Governor Candidate Scott Munsterman's Vision for South Dakota (audio)
Dakota Digest - 05/26/2010
By Eryn Clement
Scott Munsterman is one of five Republican gubernatorial candidates running for the nomination in the June 8th primary. Munsterman is no stranger to budgets, jobs and leadership. After running a small business and serving two-terms as the Brookings mayor; Munsterman says he's ready to take on a new role as the Governor of South Dakota.
As the Republican primary approaches, Scott Munsterman is doing all he can to connect with South Dakotans.
Twenty-three years ago, Munsterman and his wife moved to Brookings with the hopes of settling down and starting a chiropractic practice. Over the years, Munsterman has ran his own clinic and has served as a city council member and mayor for six years.
It was that role as mayor that gave Munsterman the desire to run for governor. He says he can't shake the desire to run for higher office. Right before he was going to announce his bid, his wife Mary Jeanne was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.
“I just mentioned to my daughters that it looks like we better just put everything on hold and really focus on this and they said, well what a minute not necessarily. And so we left that alone for a few days and we came back to it after we all had a change to think about it and pray about it. And we really felt at peace about moving forward and running for governor so it was a really crazy thing to do when I look back but we stepped out in faith quite frankly to do that,” says Munsterman. “Well it was after Mary Jeanne’s third chemo treatment that they redid the PET scan and her cancer was completely gone. It had left her liver, it had left her bone and they were just like, this doesn’t happen.”
Relieved that Mary Jeanne’s cancer was gone, Munsterman began to really examine his vision for South Dakota. He reviewed research he had conducted that exposes what some South Dakotans want from the next governor.
“I wanted to know how I would lead and what I would do and obviously I had my own opinions but I went and I interviewed over a hundred and fifty different people during the course of that time to get their thoughts and their opinions and it was about the last dozen people that I talked to that I had review what I called policy briefs and they said two things. Number one Scott we want you to run for governor and number two you need to publish this as a book so everybody can read it,” says Munsterman.
Last June, Munsterman published his book titled, A Vision for South Dakota. In the book Munsterman summarizes his views on issues such as the future of the economy, healthcare and fiscal responsibility.
“I outlined in my book ten goals and there's action steps with those goals. A couple of high points, number one is that we do need to get our state back to a position of financial strength. It’s going to be very critical, it is foundational to the future of our state so that we can be in a position to make investments in the future,” says Munsterman. “Secondly is I believe we need to reengineer our education system and create more quality and rigor in our education system.”
Munsterman says his vision for South Dakota is to develop a statewide economic plan that all communities can participate in. He wants to see more growing from within and building with the resources that the state already has.
I truly believe that, that will give us the natural competitive advantage that we need in the global economy that we have and that we’re faced with today,” says Munsterman.
Munsterman has traveled over 80,000 miles and he says he'll continue visiting as many places as he can. He says he wants to build strong rapport with state residents. Munsterman says his role as the former Brookings mayor gives him several advantages if he becomes governor.
“It’s just a strength of mine to be able to see where we need to go and then who we need to bring on board in order to reach that goal. Those are things I spent a lot of time with as mayor. Working with the regional smaller communities around Brookings and then as well working with 17 different communities and entities along the I-29 corridor to help grow new and better jobs,” says Munsterman. “But as a mayor you have that full perspective and that comprehensive view, you have a lot of weight on your shoulders. We have hard decisions to make for this state from the budget perspective to where we’re going in the future of this state and I’m ready to make those decisions.”
Munsterman says taxpayers are his priority. He says he required accountability in the Brookings city government and expects the same from the state government.
“The bottom line is that how we use those taxpayer dollars I expect to know how the outcome is going to be and I expect to be able to tell that to somebody. And right now in state government we have no measuring whatsoever as to the return on investment for the taxpayers of this state,” says Munsterman. “And we need to be able to outline that and we need to be able to show that, that brings accountability into state government. We watch the dollars, we see how they perform and if they don’t do what we expected them to do then we change the plan. That’s the type of accountability that I’ll put in first in putting the taxpayer first, that’s just how I’ll approach every single way that we spend our money.”
Munsterman says he knows every second counts in the next couple of weeks before the Republican primary. He says he is prepared to lead the state towards solutions to move South Dakota and the people successfully into the future.
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