S.D. House minority leader urges a more balanced legislature
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Unless South Dakota voters send more Democrats to the state House and Senate – creating a more politically balanced Legislature – they will continue to see problems like the Gear Up and EB-5 scandals, a Democratic leader said Thursday.
Of the 70 House members, 12 are Democrats. In the Senate, the split is 27-8 in favor of the Republicans.
“What South Dakota should be concerned about is the lack of discussion that happens,” House Minority Leader Spencer Hawley of Brookings said at the District 22 Democratic Forum.
Conflict of interest and a lack of oversight are issues that will keep occurring until the balance of power changes, he said.
“And it’s not because there’s bad people controlling it,” Hawley said. “It’s because they’re not questioned.
“Even good systems need to have someone out there looking at it and saying, ‘here, what’s wrong with this, what’s going on here?’” he said.
A Brookings native who graduated from South Dakota State University and spent 30 years in the South Dakota Army National Guard, Hawley owns an insurance business. He was first elected to the House in 2010, his first stab at public office, after deciding he needed to get politically involved.