Marty Jackley Hometown South Dakota Initiative

My vision for an even better South Dakota includes all communities in our state. As a promise to all citizens, no person or community gets left behind. My Hometown South Dakota Initiative is not about telling communities what they need to do better. Rather, it is about listening to communities and understanding what I can do as governor to help them grow and thrive. An effective leader must always listen before speaking. As your new governor, I will represent all communities.

1. Opportunity South Dakota

I will fight to reverse the trend of youth leaving our state. South Dakota’s most valuable export is our youth. South Dakota is the “Land of Infinite Variety,” but we must also become known as the land of infinite job opportunities.

Not only do we need to provide employment opportunities so our kids can stay in South Dakota, but we need to invite those who have left to come back home. We must also attract an inflow of economic and human resources to build on the base of homegrown talent and resources. I will work with successful South Dakotans who have built and operate multi-state business operations and South Dakota natives who live in other states, but have the potential to bring business and economic development back to the communities where they grew up. I will also pursue business opportunities across all levels of research, technology, manufacturing, agricultural production, hospitality, tourism, and other platforms to grow the economies of communities, big and small, across our great state.

As a student attending the School of Mines and Technology, I saw the “brain drain” first hand as my colleagues left South Dakota for opportunities in other states. Many of those students would have loved to stay in South Dakota to work and raise a family, but they didn’t have the right job opportunities. As your new governor, creating new and better jobs will be my highest priority and giving our youth the opportunity to stay home is the first step.

I will develop partnerships with municipalities, universities, technical institutions, and employers to address workforce development opportunities and challenges. I applaud Governor Daugaard for his leadership and commitment to workforce development and I will remain steadfast in supporting the State’s existing initiatives, including SD WINS, the Build Dakota Scholarship, Dakota Roots, and Career Launch. I will also work on new initiatives to build a stronger workforce for our 21st century economy.

I am also working to improve graduation rates and academic achievement as a member of the National Board of Directors for Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), a non-profit organization that helps at-risk students. One of the greatest challenges South Dakota employers face is finding young workers ready and able to work. It is incumbent on us to do everything in our power to keep our at-risk youth populations out of the juvenile justice system, and on track to becoming productive members of the workforce. JAG currently operates in seven schools across South Dakota and is seeing the same success here as they have nationwide. As governor, I will continue working to expand upon the success that JAG has already had as part of a broader effort to address workforce development and juvenile justice issues in South Dakota.

2. Online Sales Tax Collection

I am leading the fight right now for our main streets all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court with the South Dakota v. Wayfair case. Our main street businesses can compete with the best in the world, but they deserve a level playing field. We have waited over a decade for Congress to fix this problem, but we simply cannot wait any longer if we want to help South Dakota businesses succeed in the 21st century economy.

Under current federal law, online retailers are not required to collect sales taxes unless they have a physical presence in a state. As a result, brick-and-mortar retailers that collect sales taxes are at a competitive disadvantage. In addition, our communities are losing upwards of $50 million dollars in tax revenue every year. That means South Dakota residents end up paying higher taxes to pay for essential government functions like infrastructure and public safety.

3. Connecting South Dakota

As an engineer and a South Dakota School of Mines and Technology graduate, I understand the importance of investing in innovations that will unlock the incredible economic potential of even our smallest communities. We can achieve this by connecting our state with the high-speed internet that our 21st century economy requires. By partnering with institutions like SDSM&T, SDSU, and DSU that are developing cutting edge technologies in this space, we will modernize four areas of critical technological infrastructure: broadband access, education, telemedicine, and precision agriculture.

Businesses of all sizes will benefit from improved internet capability, and it will better connect rural communities to the products and services they need. The experience of students and teachers in distance education, dual credit, and hybrid classes will be enhanced. Doctors will have better access to patients who live far from hospitals. Our farmers will be able to invest in the most advanced tools and implements that raise yields and profits. Together with industry and community leaders, we can bridge the digital divide and give hometowns large and small the technological environment they need to thrive.

4. Economic Development Roundtables

I will establish Economic Development Roundtables with mayors, county commissioners, and business leaders across the state to build a strong partnership that will help our communities and state grow and thrive. Strengthening our communities and our economy is going to take a collaborative effort between the state, local governments, educational institutions, and the private sector. It also requires a leader to listen to the communities and their leaders. I will hold a Mayor’s Roundtable, a County Commissioner’s Roundtable and a Business Leader’s Roundtable on a regular basis. The Business Leaders Roundtable will include chambers of commerce, economic development corporations, business owners and others. We will discuss economic development opportunities, workforce challenges, reducing regulations, improving affordable housing, planning, zoning, and more.

No matter the challenge, I will work with our partners to identify feasible solutions and make them a reality. South Dakotans should expect nothing less of their new governor.

5. Infrastructure & Affordable Housing

One of our biggest impediments to development and future growth in this great state is a lack of infrastructure. Cities and counties have limited resources to develop the necessary roads, water and sewer systems to attract or accommodate a new or existing employer. Investing in infrastructure is one of the best investments our local governments can make. This investment pays dividends for generations to come. The courage of our previous local and state leaders and their commitment to infrastructure directly resulted in the growth and jobs we experience today. The state needs to be a strong partner with our local communities in helping identify resources to offset these expenses to keep our taxes and user fees low. Whether these resources involve promoting regional infrastructure facilities, or making sure state government stays out of the way, I will be the champion for investing in South Dakota. As the State’s Chief Executive Officer, I will position the State for shovel ready projects!

As I tour communities across the state, I consistently hear about an affordable housing shortage. Keeping our kids in South Dakota starts with finding and providing affordable housing. Over 1,700 families have benefited from the Housing Opportunity Fund, and those investments can be found in every county of the state. I am committed to continuing these important efforts and creating private-public partnership in building South Dakota.

As your attorney general, I have fought to bring millions of dollars under the National Mortgage Litigation Settlement to South Dakota. These vital funds have been directed to non-profits, South Dakota Home Builders, South Dakota Housing Development Authority and other entities across the state which helped provide affordable housing. I will continue to fight for additional funds to partner with these organizations and bring more affordable housing to South Dakota to ensure that our kids continue to live and work here.

Our hometowns are the lifeblood of our state. They are the communities where we grew up, raised our children, and learned what it really means to be a South Dakotan. As we continue to strive for a new era of economic growth, I firmly believe that our Hometown South Dakota Initiative is a step toward a brighter and more prosperous future.