District 35 Senator seeking another term, committed to lowering taxes, protecting quality education based on the Constitution, gun rights, and the unborn Jessica Castleberry of District 35 (Rapid Valley, Box Elder, and northeastern Rapid City) has announced her intention to seek re-election for the South Dakota State Senate. In 2020-2022 Jessica tackled many subjects that affect quality of life and protect South Dakotans. She not only served on the Senate Taxation Committee, voting against several tax increases, she also prime sponsored HB 1039, the Grassland Tax Relief Bill to help ranchers, and HB 1253 to provide an assessment freeze on property taxes for the elderly and disabled. Jessica took on quality education as the prime Senate sponsor for HB 1012, a bill to protect students and teachers in our institutions of higher education from being forced to endorse the divisive concepts behind Critical Race Theory. Jessica is dedicated to fighting for freedom and the Constitution. Speaking with Epoch Times, in an article covered in 27 countries, Jessica said, "It is very easy to live in a free country and decide you want to be a Communist. It is impossible to live in a Communist country and decide you want to be free." Serving as the Senate vice-chair of Transportation, Jessica secured $20 million to rehabilitate the railroad from Fort Pierre to Rapid City, which helped South Dakota leverage $64 million more in funding to support our rail line and economy. Also vice-chair of Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Jessica played a significant role in securing funding for the Liberty Center which will directly support the B21 mission at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Upholding the Second Amendment to protect our freedom is paramount to Jessica; she promoted over a dozen bills to protect law-abiding gun owners, prime sponsoring four. There were also several efforts to protect the vulnerable, abused, and unborn, prime sponsoring legislation to prohibit threats of coercion of abortion and to provide information to grieving families regarding perinatal hospice, among several other potentially life-saving pieces of legislation. Jessica has volunteered, donated, and participated in dozens of community events. Whether in a parade, at a festival, or attending meetings and fundraisers, Jessica is involved and available to the community. A lifetime resident of Rapid City, Jessica is an award-winning business owner. She was awarded SD CEO's Young Enterprising Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016 and the Small Business Administration's South Dakota Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year Award in 2018. She's a graduate of Leadership Rapid City, Leadership South Dakota, and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. In addition, Jessica was the only legislator in South Dakota selected for three national leadership programs in 2021, the National Council of State Legislatures Emerging Leader Program, the Leadership Institute, and the State Emerging Legislative Leaders Foundation Program. Jessica believes in her oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and of South Dakota, fiscal responsibility, limited government, our right to protect ourselves as citizens of the United States, and the rights of all Americans to pursue happiness. She feels we can rise above ugly politics and do what's best for our state through decorum, honesty, skilled and passionate debate, and hard work. Jessica has been proud for the opportunity to represent District 35 in the South Dakota Senate and looks forward to facing new challenges ahead with conviction and grit.
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