Q: How did you become interested in your field?
A: “I’ve always been interested in helping people, which is why I got involved in advocacy nonprofits. When I transitioned into Aflac earlier this year, I did it for the same reasons: I love working with people and small-business owners to see what they’re concerned about and what they need, and helping figure out what works best for them.”
Q: How did you become interested in politics?
A: “I’ve been interested and involved in politics since I was a teenager, partly because I was forced to watch cable news at a young age. It didn’t take long before I realized how big of an impact decisions made by elected officials have on peoples’ lives. I also realized that ‘politics’ isn’t what happens when pundits fight on cable news; it’s the decisions that get made that affect everyone, whether it’s how much money to spend on roads, schools, health care, et cetera. These are decisions everyone should be aware of, and voice their opinions on.”
Q: What’s the biggest issue of concern to businesses that will be debated in the Legislature this year?
A: “The budget is always the biggest issue we face because it impacts so many peoples’ lives. I’m looking forward to those conversations and hope that we’ll end up with a final product that works for all South Dakotans, especially for kids and seniors.”
Q: What issue will you champion?
A: “I’m focused on fighting for kids and small businesses this session. Among other things, I’m working on making sure day cares are safe, that kids have quality early childhood education and that we’re encouraging new entrepreneurs.”
Q: Do you have a charity or organization that’s especially close to your heart?
A: “I volunteer for Children’s Care Hospital & School, which serves special needs children across the state. One of my favorite times there was getting to help students get ready for their homecoming dance this fall – the other volunteers and I had a blast helping do the girls’ hair and makeup!”
Q: What has been your most rewarding experience in the past year?
A: “I really enjoyed hearing from all the different people in the community over the past year about what they would like to see from state government. I’ve not only attended sessions sponsored by various organizations, I’ve hosted two ‘community coffee’ events myself, which gave me the chance to talk to residents one-on-one.”
Q: What do you think are the best and worst things about living in Sioux Falls?
A: “I like our downtown area, and the progress it has made and continues to make – I live close to downtown, and I like feeling close to so much of what Sioux Falls offers. As far as a challenge goes: It’s disheartening to see so many empty storefronts in central Sioux Falls outside of downtown, and I look forward to working with others to address that.”