Voters have a Right to See the Two Candidates Debate the Issues

Sioux Falls, SD — District 9 Senate Candidate Rob Wilson has challenged his opponent, Rep. Deb Peters, to a public debate after Peters skipped the forums sponsored by the Argus Leader Editorial Board and the League of Women Voters. The debate will be held at 5PM Friday, October 29th, in Sioux Falls at the MariCar Community Center, 400 N. Valley View Road. On October 14th, 2010, Wilson spoke with Peters to discuss the possibility of having a debate somewhere in the district. After trading calls and emails for over a week, Peters responded in an email October 24th that Friday the 29th would work, going so far as to say, “Anyway – if you still think you can pull off this debate, I will be there.” Wilson said, “Talking with voters throughout District 9 has made me realize just how much voters want to be heard when it comes to issues they care about. Voters in District 9 deserve to have a candid conversation with their candidates for State Senate. It would be a shame for voters to get cheated out of their chance to grill us side by side.”

I find this a little humorous, but not surprising. This is the normal game Republicans play when they are ahead in the polls, avoid confrontation. Why? Because they have no solutions, and they hate to be questioned about solving problems. Oh, and they are weasels.

I live in northeast Sioux Falls and am seeking the District 9 Senate seat currently held by Tom Dempster. To my knowledge, at 23 years old, I am the youngest candidate for public office in South Dakota.

In regard to my legislative priorities, I will fight to fully fund education in South Dakota, develop clean energy to make us a national leader, and provide greater accountability in Pierre through greater transparency. However, my agenda is much broader.

As the youngest candidate in the state, I want to bring more young people into the process, and show them how they can affect change themselves. I want them to understand the importance of voting and to realize that with indifference comes serious consequences. We are the ones who are inheriting this state and the problems that come with it – and although I intend to represent the interests of all of my constituents, I feel that those under 25 are especially underrepresented and need a strong voice in Pierre.

I believe that my generation has a different perspective than most public servants in Pierre – and in order for our state to thrive we need to embrace and incorporate the contributions and ideas that our young people have to offer. We need to start fostering the development of our future leaders and provide them with the opportunities to gain meaningful experiences.

I was fortunate enough to be elected (at 18 years old) to the Hurley City Council. I was then featured as ABC World News‘ “Person of the Week” – as one of the youngest people in the nation to get elected; highlighting the problems facing rural farming communities. A year later I was elected Mayor. That was one of the most challenging, difficult, and fulfilling experiences of my life. I learned so much – and it has given me the confidence to run for Senate today.

There’s a big difference between this election and my last: this time I have about 42 times more registered voters to reach. My predecessor raised around $52,000 for this seat – and we are expecting my opponent to far outspend us as well. Our plan is to outwork rather than outspend the opposition to earn the vote.

We contend that one can’t buy an election in South Dakota.

For this race, involving the young people of South Dakota is not just a goal but a necessity. We plan to reach all the voters of the district and to do that we need help. We don’t have the deep campaign coffers like others – but we have the will. We have a tremendous team, and we are working hard the earn victory in November.

I am out to prove that you don’t have to be rich to get elected – and that the underdog can win when willing to work hard for it.

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Rob Wilson