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Republican Candidate
District 12 State House

I'm Gary Schuster and I am a Republican running for the South Dakota House of Representatives in District 12.  I moved from the Portland, Oregon area to South Dakota late in 2017.  Oregon is a beautiful state with many natural wonders like the Columbia River Gorge, Cascade Mountain range and sandy beaches along the Pacific coast.  However, it has also developed a spendthrift, anti-liberty political culture.  Oregon has one of the highest income tax rates in the country.  Yet, even with all that tax revenue, the legislature and governor were always trying to raise taxes more to pay for an ever -growing list of social needs.  The City of Portland has a major problem with homelessness and also with antifa mobs that regularly closed city streets.  After we left, they laid siege to the Federal Courthouse for many months prior to the 2020 election.  The Portland police force did nothing to address any of these problems.  The Mayor of Portland seemed more beholden to progressive voters and the local antifa chapter than the citizens of Portland that wanted civil order--it was unreal.  I knew we were going to move after I retired.  It was just a question of where.


I wanted to live in a state with low taxes and a tradition of supporting liberty and individual rights.  I was also interested in investing in commercial real estate.  For that I wanted to be near a growing vibrant city.  A friend, who was raised in Sioux City suggested Sioux Falls.  I visited Sioux Falls and quickly decided that it was the place to live.  My wife was initially uncertain until we came here for a long weekend.  Kelly really liked all of the parks and bike trails and she soon fell in love with the idea of moving to Sioux Falls.   We purchased a house on Stratton Circle and have been living there ever since.  We love it here.  A few of the things that really attracted us to Sioux Falls was the low taxes, support for personal freedoms and a strong respect for law.  Having come from the Portland Oregon area, we know what it's like to be without these things.  As a legislator I will work to maintain our freedoms and low taxes both for Sioux Falls and the entire state of South Dakota.


I was raised on a farm near Pleasantville Iowa.  I attended Iowa State Univ and received a B.S. in Physics and then enrolled at the University of Illinois and received both an M.S and PhD in Metallurgical Engineering.  Later I picked up an MBA from the University of South Carolina and a Six Sigma Green Belt while working for Honeywell.  For the first half of my professional career I worked as a scientist/engineer.  The second half as a technical manager.  My employers included Owens Corning, GE, Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) and Honeywell.  The general objectives of my work were to develop new materials and identify better ways to manufacture and process them.


My political beliefs have evolved over time.  I have always been interested in finance and politics.  At an early age my father got me investing in the stock market.  I have continued to do that to the present.   Growing up on a farm meant that I was doing farm tasks at an early age.  I learned how hard it is to make money and the need to save and spend it wisely.  I've never forgot that.  I learned about finance through my MBA schooling and investing in the stock market.  The knowledge gained from my life experiences and education has made me  fiscally conservative.  I believe that government spending and taxes should be kept low. 


I have always enjoyed reading about history.  Among other things I've read about our nation's revolutionary war and the creation of our constitution.  The older I've gotten the more I understand and appreciate what the founding fathers did for our country.  I consider myself a constitutional originalist.  I believe that the Constitution is the most impactful political document ever written and it should be interpreted to mean as the founding fathers intended it to mean.


I recently decided to enter politics because the political direction and culture of our country needs to change.  I have never seen as much political polarization as we have now.  I came of age politically during the time of the Vietnam War.  Then, as now, there was a lot of tension in the country.  But back then it was focused on our involvement in that war.  Now the tension is between people that believe in personal responsibility and freedom versus people that believe the government should increasingly take care of our needs and tell us what we are allowed to do.  Trading our freedom for security is a poor trade. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, people that trade freedom for security will get neither.  History has shown that free-market societies, where people have the right to act on initiative and earn a profit, achieve much higher standards of living than those societies where the government controls the economy.   We should keep our markets free and our government small.  Our freedoms to speak, write, assemble, worship and bear arms are needed both because they allow us to do the things we want and because they are necessary to maintain our freedoms.  As a state legislator I will work to maintain the liberties and financial policies that have made South Dakota a great place to live.

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