House District 30
Who is Bret Swanson
Bret is a third-generation South Dakotan. His paternal grandfather, Swanee, moved to Rapid City from Sweden in 1902. His father, Robert, graduated from Rapid City High School and South Dakota State University; his mother, Shirley, from Lead High School and SDSU.
A life-long educator, Bret taught at Knollwood Elementary School and North Elementary School, in Rapid City, before getting his master’s degree from the University of South Dakota. This led to opportunities at various colleges and universities, including two stints overseas, one in Cairo, Egypt, the other in Saudi Arabia.
Bret was elected to the Rapid City Area School Board in 2008, serving five years; and was on the board of the Humane Society of the Black Hills, president for one year.
Bret and his wife Jackie have four children and eleven grandchildren. He wants to help create a better South Dakota by representing District 30 in the South Dakota House of Representatives.
Why did you decide to run for office?
I wrote one too many letters to the editor, and someone called to ask me to run. I felt I had no choice. More than anything, I want to help fellow South Dakotans. The issue that has nagged me the most—that prompted a number of those letters—was the decision by the governor to reverse the will of the people on legalization of recreational marijuana. I also feel that regular working South Dakotans are exploited and need a living wage of at least $20/hour; and due process, ending right to fire laws.
What experiences have prepared you to serve South Dakotans?
Since 1991, I have been an educator. I have taught in elementary school, middle school, and a variety of colleges. To be a good teacher, you must be a good communicator and diplomat. For five years I was on the Rapid City Area Schools board of education, an excellent primer for any other political position.
If elected, what does Bret hope to accomplish for South Dakotans?
I would like to help implement a plan to collect and spend revenue from the sale of recreational cannabis. It would be nice to use some of that money to cover Medicaid expansion costs. I want to raise the minimum wage to $20/hour for adults working full-time.
Bret finds his foundations in truth, justice, and fairness.