From the moment I learned about the profession of physical therapy, I knew I wanted to be one.
I'm a nerd about exercise, and I always wanted a profession that helped others live better. Working with kids, in particular, feels like something I was born to do. There's just something about helping kids reach their potential that really lights my fire.
As a pediatric PT, I've spent the last 14 years treating kids in their homes, in the clinic, and in schools across Western SD. I started as a generalist, helping kids learn to move independently (whether that's walking, crawling, or operating a wheelchair). As my career progressed, I became more specialized in prescribing wheelchairs, managing spasticity, and treating bowel and bladder dysfunction. If you have a kid suffering from chronic constipation, I'm your gal. So how does a pediatric physical therapist become a politician? Many of the kids I treat, I've treated for years. I've had the incredible honor of being a part of their family. I've entered their homes and seen what their challenges are. I've advocated for resources for them with schools and insurance companies and state agencies. At a certain point, I realized that I could do more for my patients (and their siblings and parents and grandparents and friends) by entering the political world than I could treating one kid at a time. South Dakota needs leaders who understand the challenges faced by South Dakota families. Frankly, I think our legislature could use some more physical therapists: people trained to listen, analyze challenges, and use their skills to make lives better. We have a lot of lawyers in the legislature, a lot of landlords and developers, a few insurance agents and accountants, and a handful of farmers and ranchers. They all have an important perspective. But we could use more leaders who work directly with kids and families.
So here's the good news: We can elect more of these leaders this year. We have excellent candidates for state legislature on the ballot across this state. And, in Jamie Smith, we have a terrific candidate for Governor. Jamie was a teacher before becoming a real estate agent, and his wife Kjerstin continues to teach while he is campaigning this year. We need him in the Governor's office!
Change starts this Friday, September 23rd, when early voting begins. Between September 23rd and October 24th, you can go down to the Pennington County Administration building, at 130 Kansas City Street, and register to vote and vote on the same day! Nothing makes me feel more patriotic than voting. I hope you feel the same, and that you get out to vote early.
Have a great week everybody! Don't give up!
Together we will take South Dakota back from the extremists and bring responsible leadership to state government.