Lori Walsh is bringing a major improvement to South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s coverage of Legislative races. In the past, SDPB did canned videos for YouTube or interviews with the same generic questions for each candidate. This year, Lori Walsh is doing live eight- to ten-minute interviews with the candidates on In the Moment. When she opened the “Meet the Candidates” series last week with District 3 Democratic Senate candidate Cory Allen Heidelberger (me!), she got “right to the issues,” asking me about “major topics you’d like to address in Pierre.”
And instead of sticking to some script of generic questions, Walsh follows up, digging into the details of candidate statements and asking them to elaborate or consider counter points. When I said I would prioritize defending voter rights by restoring our initiative and referendum powers, Walsh countered by asking about concerns about voters passing bad initiatives like Marsy’s Law. When I said my incumbent opponent’s support for racial profiling and banning refugees from our state makes South Dakota look bad and hampers our efforts to recruit and retain workers, she asked how we make South Dakota look like a more inviting, inclusive state. That kind of follow-up challenges candidates to get off their own scripts and explain their ideas more deeply.
Here’s my full conversation with Walsh, in which we also discuss the need for competitive teacher pay, the impact of Trump’s tariffs on South Dakota agriculture, and my ability to reach across the aisle and talk with people of all parties: