Billie Sutton, South Dakota Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate, visited the USD campus and Vermillion community Wednesday afternoon.
Sutton met students and community members by the Muenster University Center (MUC) pit and discussed his campaign and the issues that he cares about.
Sutton said the campaign is going well and has gained momentum.
“I think it’s been going pretty well. We kicked off the campaign with a listening tour, I feel like that’s when our momentum really started because we really tapped into some people who want to be heard,” Sutton said. “I think a lot of politicians do a lot of talking and not a lot of listening, and ever since then we’ve continued to see a lot of momentum throughout this race.”
Coming to Vermillion before the election was important, Sutton said.
“We’re hitting all across the state but it’s just important for us to get to as many places as possible in the last week, and we just want to keep getting out there, meeting South Dakotans and getting them to know me and building trust,” he said.
Higher education is ones of the campaign’s focuses, Sutton said.
“I think it’s really important. I mean our students are the future of South Dakota, and we want to provide opportunities for them here, good paying jobs, being able to raise a family here in you know what I consider the greatest state in the nation,” he said. “We need to be able to show them that but give them opportunities to stay right here.”
Sutton said that he is running for governor to bring South Dakotans together.
“I think we have more in common than not as South Dakotans, and we need to come together. I’m a leader that’s shown that I can bring people together around our shared values like honesty, integrity and hard-work. I’ve also shown that I will show up for South Dakota everyday,” he said. “I’m not a Washington politician, I’m just an everyday South Dakotan that wants to work for a stronger South Dakota and that’s what I’ll do as governor.”
Tyler Wenande, a senior economics and political science major, said it was nice to have Sutton come to campus to speak to students.
“It’s really great. A lot of politicians they might not be interested in young people because they don’t know what they’re voting for, they might not be interested in campus because (there is) a lot of kids from out of state but it’s really nice to see Billie get on campus (and) talk about South Dakota issues (with) South Dakota students,” Wenande said.
Wenande said Sutton cares about issues affecting students such as higher education.
“He cares so much about things like the cost of higher education, so it’s great to see him especially to come onto campus. You know he held an event in Vermillion right before he came to campus, he’ll be in Yankton later today so it’s really great to see him stop on campus just for the students,” Wenande said.
Courtney Gould, a senior political science major, said she believes Sutton cares about the people he serves.
“I think it’s cool that he’s actually going across the whole state the week before the election, especially because he could be using his time more to like fundraise instead of just meeting people,” Gould said. “I think it shows that he actually cares about the people and not the position for himself.”