“Dusty Johnson has all it takes in the photogenics department.”

Well, I’ve never heard that before.

I’m used to being described with different terms, like “policy wonk” or “solutions-focused.” When John Tsitrian’s recent column in the Journal described me as “huggable” and “endearing,” I barely recognized myself.

While I appreciate John’s coverage of my campaign for United States Congress, I did want readers to understand there is more to me than the “optimism” and “boy next door” qualities he described.

We are living in serious times, and South Dakota deserves a member of Congress with the South Dakota values needed to represent our state well. Citizens learned about my views and stances during my six years as a state Public Utilities commissioner. More recently though, I’ve released video position statements and online posts outlining my views on the Second Amendment, federalism, private sector job creation, tax reform, net neutrality, the future of Social Security, sexual harassment and the president’s agenda.

I’ve touched on other issues in interviews conducted by the Rapid City Journal, including the drought, the culture of Washington, D.C., and how we should reform health care. Apparently, John missed all that.

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South Dakotans don’t vote based on who is more “photogenic.” I’m grateful for that, because most wouldn’t find me (and my slender frame, thinning hair and glasses) all that attractive.

Instead, most South Dakotans vote for the candidate they feel shares their values, will fight for their interests, and who has vision and passion for improving our nation. If that (and being huggable) is what it takes to do the job, I’m ready to get to work.

Dusty Johnson is a former chief of staff to the governor and Public Utilities commissioner. He is now a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.

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