Sioux Falls — Job creation, stronger schools and a smarter, leaner government are the goals that Democratic leaders who were elected Saturday by their legislative colleagues.
Jason Frerichs was elected Senate Minority Leader and Bernie Hunhoff was elected House Minority Leader for the upcoming term of the South Dakota Legislature.
Senator Frerichs said the first priority is to deal with an expected $100 million shortfall in the budget. “We must get our fiscal house in order, and part of that involves setting priorities for the state.” Frerichs added, “The Republicans have avoided the issue for the past eight years. We can’t afford to do everything that everybody wants, so we need to decide where we can make the most difference with limited resources.”
Representative Hunhoff said job creation is the Democrats top priority. “Education and stronger schools are the best way to create jobs. Whether you want to reduce welfare costs, improve jobs, encourage entrepreneurism or cut prison budgets – education is the solution.” Hunhoff added, “Sadly, it has not been the priority for our colleagues on the other side of the aisle.”
Hunhoff and Frerichs said their caucuses are energized about the upcoming session and they intend to offer bold new ideas on how to exert more discipline in the budget process, create good jobs and build stronger schools.
Other leaders elected on today in Sioux Falls
Leader – Jason Frerichs – Wilmot
Assistant Leader – Jim Hundstad – Bath
Whip – Jim Bradford – Pine Ridge
Caucus Chair – Angie Buhl – Sioux Falls
Leader – Bernie Hunhoff – Yankton
Assistant Leader – Mitch Fargen – Flandreau
Whip – Susy Blake – Sioux Falls
Whip – Peggy Gibson – Huron
Caucus Chair – Steve Street – Revillo