Dr. Reynold Nesiba takes to the Web-waves to present his résumé to the Democratic and Independent voters of District 15, who will decide in the June 7 primary whether they want Nesiba or his opponent, Rep. Patrick Kirschman, to represent them in the State Senate.
Rep. Kirschman has the advantage of incumbency; he can cite eight years of service in the House. Unfortunately, as a Democrat, Rep. Kirschman has a hard time getting his bills through committee. The only Kirschman bill to pass was a 2013 measure to exempt from taxation labor union property used only for educational purposes, and that bill had an influential Republican prime sponsor in the Senate. (If we want either Kirschman or Neisba to fare better on passing legislation in 2017, we need to elect more Democratic Senators to join him in Pierre!)
To counter Kirschman’s Legislative experience, Nesiba lists his efforts on ballot initiatives, where so far, he’s two for three:
- In 2004, Nesiba backed an initiative to repeal the sales tax on food. That measure lost at the polls 67.5% to 32.5%; Nesiba promises to keep working toward that goal as District 15 Senator.
- In 2006: Nesiba proposed an initiative to check Governor Mike Rounds’s corrupt use of the state plane. That measure passed 55% to 45%.
- In 2014, Nesiba threw his economics expertise behind the initiative to raise South Dakota’s minimum wage to $8.50 plus an annual cost-of-living adjustment. That measure passed 55% to 45%.
This year, Nesiba is urging voters to defeat Referred Law 20, which is our Legislature’s attempt to take that minimum wage away from young workers. Nesiba is sponsoring another initiative, IM 21, the real 36% rate cap on payday loans.
Kirschman is likely on the same side of these ballot measures as Nesiba: Kirschman voted against cutting the youth minimum wage last year, and this year he voted against a sneaky bill that would have aborted the payday lender rate cap initiative. Rather than seeking a distinction on issues, Nesiba is appealing to citizens’ appreciation for participatory democracy.