EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of profiles on the six candidates for Yankton City Commission. The municipal election is April 12.
FAMILY: My wife Kate and 3-year-old son Paxton
EDUCATION/OCCUPATION: Owner/Broker of The Move Group Real Estate
IF INCUMBENT, YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: 3 years
ANY OTHER GOVERNMENTAL/ORGANIZATIONAL EXPERIENCE: I volunteer as a member of the Avera Philanthropy Council and the Mount Marty Annual Giving Committee.
WEBSITE/FACEBOOK: Mason Schramm for Yankton City Commission
Yankton is a community on the move! Over the past three years on the City Commission, we have made important improvements to infrastructure, quality of life amenities, and expanded upon key community partnerships. I am running for re-election because I want to help continue the trend of positive momentum and help keep Yankton moving forward.
• As medical cannabis establishments begin to open in Yankton and the surrounding area, what will you be watching for as this becomes a reality in the community?
Medical cannabis has become a hot topic in South Dakota. Fortunately, over the past few years, the City Commission has been proactive to establish clear guidelines for dispensaries, obtain input from local law officials, and receive direction from other communities in states that have already implemented medical cannabis laws. I am pleased with the direction, and the precautions, we have implemented to be as ready as possible for medicinal cannabis. There will be some growing pains associated with the new dispensaries, but we are in a good place to adjust as needed to meet any update to state laws and help provide an alternative medicinal option for those prescribed to use cannabis as treatment for ailments.
• Housing — especially workforce housing — has been a major need in Yankton for years. What is the City Commission’s role in bringing new housing opportunities to Yankton and what can the city do to make sure it’s affordable?
Cities in South Dakota have several tools in the toolbox to help entice new development opportunities. Take the Westbrook Estates housing development from several years ago as an example. The city partnered with a developer to bring that project to fruition with the help of tax increment financing. Similar arrangements could be made with a future developer. The city can put stipulations on the types of housing and pricing to create an affordable option for our community. South Dakota legislature recently created a housing development fund that will be soon be available. Yankton can partner with District 3 and the State to apply for funding out of this new fund for a future affordable housing development.
• This year, the Legislature once again made headlines across the nation for considering legislation targeted at transgender youths (SB 46, HB 1005). In a time when Yankton is trying to attract more people from out-of-state, do you feel the state’s focus on social issues may harm or help this effort and how will you work to make sure that Yankton is a welcoming community for all?
I feel the state’s focus on social issues may harm our effort to attract a diverse workforce in Yankton. Workforce availability continues to be a major issue for employers. Any political action that targets and isolates a group of people would have a negative impact on employee recruitment and harm Yankton’s reputation as a welcoming community. To help offset some of the negativity surrounding political headlines, the City Commission should continue to promote the efforts of Connecting Cultures and like-minded civic groups. Like we currently do, the city should lead by example and continue demonstrating the ideals of an open and welcoming workplace.