SD Legislative candidate survey: Steve Duffy

The South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre.
The South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 3:23 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Steve Duffy is running as a Republican for the South Dakota State House in District 32. The district encompasses much of downtown Rapid City, and runs south towards Upper Spring Creek Road. Duffy is running alongside Republican incumbent Becky Drury. The two will face two Democrats in the general election, Christine Stephenson and Jonathan Old Horse.

Steve Duffy is running as a Republican for the South Dakota State House in District 32.
Steve Duffy is running as a Republican for the South Dakota State House in District 32.(Submitted)

1. Who are you? Tell us about yourself in 100 words or less.

Steve Duffy, 4th generation West River, born and raised in Fort Pierre, South Dakota. I graduated from Arizona State University in1981, moved to Rapid City and have basically been in District 32 for the 40+ years since. I worked in local TV and cable in the Black Hills for 32 years.

I am happily married for 35 years with three grown children. I have a couple of small businesses that keep me busy and I have a passion for helping my city and state in any way I can in these unprecedented times.

2. What prompted you to run for office?

I’ve been at the legislature in Pierre for the last three years, watching closely. I was concerned by the divisive issues raised during the sessions and the votes against our West River interests. I think I have something positive to offer for our region.

A motivating concern is the Rapid City area growth. Anyone who lives in Rapid City can feel it: traffic, crime, home prices, etc. Much of our growth is coming from retirees, many out-of-staters, etc. We are net negative in the 30-50 age group, people in the prime working years. We need to focus on this group and develop options so that young South Dakotans who want to stay, have opportunities. We must leverage the power of South Dakota Mines, a great STEM school in Rapid City that has an incubator to help start-ups. Western Dakota Technical College is a great trade school and many of their graduates stay in the area. The trades are an on-ramp to a great life.

3. What public policies are you passionate about? What would your policy priorities be in Pierre?

The issue I’m most passionate about is creating smart growth jobs that allow South Dakota residents, their kids and grandkids to have an option to stay and create a good life. In my mind, if you can make a living here, there is no better place. That takes keeping taxes as low as possible, minimizing government regulations, focusing on workforce housing, and educating our workforce.

4. Cutting the grocery tax has become central to this election cycle. Do you think that the legislature should cut the grocery tax next legislative session? Is there any taxes you would cut instead, or in addition to?

No question cutting the grocery tax would be helpful to many citizens, but until we see the particulars, it is hard to comment. My understanding is this proposal will come from the Governor’s office, so we’ll see how she envisions implementing it. This is a big revenue generator for a state that relies on property tax and sales tax for most of its services. I know the state economy is growing so we’ll see how the revenue picture plays out in the budget.

5. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier in the year. South Dakota currently has a law that prevents abortion almost completely outright. Are there any exceptions you would like to see the legislature enact? What other laws would you like to see passed to support mothers and families?

This is a difficult issue and I’ve heard about every side of the issue while going door to door in my district. I don’t think either extreme is correct, including no exceptions at all or abortion right up until birth. In addition to life of the mother, I support exceptions for rape and incest. We need to tread carefully understanding there are two lives involved.

6. Recreational marijuana is on the ballot in November. If it passes, would you commit to legalizing it?

Of course, if the will of the people is to have recreational marijuana. Some say it already passed. All I know is the South Dakota Supreme Court overturned it. So now recreational marijuana will stand on its own on the ballot and we’ll know soon.

7. What is the most important quality for an elected official to possess?

Curiosity. There are some tough issues facing the state right now. Anyone that offers soundbite solutions to these is not thinking them through. I ask questions because I want to learn. There are many smart people in this state that have different expertise. In business, I have always found that asking for help from qualified people gets you the best results.

8. Who do you take inspiration from, and why?

I have a picture of John F Kennedy in my office. In the 1960s, he was a Democrat in the mainstream of the party. Nowadays, I think Kennedy would be a Republican. Kennedy believed that a strong military was the best guarantor of peace, that cutting taxes was the best way to grow the economy and he firmly opposed racial quotas. It is unlikely Kennedy would recognize his party today. In particular I support Kennedy’s idea of self-reliance with his famous line: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” ― John F. Kennedy

State legislative candidates in contested districts this election season were emailed the same survey to complete for Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory News. With the exception of a quick spelling and grammar check, answers were not edited by the poster. Those who responded to the survey questions had their results posted.