigns expect volunteers and supporters to come to them. I have decided to take my campaign on the road and go to the people. When I got into this race, I pledged to visit every single town in South Dakota. South Dakota has 311 communities and while many people laughed at my pledge - I have already traveled to more than 240 communities and am going to visit every single town at least once. I will visit many more than once. The centerpiece of my campaign is our “Take it back!” townhall meetings. I have held more than 75 public meetings so far and will continue holding townhalls throughout South Dakota.