Another harvest has come and gone, but two new members of South Dakota’s House of Representatives have risen from the soil and will contribute to District 17 and the state for the next two years.
Democrat Ray Ring and Republican Nancy Rasmussen were elected into the state House of Representatives for District 17 Tuesday night with Marion Sorlien, also a Democrat, tagging close behind.
The three candidates supported mutual issues like education reform in and Medicaid. However, Ring said his close ties with the University of South Dakota and the Vermillion community helped to elevate his chances, while Rasmussen said she relied on her history within the Republican Party.
Celebrating the victory at Leo’s Pub in downtown Vermillion, Ring was surrounded by his wife and several USD students, who presented him with a large vanilla cake decorated with red icing. Humble and reserved, Ring talked about his expectations for the upcoming years and his perspective on the election as a whole.
“In terms of the education, we need more money at the state level,” Ring said. “We must raise the salaries for all teachers. We also need to pay attention to Medicaid, but without the 1 percent (sales tax increase), it will be difficult.”
Rasmussen spent her evening with family in Sioux Falls. Having been involved with the Republican Party for years, Rasmussen said her history with the party and her family’s support greatly influenced the outcome of the election.
“Overall this was a great election,” Rasmussen said. “We started very early and had the opportunity to meet lots of great people. I’m looking forward to working with (Ring). He’s very knowledgeable and kind. It’s a good match.”
Trey Hiddelson, a Vermillion resident, said the election turned out the way it was supposed to, even though he hoped for something else.
“I was in favor of Marion (Sorlien), but I don’t doubt these two will work together and do something great for us all,” Hiddelson said.
Marion Sorlien said she is planning to look for opportunities in the near future to volunteer and continue serving District 17, as well as South Dakota.
“I worked really hard, but a lot of it has to do with party affiliation,” Sorlien said.