2016 South Dakota Democratic Party Platform

Agriculture & Rural Life

The South Dakota Democratic Party recognizes the importance of agriculture, not only to our farm and ranch families, but also to the entire state and nation as the source of healthy, wholesome, affordable supply of food and fiber for our citizens.

Economic Development and Tourism

Economic development enhances the quality of life and standard of living of all South Dakota citizens.  State policies should promote innovation and long-term growth in all sectors of the economy; a diversified economy benefits everyone in the state.  As a foundation, we seek a living wage without diminishing our state’s cultural and natural environments.  A thriving tourism industry is an integral part of this vision.


Education is the greatest opportunity that we can offer the citizens of South Dakota. The quality of life in South Dakota is dependent on the quality of our education. Life-long education is crucial to our democracy, to our economic development, and to our continued growth and well-being as individuals, families, and communities. The citizens of South Dakota have the right to the best education possible.

Health Care

The health of South Dakotans is critical to the well-being of the state. Access to health care is a fundamental right regardless of geography or financial means. Health plans should provide affordable, accessible, and high quality health care including prescription benefits to every individual in South Dakota.

Human Rights

The South Dakota Democratic Party is a party of inclusiveness. We recognize that South Dakota is a global and multicultural community. Each individual brings a special gift to the community. We prosper when we are all in it together. We believe in the principles of dignity, self-determination, equal opportunity, justice, and quality of life.

Labor & Employment

The South Dakota Democratic Party is committed to improving the lives of South Dakota’s workers and their families. We recognize that South Dakota has the highest percentage of dual income families in the nation. Government policies should promote living wages, good benefits and equal treatment in the workplace.

Natural Resources & Environment

The South Dakota Democratic Party recognizes that protection of our water, air, land, and other natural resources is both essential and beneficial to responsible economic development and our quality of life. Natural resources must be managed and protected in a way that enhances our quality of life while strengthening South Dakota’s vital industries. Management and regulatory policies must recognize the need to promote sound conservation practices geared toward long-term sustainability of our natural resources. Our natural resources must be protected for present and future generations.

Senior Issues

South Dakota’s seniors have always contributed their wisdom, experience, and courage to move South Dakota forward. Far too often, our state has failed to return their contribution. Our seniors deserve the fulfilling, prosperous life they bestowed upon their children. That requires developing a flexible, economical continuum of services for productive living and lifelong learning, increasing access to more affordable prescription drugs, protecting seniors from fraud and abuse, and ensuring adequate resources for seniors with disabilities. The vitality of our seniors is sacred. Let’s reflect that in our state priorities.

State & Local Government

The South Dakota Democratic Party believes in equitable taxation, state budgets which reflect the priorities of South Dakota and government operations that are open and participatory.To build a better South Dakota, state and local governments must become lean, smart, and responsive. As Democrats, we are committed to making South Dakota work for all of South Dakotans – not just the powerful and connected.

Tribal & Native American

South Dakota is home to over 100,000 American Indians including 9 sovereign tribal nations that reside in some of the poorest counties in the country. As Democrats we reject the inequities that exist between our tribal and non-tribal people. We do not accept the destitute poverty, inadequate general and mental health care services, and overburdened criminal justice system on South Dakota’s reservations. Together, with the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota people, we will improve educational opportunities, protect natural resources, support tribal economic development, and maintain and expand voting rights.


The State of South Dakota recognizes our veterans deserve efficient and compassionate, life-long care. South Dakota Democrats believe the State should take an active role to promote access to holistic care by developing an outreach program that provides communication, that actively works to connect all veterans in the state to resources, both rural and urban, and that will promote physical, mental, social, educational, and financial well-being.