Jamie Smith is a lifelong South Dakotan, husband, father, educator, deal-maker and legislator. Since 2017, Smith has served in the South Dakota House of Representatives, working alongside Augustana’s own Sen. Reynold Nesiba, D-Sioux Falls, to fight for policies that benefit South Dakotans from all walks of life. Smith should be South Dakota’s next governor.
The most important thing anybody needs to know about Jamie Smith, and what you can’t fail to realize when you’re in a room with him, is that he is simply a kind, down-to-earth guy.
If you walked in the Viking Days parade in a float ahead of his, you know exactly what I mean. There was not a float on 28th Street and Grange Avenue that he didn’t mingle with as he waited for his turn to walk. Smith regaled students with tales from his time walking in the parade as a student and reconnected with his former colleagues.
If you won’t take my word for this aspect of Smith, take the word of the state’s Republican House Speaker, Spencer Gosch, who said Smith is “just the kind of guy that everybody loves. When he talks to you, he really listens, and he really cares.”
That’s another thing about Smith; he truly embraces all South Dakotans, not just fellow Democrats.
SD Citizens for Liberty is a west-river organization that agrees with Jamie Smith on few, if any, policies. When invited by them to speak at a meeting, Smith did. He thought it important to listen and speak to this group because the governor governs all, not just those who agree with him.
At the end of the day, citizens “love their parents and kids just as much as I do,” Smith said.
Smith also embraces the most marginalized members of our community. During his time in Pierre, Smith has been a vigorous defender of LGBTQ+ folks and youth — for whom support and recognition can literally be a life-saving gesture — against mean-spirited and pointless attacks from our current governor, Kristi Noem, and other legislators.
As governor, Smith also hopes to embrace our state’s first residents: the Native American community. The bar on that issue isn’t very high. If he can go four years without getting banned from a reservation, he’ll be a better ally to our state’s Native American community than the current administration.
Smith would be a Democrat governor working alongside a supermajority Republican legislature, so it is absolutely crucial that Smith is a professional dealmaker. Smith’s experience as a realtor means that he knows that you don’t get the job done unless you are able match a seller and a buyer with distinct and sometimes opposing interests.
Leadership that prioritizes cooperation over division is exactly what Smith has brought to the legislature since 2017, and it’s exactly what he will bring to the office of governor.
In 2022 alone, Smith sponsored a number of bills that became law. A few examples of his 2022 work are a bill to provide a Medicaid reimbursement schedule for chiropractic, dental and optometric care, a bill to regulate delta-8 THC and a resolution to ask the governor to detail mitigation plans for the growing zebra mussel problem in our state’s waters. These are all certainly important but not exactly headline-grabbing or sexy. Most students probably haven’t heard of much of his work for just that reason.
The real headline-grabbers are the baseless attacks Noem has launched at Smith for supposedly supporting “CRT,” “boys in girls sports,” or the “wide open border.” I mean, seriously? Is she talking about the Canadian border? Mexico is 1,300 miles away.
Noem’s out-of-state advertising firm continues to falsely smear Smith on national wedge issues while she flies our state plane around the country to court extreme, out-of-state donors and foster her national political image.
Meanwhile, Smith is gearing up to represent the people of South Dakota with integrity. That will mean respecting the will of the people regarding the vote to adopt recreational marijuana (again). That will mean not using our state’s assets for personal or political gain. And that will mean embracing everyone in South Dakota to make this state work for all, as unsexy and non-headline-grabbing as that work will turn out to be.
Please join me in voting for Jamie Smith on Nov. 8.