Meet the District 11 Democratic candidates vying for South Dakota House

Democrats in South Dakota Legislative District 11 will see a three-way primary race on for state House on their June 7 ballot.
Democrats in South Dakota Legislative District 11 will see a three-way primary race on for state House on their June 7 ballot.

South Dakota's 2022 primary season is void of many races within the Democratic Party.

But western Sioux Falls' District 11 is home to one of two Democratic primary contests at the legislative level in the entire state.

Registered Democrats in that district will choose between a trio of Democrats on their June 7 ballot, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election in November.

Editor's note: The Argus Leader submitted a series of questions to all candidates who will appear on the primary ballots, with a request that responses be kept to 100 words or less for each answer. Responses have been edited for grammar and clarity.

More: Republicans in District 11 to choose between four for state House in June primary

The questions:

  1. Why should Democratic voters in District 11 choose to nominate you for the general election, and why are you best positioned to beat out Republican candidates who will also be on the ballot come November?

  2. Democrats have seen their share of seats in the Legislature shrink to nearly record lows in recent years. What can Democratic lawmakers do with their time in Pierre to help reestablish the party’s role in the state Capitol?

  3. This year’s Legislative session saw House Democrats siding with Gov. Noem in a months-long debate surrounding federal spending authority and how much input the Legislature should have when determining how federal stimulus funds get spent. In the end, Democrats voted against legislation that would have forced Noem to cede some authority to unilaterally spend those dollars. What should the Legislature’s role be in spending federal stimulus for the state of South Dakota?

Stephanie Marty

Age: 68

Profession/place of employment: Retired federal bank compliance examiner

Prior public/community service: Transformation Project Board Member (current); various positions with the ELCA and Peace Lutheran church; former Scout leader (46 years); former soccer coach (16 seasons)

Family info: Married to Marsha (Mydland) Marty for 32 years (widowed in 2018); four children, 9 grandchildren.

No. 1. Our state government has reached a point similar to that of the federal government, where an autocrat runs the government unchecked with a legislature that for many issues is nothing but a rubber stamp for her actions, no matter the dubious nature of her actions. She runs nearly unchecked. The legislature spends much of its time in a race for the bottom: who can be the most conservative, no matter the legality of the action and no matter how taxpayers will be impacted by lawsuits ultimately costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

The answer is to separate the state from religious or medical decisions where the federal government or the courts have already opined. A competent legislature should be able to separate those issues and leave them alone, and concentrate on the areas where state government has the authority, for example schools and infrastructure. The person we chose to vote for, whether Republican or Democrat, needs to differentiate between real issues and those only used as scare tactics to get the base riled up.

Stephanie Marty
Stephanie Marty

No 2. Democrats have lost seats more or less due to the national trends that white America is being taken over by immigrants, losing jobs to immigrants, and other hot button issues that the national party espouses.

As a result, we’ve come to a place where Germany was in the 1930s, where any minority is vulnerable to hate crimes. Democrats had blinders on and failed to realize the impact of this trend. The party agenda failed to gain traction against FOX News and leading Republicans. To regain a foothold in Pierre, the party agenda has to address the false information that Republicans rely on to hold power.

Democrats need to address bread and butter issues with a better answer. The minimum wage is not a living wage, nor is it only high school kids that are stuck in that wage. There is such an imbalance of wealth and taxation that we are living in an age where those at the bottom are homeless even though they work multiple jobs. While Republicans blame immigrants, we need to open our eyes and see that the system is broken and fixing wages and taxation is only a start.

No. 3. Spending federal stimulus dollars should almost follow two paths: If the dollars are designated from the federal government, the governor should be able to direct those dollars under the guidance of the legislature; if the funds come in a block grant and are not designated for something specifically, those dollars should fall to the legislature to determine how they are spent.

Margaret Kuipers

Age: 60

Profession/place of employment: Community Blood Bank phlebotomist

Prior public/community service: Emergency Medical Technician, served several state and district positions with the SD Emergency Medical Services Association, Minnehaha County Emergency Management volunteer, former 4-H Leader, Habitat For Humanity volunteer.

Family info: 3 children, 5 granddaughters.

No. 1. I am honest, dependable and hard working. I have a diverse background in healthcare, correction, emergency management and small business. I will be a practical voice in Pierre. Ready to listen to all in District 11 and help find common sense solutions.

Margaret Kuipers
Margaret Kuipers

No. 2. We need to be able to find common ground by working with both sides of the isle to pass legislation that will serve all of the people in South Dakota, not just a select few.

No. 3. There should be input on recommendations for how the stimulus is dispersed to best serve our state.

Kim Parke

Age: 54

Profession/place of employment: Education Support Staff for the Sioux Falls School District

Prior public/community service: Sioux Falls Education Assistants’ Association president (2018 to present), South Dakota Education Support Professional Advisory Council member (2018 to present), National Education Association’s Leadership Program (2020-present), school athletics support volunteer

Family: Husband Blake Parke, children - Morgan (24), Quinn (19), Brayden (16)

No. 1. I have lived in District 11 for 30 years, and South Dakota all of my life. As a 15 year employee in our public schools, I have had the opportunity to work with students from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.

I have learned to differentiate my approach to effectively work with many different teachers and students with varying teaching and learning styles. South Dakota deserves transparent legislators who will pass meaningful legislation that benefits everyone in our state. I have a unique perspective on the challenges and issues facing our state and have the determination to find solutions that work for everyone.

Kim Parke
Kim Parke

No. 2. Regardless of political party, we all believe in hard work, honesty, family values and supporting our communities. The question becomes how do we agree on the best solutions for our problems.

I believe the best and most effective way to accomplish goals as a bipartisan group is through building relationships and fostering teamwork to establish trust. I promise to work with both Democrat and Republican representatives with integrity and transparency to advocate, negotiate and compromise to discover reasonable and equitable solution for positive change.

No. 3. While federal funds received, after the State budget has passed, are usually required to go back through the Appropriations Committee, the extenuating circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic required flexibility in order to meet the urgent needs of South Dakotans.

Since the spending of the federal Covid-19 money had already been approved in the budget, it can be argued that the new money received had also been approved. The South Dakota Legislature rose to the challenge of the pandemic and found ways to provide help. I don’t believe this was a missed opportunity by Democrats. This situation proves that our legislators can cooperate and compromise for the common good.

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Meet the Democratic candidates for District 11 for South Dakota House