Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of four articles featuring the four District 7 candidates for the South Dakota House of Representatives.
BROOKINGS – Louise Snodgrass wants change, and that’s why she’s running for District 7 representative.
Snodgrass, a Democrat, along with Democrat Bill Adamson and Republicans Tim Reed and Larry Tidemann 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.
“There is a lot of cultural legislation that takes time away from really important issues. I believe that we need to have a variety of representatives for Brookings that looks like Brookings,” she said.
“Our community is incredibly diverse,” Snodgrass said. “I’m not seeing that with our representatives. We need diversity, we need true representation, and that’s what my community is asking for.”
Snodgrass moved to Brookings as a young child in 2007 and graduated from Brookings High School. She attended South Dakota State University but dropped out for financial reasons.
“I am an extremely low-income individual. I come from a low-income family,” Snodgrass said.
The oldest of six children, her mom lives in Brookings and her father is a military veteran who is now a civilian contractor in Afghanistan.
Snodgrass started lifeguarding while in high school and has held various other jobs since. While at SDSU, she worked at the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum. While at Bozied’s gas station, Snodgrass helped set up the social media presence. She did the same while employed at Cottonwood Coffee.
“I love working in the service industry,” Snodgrass said.
While volunteering with Americorps, she built trails in Colorado.
“It was very character-building,” Snodgrass said. “I really believe that you can learn so much from life experience, too.”
When Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast, Snodgrass was sent to Beaumont, Texas, to set up the first operating base where she coordinated volunteers and ran logistics on supplies.
Snodgrass was asked to stay on, but she decided to come back to Brookings and Cottonwood Coffee.
“I want to build resiliency in my community,” she said.
She also took a job with the Brookings Farmers Market as market manager. She left Cottonwood Coffee and took jobs with Good Roots Farm and Gardens, The Carrot Seed Kitchen Co., and Honeycomb Gifts.
“I’m helping so many small businesses with their social media while also working in the field or in the store,” Snodgrass said.
She’s served on boards for the Brookings Commercial Kitchen, the co-op grocery store, Brookings Farmers Market, and Brookings Pride.
“I have a very creative mind and love to problem-solve, and love to make things work in new ways,” Snodgrass said.
What happens in the state government concerns her.
“Every January, I feel just baffled and exhausted,” she said. “How loud can our community … be before our state hears us?”
People started asking her to run for office
“When my community asks me to do something, I don’t take that lightly, and so I really started considering it and I’m running because I see a need and my community sees a need for change,” Snodgrass said.
She keeps up with the issues and talks to people constantly.
“I am from Brookings. I am a queer person. I would love to stand up for fellow queer Brookings citizens. I am also low-income. I would love to address housing affordability, food insecurity here in Brookings. I would love to address public transportation issues as well as health care and affordable education. I think that those are really important.”
Snodgrass said supporting educators and funding education at all levels is an immediate priority. Other important issues are poverty, affordable housing, and accessible and affordable health care.
“I think if we were to band together at the state level and expand that, I think we could really benefit a lot of people in Brookings,” Snodgrass said.
She thinks a compromise needs to be reached between the municipal utilities and rural electrical cooperatives “because that has been drawn out for the past two years at least, maybe even more.”
She sees District 7 as “a champion for change” and wants to bring that attitude to the state level because “what we do at the state level affects communities across the state,” Snodgrass said.
“They always vote no when it comes to anti-trans and anti-queer legislation, but to me I don’t think that just voting no is enough. I think we need to do some proactive measures in order to protect our communities from the hateful legislation even being brought up. I wish our legislators would use their voices to influence their fellow legislators to vote no.”
“In the past five years, state representatives have attempted to pass 19 anti-trans legislative bills. And it just takes away from conversations like municipal utilities and rural electric co-ops,” Snodgrass said.
She doesn’t think state legislators represent the population.
“We have a working class that is not accurately represented at the state level,” Snodgrass said.
“I am a listening leader, and I have proven that, that I am a listening and engaged and responsive community member and that’s what I think our qualifications should be,” she added.
Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]