State Representative Jon Hansen (R-Dell Rapids) is coming to the end of his first term in the legislature, and while spending his first year listening and learning, showed that he doesn’t always follow the pack, and in many ways is distinguishing himself as someone who isn’t just a warm body in the Legislature’s lower chamber.
Back in May, Hansen was arguably the most notable South Dakotan to lend his support to Republican Ron Paul in his candidacy for president, and as of late, popped up in the news again as he expressed concern over a $350 bill for public information research to see how much the city of Sioux Falls was spending on a particular law firm.
According to his website, Jon was born in Yankton, South Dakota where he lived until his family moved to Dell Rapids when he was in elementary school. Jon grew up in the Dell Rapids community and eventually graduated from Dell Rapids High School. After graduating, Jon worked his way through classes and obtained a degree in Business Administration.
Jon has played an active role in his community, including past service as president of the Dell Rapids Chamber of Commerce. While he was president, Jon led through tough budgetary times, making the necessary cuts to balance the budget without sacrificing the programs and events which promote local business. Jon also converted some chamber programs from money losing events to budget neutral events.
During his last year in the legislature, Jon assisted in balancing the state budget without raising taxes or taking from reserves, increased local control for school districts, and helped to reform election law.
So, without further ado, here’s 5 questions with Representative Jon Hansen:
1 ? Jon, You bucked the crowd in who you supported for president this year, by going out on a limb for Ron Paul. Is this a ?maverick streak? we’re seeing? Where might your issues diverge with those of legislative leadership or the party?
I wouldn’t read into my support of Ron Paul as being part of any “maverick streak,” nor do I really strive for any such “streak.” I don’t try to define myself – others do that for me whether I like it or not. I simply try to do what I think is right. My support of Ron Paul, at least from a state legislator?s standpoint, is based upon his understanding of the proper roles and balance of power between the federal and state government as set forth in Article 1 section 8 and the 10th amendment. Also, Paul’s economic stance (based on the school of Austrian Economics), his pro-life stance, I could go on, make him, in my view, a great candidate.
With that said, with Romney as our nominee, I will happily cast a vote for him over Obama.
As to your question about divergence with legislative leadership or the party: One would only have to look at my voting record from my last term to find that I didn’t always agree with my leadership – but that’s okay. At the risk of sounding cliche, I don’t focus on what my differences are with people, especially the people I work with. I would rather focus on what we agree on and get those things done for the state. If we disagree, that’s okay. If I’m on the right side of the truth, I?ll prevail in the end. If I’m not on the right side of the truth, then a disagreement will only help me to grow. I don?t try to lead or win people over by force, but rather by invitation. I believe that those who I disagree with on certain issues are also just trying to do what they believe is right. If I am right, I simply hope to change their mind.
2. What are the issues you believe people will find important in this fall’s legislative campaigns?
I think people will be concerned about the economy; their own and the state?s. I think people want low taxes, and, as an aside, therefore won?t vote to raise their own through a ballot measure. I also think South Dakota is a pro-life state and I hope they will vote to preserve a pro-life legislature.
3. You were in the Argus Leader recently concerned about the cost of obtaining public records. Do you think there should be a reasonable cost assessed for the production of such records, or should they be free?
I think the default position should be that the records be free. If the request made is extraordinary, I think it?s okay that a reasonable fee apply. Reasonable is the key word here. In the case you mentioned, the fee was $350. This is not how most would define reasonable. A fine balance has to be struck between the public having access to its own records, and any excessive time it might take to obtain some of them. No open, public record should be priced so high that the average person cannot afford to obtain it.
4. What other issues do you plan on tackling this next legislative session?
If re-elected, I look forward to continuing my work to increase openness in public institutions, better education, support agriculture, protect the innocent, promote life, and reduce the size and cost of government.
5. Any campaign strategy for November you can give us a hint on?
Get more votes 🙂
Jon – on behalf of the South Dakota War College Readers, thank you very much!