After being elected earlier this month to be South Dakota’s next top cop, Attorney General-elect Jason Ravnsborg sat down with Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan to explain his history and what are his top priorities when taking office in January.
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Jason Ravnsborg’s new role has ties close to home.
The Cherokee, Iowa, native is the second person from his hometown who will act as South Dakota’s attorney general. The first, Royal Johnson, who served from 1911-1915, fought in World War I and helped found the American Legion through his work in Congress. The Veterans Administration hospital in Sioux Falls is named after him.
Ravnsborg, who won the job earlier this month in the general election, considers those good footsteps to follow in.
Once he formally begins his term as South Dakota attorney general Jan. 5, he will only be able to work in that role exclusively, putting a time crunch on wrapping up any outstanding cases he is involved with in South Dakota and Iowa.
“I’m trying diligently to wind everything down by the end of the year and make a smooth transition,” he said.
As far as experience goes, Ravnsborg is well-versed in army operations. A lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserves, he has been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany within the last 15 years and received a Bronze Star. He currently serves as a battalion commander overseeing approximately 1,000 soldiers in South Dakota and Nebraska.
“I believe that gives me a strong background to be attorney general,” he said, noting he will oversee about 200 people in various state offices, including the Department of Criminal Investigation and administration support staff.
A concern Ravnsborg shares with many is the amount of drug abuse among South Dakota residents.
He stated that he has seen his share of it through the court system.
“I think we need to have deterrents (for drug use),” he said, expressing support for ending presumptive probation. “There has to be a carrot-and-a-stick approach and right now, there isn’t much of a stick. I think we should give our prosecutors and our judges back their discretion, but I also believe there should be treatment.”
He cited tobacco, the Affordable Care Act and pro-life issues as other topics he wants to tackle during his tenure.