Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of four articles featuring the four District 7 candidates for the South Dakota House of Representatives.
BROOKINGS – Larry Tidemann knows how to work with a small budget through bad economic times, and he wants to use that experience as District 7 representative.
Tidemann, a Republican, along with Republican Tim Reed and Democrats Bill Adamson and Louise Snodgrass are vying for two, two-year District 7 seats in the South Dakota House of Representatives. Early/absentee voting has already begun, and the general election is Nov. 3.
“I went through the big recession of 2008-9-10, and I served as chair of the Appropriations Committee at that time,” Tidemann said.
During his previous tenure in the Legislature, folks envied District 7 “because the people here are willing to try things, the people here are going to invest in the future and Brookings was growing immensely. We came out of the last recession quicker than most other cities across the country, and I think I see that happening again for Brookings.”
Tidemann has a long history of service.
He grew up on a dairy farm near Baltic, graduating from high school there before earning a bachelor’s degree in dairy science and manufacturing in 1970 and a master’s degree in dairy nutrition in 1972 from South Dakota State University.
He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1970.
“By the time I went in, (the Vietnam War) had dwindled down and so in 1973, I went to Officer Basic Training, then served in inactive reserves for eight years total,” Tidemann said. “I did not have to go to Vietnam.”
He was county Extension agent in Canton for 11 years, “then came back to Brookings in 1983.”
“My wife, Gail, and I have lived in Brookings all our married life,” Tidemann said. The couple have two adult sons.
“I’ve worked for about 33 years with the university and as county Extension agent,” Tidemann said. He worked with the 4-H program and livestock judging.
“As county Extension agent, of course, I worked with the farmers on production,” Tidemann said.
“I came up here to SDSU as program leader for ag and natural resources, so I did more of the training of the Extension agents and working with the specialists and developing the plan of work and the annual reports for Extension,” Tidemann said. “The last six years, I have served as the director of Co-op Extension and associate dean of agriculture.”
He would need those skills: after retiring in 2004, he ran for the state Legislature and served from 2005-2018; six in the House and eight in the Senate.
He’s served on the SDSU Research Park board (aka Growth Partnership Board) since 2004 and is corporate president of the Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Plains.
He thinks his experience can help guide the state through the COVID-19 recovery process, so “(I) felt I would put my name out there and see if the people agreed with me,” Tidemann said.
“We have to figure out how we’re going to deal with the pandemic with COVID-19 and how can we help businesses rebuild, how can we rebuild the economy of the state. We have to make sure that our youth are getting a good education,” Tidemann said.
He’s concerned about socialization opportunities for everyone from the elderly in care facilities who are locked down right down to the very youngest “because we can’t reach down and pick up the little child. That’s going to be something that’s going to be missing in the future and how do we replace that?”
Distance learning proved to be a challenge.
“I think there’s value in the students being brought back. It teaches social skills as well as the learning,” Tidemann said.
We have to invest in education to make sure students are ready to move on “to the next grade (and) that they’ve met the skills that are necessary to move forward,” he said.
Higher education is important because SDSU does more than teach, he said.
“They also have to develop the research and complete that research. My hope is that we can find a vaccine for COVID-19; that we then can help develop the process of administering that vaccine to the people of South Dakota,” Tidemann said.
District 7’s future is bright, he said.
“We have the resources available here to continue to grow” once the pandemic is controlled, Tidemann said.
“I think we need to look at the big picture” in the state, Tidemann said, asking “where can we build on the strengths and how can we minimize our weaknesses?”
One priority is to bring broadband internet to small communities and help bring back people to those less-populated places, he said.
“Serving as a state legislator – either in the House or in the Senate – is a very humbling experience. I feel very humbled to have been given the chance to have served the people of Brookings and the people of District 7 in the past years and I would welcome the opportunity to again represent them, to carry their message to Pierre to ensure that we do the things that are best for the state and our community,” Tidemann said.
Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]