Drewes doesn’t dread challenging incumbent

Drewes doesn't dread challenging incumbent by David Lias Pierre Mayor Gary Drewes realizes that in his bid for state treasurer, his opponent, Dick Butler, has an advantage because he's the incumbent.

He notes, however, that challenging an office-holder in an election certainly isn't a lost cause.

"I understand that incumbents have advantages," he said. "I've understood that as I've served as mayor of Pierre," he said. "The first time I ran, I ran against the incumbent, and was fortunate enough to win that particular race."

Drewes, a Republican, currently is serving his third term as Pierre's mayor.

Drewes, who was born and raised on a farm in Moody County and has a background in journalism and public relations, said he believes people shouldn't pass up an opportunity to run for public office.

"It's part of the American process," he said. "If we have an opportunity to run for election or to serve the public, I would like to see every seat challenged whether the incumbent has been doing a great job or not. It gives an opportunity for new ideas to flow; it gives the public an opportunity to become involved in the process."

In addition to serving the last eight years as the mayor of Pierre, Drewes has also worked the last 16 years as deputy to state auditor Vern Larson.

Drewes said the offices of the state auditor and state treasurer, and the governor's office of finance and management work together on the reconciliation of state accounts.

"With those three offices working together, accountability is provided to the citizens relative to the funds that the state does have," he said.

Drewes said he is disappointed with the performance of Butler, his opponent in November's general election.

"In my opinion, he has been a caretaker of the office and not really one who has tried to be innovative to bring about efficiencies to serve the citizens of the state," Drewes said of Butler. "His focus in his first campaign was the unclaimed property, and that has remained his focus throughout his term of office."

Drewes, like his opponent, doesn't agree with the gag law passed by the state Legislature. "I understand why they felt they needed to adopt the law in order to protect the businesses and citizens of the state, but at the same time we should have public officials that understand boundaries at which they can publicly criticize."

Drewes said he will continue to work toward appeal of the law. He added that he didn't favor the attempt to remove the unclaimed properties division from the state treasurer's office.

"I don't like to see any power removed from constitutional offices," he said.

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