The most cherished principles of our state and nation are rooted in the idea that our life and liberty come to us from God. Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of our Declaration of Independence, issued this reminder to future generations blessed to live in America: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?”

Guided by my own Christian convictions and firmly committed to the supreme law of our Constitution, I submit to the people of South Dakota the Marty Jackley Faith and Family Initiative.

Our religious faith, expressed through prayer, our relationships with one another, and our relationships with God, is the core of who we are. In the face of federal overreach and unlawful mandates, I have repeatedly fought as your attorney general to protect the religious freedom enshrined by the Constitution. I have similarly fought to protect South Dakota families, and will continue to be an advocate for strong South Dakota families as your governor.

With your continued prayers and support, together we can preserve a state where, “Under God, the people rule.”

MARTY’S COMMITMENT TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND STRONG FAMILIES

Host Annual Faith Leaders’ Summit. As your new governor, I will ensure that South Dakota’s faith leaders have a seat at the table. In addition to leading our congregations and guiding our families in their religious walk, our state’s faith leaders are deeply involved in the wellbeing of their communities. Churches and faith-based organizations are on the front lines confronting poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness, hopelessness, and depression. They provide critical care to the soul and the body and witness the needs of our communities up close. Their stories deserve to be listened to. The Jackley administration will commit to hosting an annual Faith Leaders’ Summit in addition to regular dialogue with faith institutions.

Promote a Culture of Life in South Dakota. As a practicing Christian, I believe all life is sacred and filled with incredible potential.

I believe that abortion is the taking of innocent life and that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be reversed. God forbids the shedding of innocent blood and the unborn, undeniably, are innocent. As your attorney general, I introduced legislation that banned the harvesting, trafficking, and selling of baby parts, and I have supported legislation that requires a waiting period between initial consultation and abortion, requires providers to give women detailed information about the procedure, and requires pre-abortion counseling. As your governor, I will speak out against the taking of innocent life and sign legislation that protects the unborn.

Furthermore, I will fight to protect the elderly, the mentally ill, and the disabled. The culture of death tells us that a life is worth living only so long as it is pleasurable, but I believe that every life is intrinsically valuable. As your governor, I will oppose legislation that promotes assisted suicide.

All life is beautiful. Together, we can set an example for the nation and protect innocent life in South Dakota.

Support Strong Families. I’ll never forget the days Michael and Isabella were born. Angela and I treasure them, and we are grateful for the many friends and family who supported us as parents. Parenthood is a beautiful part of life, and your governor should be a friend and advocate to pregnancy resource centers, help lines, and other outreach centers where women can receive help during and after their pregnancy. I will also assist adoption centers and other organizations that offer alternatives to abortion.

Just as every child deserves a loving mother, every child also deserves a loving father. The absence of a father in the household has consequences for the child’s development and for all of society. Since government cannot and should not take the place of parents, I will direct my administration to ensure that education and poverty alleviation programs take into account the impact on the family unit.

Support Mental Health Treatment and Addiction Recovery. I hold a comprehensive view of what it means to be pro-life. God provides unlimited potential for each of our lives, but sometimes difficult challenges reduce that potential and pose societal problems that we must address together.

It’s time for South Dakota to address the challenges our state is facing with mental illness. It should not be a problem that individuals and families fight alone. As your governor, I will direct a task force to assess South Dakota’s readiness to combat mental illness and addiction. This process began when I announced a state lawsuit against three opioid manufacturers whose false advertising has led to addiction and broken lives. I’m fighting to remedy that as your attorney general, and will continue to fight addiction and drug abuse as your governor.

Challenge DC Mandates that Conflict with Constitution and Conscience. As your attorney general, I have entered lawsuits to protect the right of state and local governments to exhibit religious displays such as the Ten Commandments; I’ve fought against laws that require health care providers to inform women about subsidized abortions; and I’ve opposed federal mandates for contraception coverage that violate sincerely held religious principles. As your governor, I will continue to oppose the federal government’s intrusions into the religious life of South Dakotans.

Protect the Rights of Students. The rights of all South Dakota students, from K-12 to college campuses, to pray, express their religious faith, and peaceably assemble must be protected. In an age of “free speech zones” and campus crackdowns, I will be an ally to students who feel their constitutional rights are threatened, and I will work with the Department of Education and the Board of Regents to ensure our free speech and religious expression policies are fully compliant with the law.

I am also committed to protecting the privacy and dignity rights of every South Dakota student. Children should not be in the locker room or bathroom with children of the opposite birth sex. As attorney general, I sued the Obama administration’s attempt to force students of opposite sex into locker rooms and bathrooms.  That executive action was clearly unlawful and the federal courts agreed.  As governor, I would sign legislation that protects student privacy and allows local school districts to provide reasonable accommodations.

Defend Conscientious Objection. Health care providers, insurance providers, and employers who refuse to perform, facilitate, or pay for procedures or treatments (such as abortion, abortion-inducing drugs, or euthanasia) that conflict with sincerely held religious beliefs should not be punished. I will oppose any effort to attack, defund, or delegitimize these groups due to religious affiliation.

Protect the Rights of Teachers and Faith-Based Organizations. The freedom to act consistent with sincerely held religious beliefs regarding traditional marriage must be protected.

IN SUMMARY

I am not a perfect person and will not be a perfect governor. However, I take heart from Deuteronomy 31:6, which tells us: “Be strong and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you.” No matter the challenges we face in South Dakota, God is next to us. That’s never a bad place to be.

If honored to be your new governor, this Faith and Family Initiative will serve as my guide, and I will never stop fighting for your family and mine.