By Jasmine Snow, Sacajawea Scroll
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley took the stage during Thursday morning’s general assembly in Aalfs Auditorium Slagle Hall.
“You know, I love days like today because as I look out there, I truly see the future of South Dakota,” Jackley said.
His speech heavily stressed the importance of experiences and opportunities offered at the American Legion Auxiliary South Dakota Girls State program. He emphasized the importance of relationships made at Girls State and how they benefit delegates for the rest of their lives.
He also spoke about his own relationships at Boys State, South Dakota School of Mines and the University of South Dakota School of Law, which helped him during his campaign for governor.
Jackley said 93 percent of his campaign funds came from people within South Dakota. The other seven percent, he said, came from “friends who believe in” him but no longer live in the state.
“I joke about it sometimes,” Jackley said. “I say, ‘That seven percent that came out of state? Those are probably my high school classmates that moved out of state or those engineers that I went to engineering school with.’”
This was included in his main advice for delegates at Girls State.
“Appreciate the opportunity to learn more about South Dakota, to learn more about our government here,” Jackley said. “Build those relationships with fellow Girls Staters . . . It’s those friendships that I gained in 1986 that I still enjoy today. In fact, they’re even stronger now.”
Jackley made it clear what he thought one of the most important differences was between him and other candidates in reference to his run for South Dakota governor.
“This is a campaign by South Dakotans, for South Dakotans,” Jackley said.
Ultimately, Jackley had a simple answer as to why he was running for governor.
“The reason I’m running is just, simply, you,” he said.
During his time on stage, Jackley also talked about issues that were important to him, one of which was education.
He said he was in favor of raising teachers’ salaries and making education, especially secondary education, more affordable.
He was particularly in favor of the affordability of dual credits, recalling a promise he made to a single mother as Attorney General to keep education affordable.
“I thought it was amazing,” said Los Angeles Kaitlyn Slaba of Jackley’s speech. “I do really look up to him. What really spoke to me was what he said about the teachers.”
Jackley also spoke about his own academic journey, from his engineering degree to his law degree. He talked about how much he enjoyed his job and how “comfortable” his life was.
“But that thing that was missing in my life was really public service,” Jackley said, referencing the beginning of his career spent at a law firm in Rapid City.
He talked much about following “the path of service” and how important he felt it was to serve the people of South Dakota. At age 34, Jackley said he was given the opportunity to become South Dakota’s U.S. Attorney.
“I talk about ‘dare to follow your dreams,’ (but) life was pretty comfortable for me,” he said, referencing his career move from partner at his law firm to U.S. Attorney for South Dakota. “I reflect back on those days and I am so glad that I took a chance.”
He also talked about the importance of public health and safety, infrastructure and healthcare. Jackley laid out a three-point plan to keep schools safer. He also had a three-point plan for dealing with drugs and the opioid crisis.
“I thought he was a very good speaker. He definitely set out his views to us girls and (is) a very strong candidate for governor,” said Kelsi Nooney, a delegate from Seattle.
Other delegates enjoyed his speech, too, and found it to be informative.
“I thought it was really inspirational. Even though I didn’t align views with some of the things he said, I still respected his opinions. Overall, I thought he was a good speaker,” said Fatima Alemam, a delegate from Los Angeles.
South Dakota Attorney General Jackley discusses issues, run for governor with Girls State delegates