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Decision 2020: Interview with Dan Ahlers, Democratic candidate for US Senate in South Dakota

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Dan Ahlers

(KTIV) -- The election is next week and KTIV is continuing its interviews with candidates for U.S. House and U.S. Senate in all three Siouxland states.

KTIV interviewed the candidates for U.S. Senate in South Dakota, Democrat Dan Ahlers and Republican incumbent Mike Rounds.

KTIV's Matt Breen talked with former South Dakota lawmaker Dan Ahlers to learn more about his campaign. You can read the full interview below:

"Dan Ahlers, in one of your campaign ads, you say, 'together we can build an America that works for everyone'," said Matt Breen. "Give me an example of a segment of society that America isn't working for, and how you would address that if elected?"

"I think, in South Dakota, one of the big things is... and I think it's this way across this country... are our Native American reservations," said Dan Ahlers, (D) U.S. Senate Candidate "My experience in the state legislature is that we pass laws that impact Native Americans, but we don't really engage in a conversation that involves them in the process. And, then we're stunned when they're angry and all of a sudden, they're protesting, or they're showing up at the capitol and they're angry with us. So, I think in Washington we've broken our treaty promises to the Native Americans across this country for a long time. I would be there to be a voice for them, to listen to them, and start the dialogue, and start bridging that gap. "

"Health care is an issue for Americans all across this country," said Breen. " But, the Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. How would you replace the Affordable Care Act if it is ruled unconstitutional?

"Right away we would have to have legislation as a stopgap that would provide Americans with preexisting conditions with health care coverage," said Ahlers. "I think that's essential. A ruling, like that, would be devastating for millions of Americans. I know that it is an important component to the president, I know it's important to a lot of members of Congress. But, for many Americans, it's a way to have the access they wouldn't normally have. One of my best friends spent his childhood dealing with, and coping with, diabetes because his parents couldn't always afford to buy the insulin they needed. And, health care wouldn't cover it. He's spent the last ten years on dialysis. The preventive care he would have had had the ACA been in place when he was a kid would have prevented this from ever happening."

"You've been a business owner, state lawmaker, and substitute teacher," said Breen. "How does your experience in the public and private sector benefit South Dakota if you're elected to the United States Senate?"

"In the private sector as a small business owner, as a community leader, and as a substitute teacher, you have a perspective not only of what's going on in your hometown, in your business community but also what your customers want," said Ahlers. "And, really, as an elected official, they're your customers. They've come in and they're asking you to fill a need. And, if you're a good listener, you can do that. So, I think that prepares you and gets your mind in the right place to really remember what your job is when you go to Washington, D.C., or whether you're a state legislator. Your job is to serve the public. My job, as a state legislator, on the appropriations committee, as part of the executive board... I've been on the governor's Mental Health Taskforce. I have a wide range of experience there being an appropriator. You get to touch all pieces of state government. You are also working with programs from the federal level. So, I have intricate knowledge of how those two mesh, and I think that could be a real asset to the people of South Dakota."

"Dan Ahlers, candidate for U.S. Senate in South Dakota, best of luck on election day," said Breen.

"Thank you very much," said Ahlers.

"Thank you," said Breen.

You can watch Rounds' interview here.

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