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Native Sun News: Pine Ridge man seeks 3rd term in S.D. House

Oglala Lakota Kevin Killer hopes to keep hold of his seat in the South Dakota Legislature. PHOTO COURTESY/SOUTH DAKOTA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Pine Ridge man seeks third term in S.D. House
Killer vies against two others for seat held since 2009
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Staff Writer

PINE RIDGE — Kevin Killer, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and a resident of Pine Ridge, is hoping to successfully defend his seat in the South Dakota Legislature.

Killer, a Democrat who is currently serving his second term as a District 27 representative in South Dakota’s House of Representatives, hopes to continue the work he has done for tribes if re-elected. In the past, Killer has worked to bring attention to many of the issues regarding South Dakota’s large Native American population and has stressed the importance of having tribal members on the state Legislature to both advocate on behalf of Native Americans and to build relationships that he believes will pay dividends now and in the future for his district and tribe.

“It is important to have representation for our community at the state level of government, so that we can further advocate for the issues that are important to our community,” said Killer. “With this unique role in the statehouse, voters from District 27 have been able to have their voices heard at the tribal, state and federal levels. I hope to continue to build upon the great relationships I have built with the state Legislature and White House officials for the benefit of our community if re-elected.”

While serving in the South Dakota Legislature, Killer has been an effective member of the state’s Education Committee, a position that he sees as an opportunity to help Indian people. “ ... Our young people are going to be a vital piece of South Dakota’s economy, especially in rural areas, and it’s important that we provide them with every opportunity to succeed so they can help build and revitalize our own economy; we need a voice at this level to represent one of South Dakota’s fastest-growing populations.”

In addition to working hard on education issues he also sees economic development as one of the areas that he wants to promote in his district. With the nationwide push to end dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, Killer sees western South Dakota — and particularly his district — as a place where jobs and development have the opportunity to grow.

“District 27 is often referred to as the ‘Saudi Arabia of wind,’ and by building positive relationships at the tribal, federal and state level we will allow the opportunities that accompany wind energy to flourish for the benefit of all our community members,” he said. “Development in wind energy will help our district become an industry leader in the region.”

In addition to being a member of the Education Committee, Killer has also sat on the Judiciary Committee and the Legislature’s Native American Caucus as peacemaker and is a member of the State Agricultural and Rural Leaders Association.

In 2011, the South Dakota Legislature passed House Bill 1104, which limited the time a victim of sexual abuse could file civil suits to three years from the time an abuse victim was abused, or three years from the time a victim reasonably discovered they were harmed by the abuse. The bill also says that those who “had not reached the age of 40 could still file a suit.”

To many South Dakota constituents, the bill seemed to directly target Native Americans, who were victims of abuse during their time in church- and state-run boarding schools.

Killer — who voted against the bill — told Native Sun News: “I am definitely in favor of repealing the bill. Here is a bill that doesn’t really explore the history of the abuse that was going on. If you are going to think about any type of bill that pertains to any type of tragedy you would think that there would be a conversation with the aggrieved party — and that conversation never happened at all with this.”

Killer, Republican Elizabeth May and Independent Kathleen Ann are vying for the two seats in District 27 on Election Day, Nov. 6. Edward Iron Cloud III, who has served as a representative alongside Killer, chose not to seek re-election.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at

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