Local Elections Matter
Local candidates reflect our values, ensure our freedoms, contribute to a better local way of life for all. Radically conservative policies may be useful for politicians seeking a national stage, but they don't work for growing economies and elevating working people to greater prosperity; they don't give us better health care; they don't provide better education for our kids; they don't create more equality and fairness. We need strong local candidates who can be trusted to reflect the will of the real people whom they support.
Local Elections Matter.
Congratulations to the Candidates for well run races
The members of the Rapid City community indicated there is lots of room for positive growth and the strength of believing in the Democratic values of family, strong neighbors, kindness, and investing in public education was fully supported.
Congratulations to Christine Stephenson for winning in Area 5 for Rapid City Area schools.
Special thank you to all of the volunteers and the contributors who gave of their time and extraordinary talent to produce exceptional races!
This is the beginning of something to continue to build on.
Rapid City Mayor
Laura and her husband Scott made Rapid City their home in 1996 mostly because of their love of the outdoors and desire to raise their family in a wholesome, small town feel environment. They have two daughters who will be graduating from Dakota State University in Madison where they are focusing on Cybersecurity and Cyber Leadership. Olivia specializes in Asian Affairs and Abigail specializes in Global Affairs.
Laura says her reason for running for Mayor of Rapid City is, “With the exponential growth occurring, I have a sense of responsibility to improve the municipal functions within our community. We have increased public safety concerns, a housing shortage, and significant strains on our critical infrastructure. We can only find solutions to these challenges by collaborative practices with local stakeholders and active engagement with our citizens. Over these past six years, I have demonstrated solid stewardship and sensible, reasoned judgment. I will continue to listen to our constituents in the next four years as Rapid City moves forward.”
Valeriah Big Eagle
Rapid City Common Council Ward 4
Valeriah Big Eagle, Wakan Wocekiye Win (Sacred Prayer Woman), is an enrolled member of the Ihanktonwan Oyate and currently serves on the Title VI Indian Education Parent Advisory Committee and the Indigenous Education Task Force for Rapid City Area Schools. She received both her Baccalaureate in Sociology and her Master of Education from South Dakota State University. In addition, she received her Doctor of Education in Education Leadership from the University of South Dakota, specializing in Adult & Higher Education Administration.
She understands the inequitable challenges that Indigenous students face in education systems due to lack of cultural understanding and systemic racism, especially if they are in settings with little support for their cultural identity. She studied healing-informed practices in education that support Indigenous students and hopes to influence programming and public policy initiatives to culturally support indigenous students, resulting in an increase of indigenous graduates from high school, college, and beyond.
Some of her accomplishments include being selected for Prairie Business Magazine’s “40 Under 40” Award, the F.O. Butler in Excellence for Community Service Award, and for serving as a 2020 Bush Fellow. She also participated in various leadership programs including: Leadership South Dakota, Native Nation Rebuilders, Rapid City Collective Impact Emerging Leaders, and Leadership Rapid City.
Rapid City Area Schools Area 4
Amy Sazue, Sicangu/Oglala Lakota, is the Executive Director of the Remembering the Children Memorial in Rapid City, South Dakota. Amy has almost 20 years of experience working with Native American nonprofits in and around the Black Hills region of South Dakota, primarily focusing on work with Indigenous youth. Her work with Native nonprofits has been informed by her experience growing up on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations and then residing in Rapid City for the last 20 years where she is raising her four children alongside husband, Tracy.
Amy is an active and engaged community member and advocate for equity in the Rapid City community and continually seeks opportunities and collaborations that contribute to a just and equitable community. She is currently a commissioner for the Rapid City Community Relations Commission and a board member of the Rapid City Public School Foundation and the Rapid City Arts Council. Amy holds 3 Associates degrees in Early Childhood Education from Bay Mills Community College, a Bachelors in Education from Oglala Lakota College, a Certified Fund Raising Manager (CFRM) graduate certificate from the Indiana University Lily School of Philanthropy, and is working to complete a Masters in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Arizona State University.
Amy is a current candidate for the Rapid City Area Schools Board of Education for Area 4, which is the north side of Rapid City. Amy is a proud homeowner in Sioux Addition, a community she worked in for almost a decade, that has a complex history related to the Native American community.
RCAS Area 5
SCHOOLS ARE OUR GREATEST INVESTMENT
Christine was born and raised in Rapid City. She graduated from Georgetown University with a BSLA in French and English, then the University of South Dakota as a doctor of physical therapy in 2008. She has worked at LifeScape as a PT since 2008. She and her husband, Hans, own Dakota Angler and Outfitter. They have two daughters, ages 5 and 13, one who attends RCAS and another who will be a student in the district this fall.
“This district has the talent and potential to be the best school district in the region. But it needs a school board that believes in the power and promise of public education above all else. We can’t let ourselves get distracted by politics and hot-button issues. Our first commitment should be to our children. The biggest issue is making sure our kids graduate with the skills they need to be successful and responsible adults who can help our community thrive.”
Rapid City Council
Jerry Long, is a local business owner, running for the Rapid City Common Council Ward 1 seat currently held by Pat Jones.
Jerry is well known in the community as a reliable businessman, he is the owner of Jerry's Computer Repair.
He served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 20 years and retired as a Master Sergeant. During his military career, he served in the Persian Gulf, Norton Air Force Base, and Ellsworth AFB. After retiring, he attended Western Dakota Tech, where he earned an associate's degree in computer networking and graduated with honors.
Jerry says he's running for council because he likes to help people and because he's a fiscal conservative that wants to make sure local tax dollars are spent carefully.
"We need smart growth that protects our environment and the beauty of our surroundings," Long said. "If I’m on the City Council, I’ll work for a balance that protects our community as a great place to live." He has lived in Rapid City since 1993 and is married to Evanthea Georgas-Long. He is a crypto and coin collector and a self-proclaimed "technology-friendly" candidate. Long is also a life member of the Disabled American Veterans and Retired Enlisted Association. Some of his interests include fly fishing and hiking in the Black Hills.