Gubernatorial Candidates Noem, Sutton Meet for Final Debate

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Business and community leaders in Sioux Falls learned where the major party candidates for governor stand on important issues.

In the final debate between Kristi Noem and Billie Sutton, the candidates covered a wide variety of topics from education, to agriculture, taxes, and the death penalty.

Noem and Sutton explained their plans, but did not attack each other’s positions. The two share some similar ideas like better preparing kids for jobs in South Dakota. They both spoke out against initiated measure 25, which would raise the tobacco tax to make tech school tuition cheaper.

Noem says for that issue, she wants to implement a longer-term solution and that overall, she can help South Dakota be more innovative and business-friendly.

“The vision that I have for how South Dakota can be proactive in taking care of people, in giving the correction education assets to our kids to prepare them for their futures and then how we bring the next big industry to our state to make sure that we’re creating opportunities for them to stay here and raise their children as well,” said Noem.

The candidates got to ask each other a question. Noem asked Sutton why he’s running as a Democrat if he talks about having conservative values. Sutton says he believes in fighting for the middle class, but that political party affiliation doesn’t matter to him, and that sets him apart.

“I work across the aisle to get things done, I chose a Republican as my running mate, I’ve done that work in the legislature and it’s important in this day and age that we can find common ground. That we have leaders who are going to bring us together and that’s why I do everyday and what I’ll continue to do as governor,” said Sutton.

The two candidates have stark differences in a couple of areas. Sutton does not support the death penalty, but says “it’s the law and you have to follow the law.”

Noem would sign a bill preventing transgender students from using the bathroom that doesn’t match their biological gender, but says accommodations could be made at the local level.

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