SIOUX FALLS -- A conservative state legislator who’s also a minister is teaming up with a liberal former Obama campaign honcho who owns a restaurant to take aim at the state’s payday loan industry.

Rep. Steve Hickey (R-Sioux Falls). Photo by Todd Epp

Wednesday, Republican state Representative Steve Hickey from Sioux Falls announced that he and former Obama campaign manager and Sioux Falls restaurateur Steve Hildebrand have formed South Dakotans for Responsible Lending.

Though they disagree on issues like same-sex marriage, they do agree on one thing: payday loans exploit South Dakota’s poor and elderly.

“We are planning, and have been planning, to bring this thing to the ballot in 2016,” Hickey said. “The polls are on our side, the people in South Dakota understand that 36 percent is enough interest rate for a person to make some money.”

In the 2014 legislative session, Hickey said he tried to work with representatives from the payday loan industry on regulations they could live with. However, when it came time to vote on the bill in committee, he says they pulled their support. This time, Hickey said, he and Hildebrand are taking on the payday loan industry directly through an initiated measure.

“We’re not going to go the regulation route. They had their chance to work with us and stay in business in South Dakota,” Hickey said. “Now we’re going to go for the interest rate cap. It’s been capped in a number of states and it wins at the ballot every single time. People understand that 400 percent is too high.”

Hickey made his comments Wednesday on KSOO-AM’s Viewpoint University program.