Dennis Martin Daugaard (born June 11, 1953) is an American attorney and politician who served as the 32nd governor of South Dakota from 2011 to 2019. A member of the Republican Party, he was the first chief executive of a U.S. state to be the child of deaf parents.[1][2][3] Before being elected governor, he was a lawyer, banker, development director for a nonprofit organization; he also served as a state senator from 1997 to 2003 and the 37th lieutenant governor of South Dakota from 2003 to 2011.

Dennis Daugaard
Daugaard in 2017
32nd Governor of South Dakota
In office
January 8, 2011 – January 5, 2019
LieutenantMatt Michels
Preceded byMike Rounds
Succeeded byKristi Noem
37th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota
In office
January 7, 2003 – January 8, 2011
GovernorMike Rounds
Preceded byCarole Hillard
Succeeded byMatt Michels
Member of the South Dakota Senate
from the 9th district
In office
January 7, 1997 – January 7, 2003
Preceded byMark E. Rogen
Succeeded byTom Dempster
Personal details
Dennis Martin Daugaard

(1953-06-11) June 11, 1953 (age 70)
Garretson, South Dakota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Linda Schmidt
(m. 1981)
EducationUniversity of South Dakota (BS)
Northwestern University (JD)

Background, education and family edit

Dennis Martin Daugaard was born in 1953 and raised on a family farm near Garretson, South Dakota, the son of Florence Margaret (Kennedy) and Raymond Victor Daugaard.[4] Both his parents were deaf. His paternal grandparents were immigrants from Denmark.[5] While Dennis Daugaard was growing up, his family's primary language at home was American Sign Language.[2] Daugaard went to a local one-room country school as a child. For high school, he had to go to the city of Dell Rapids; there he played the French horn. He graduated in 1971.[5]

Daugaard attended the University of South Dakota in Vermillion where he was advised by William O. Farber. He graduated from USD in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science in government and from Northwestern University School of Law in 1978.[5] Daugaard worked to pay his way through law school as an ASL interpreter, a bus driver, a law clerk and a security guard.[2]

Early career edit

Daugaard worked as an attorney in Chicago from 1978 to 1981 before returning to South Dakota. He married Linda Schmidt that year and they have three children:[5] Laura, who is married to Jay Mitchell; Sara, who is married to Tony Venhuizen; and Christopher, who is married to Emily Conway.[6]

Daugaard worked as an executive banker in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, from 1981 to 1990. He then worked for the Children's Home Society of South Dakota, as Development Director from 1990 to 2002 and Executive Director from 2002 to 2009.[5]

Daugaard's first entry into electoral politics came in 1996, when he was elected to the South Dakota State Senate as a Republican. He remained a state senator until he was elected the 37th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota in 2002 as the running mate of Governor Mike Rounds, a position he held for eight years.

Service as state senator edit

While serving in the state legislature, Daugaard said his priorities were helping children and the disabled, as well as reducing crime.[7]

South Dakota lieutenant governor edit

Daugaard was elected lieutenant governor in 2002 and reelected in 2006. As a lieutenant governor, he served as the President of the South Dakota Senate.[5] In addition, he served as the chair of the Workers' Compensation Advisory Council, which reviews and makes recommendations regarding South Dakota's worker compensation program.[citation needed] While lieutenant governor, Daugaard also fulfilled other duties assigned by the governor and delegated by the state constitution. He served as a member of a commission that dealt with state constitutional amendments and was chairman of a task force that considered options to reduce the number of South Dakotans lacking health insurance.[citation needed]

In 2009, Daugaard promoted legislation to establish the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority to promote and manage economic development in Rapid City and other areas surrounding Ellsworth Air Force Base in western South Dakota.[citation needed] He has also promoted the Honor Flight program, which honors World War II veterans.[7]

2010 and 2014 gubernatorial campaigns edit

Governor Dennis Daugaard is briefed on flood preparations

In 2010 Daugaard ran for the Republican nomination for governor. He won the primary election against several other candidates. Daugaard chose Matt Michels as his running mate. His campaign was led by his son-in-law Tony Venhuizen.

The Daugaard/Michels ticket beat Democratic nominees Scott Heidepriem and Ben Arndt by 61.5% to 38.5% in the November general election.[8] Daugaard was the first child of deaf adults to be elected governor of any state. During his campaign, he stressed that he has often promoted issues affecting the deaf and hard of hearing, and is sympathetic to their children, most of whom are hearing, as he is.[2]

Daugaard and Michels were reelected in 2014.

Daugaard administrations edit

In 2011, Daugaard established the first Office of Tribal Relations in his cabinet, appointing J.R. LaPlante (Cheyenne River Sioux) as its secretary. No other state government has such an office. LaPlante had a law practice in Vermillion, and had served as the "chief judge and court administrator for the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe in Fort Thompson. In addition, he had served as an administrative officer for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe."[9] He worked with Daugaard to build government-to-government working relationships on issues such as "housing, economic development, public safety, and human services."[9] He used mediation to resolve conflicts, for instance reaching agreement among state, county and tribal officials in Charles Mix County to recognize the Yankton Sioux's historical presence in highway signage.[9] In 2011, Daugaard appointed Dusty Johnson as his chief of staff. In 2014, he appointed his son-in-law and former campaign director Tony Venhuizen as his chief of staff.

According to a Morning Consult poll conducted from May through September 2016, Daugaard was the most popular governor of any U.S. state, with a 74% statewide approval rating.[10] In rankings published in July 2018, he was 5th most popular, with an approval rating of 61%.[11]

On October 23, 2018, Daugaard endorsed Kristi Noem for governor in the imminent election.[12]

Electoral history edit

South Dakota State Senate 9th District Election, 1996
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican  Dennis Daugaard 5,419 59.13
Democratic Mark Rogen (inc.) 3,746 40.87
South Dakota State Senate 9th District Election, 1998
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican  Dennis Daugaard (inc.) 4,581 62.38
Democratic Mark Anderson 2,763 37.62
South Dakota State Senate 9th District Election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican  Dennis Daugaard (inc.) 6,218 66.65
Democratic Donald Beaner 3,111 33.35
South Dakota Governor Republican Primary Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican  Dennis Daugaard 42,261 50.42
Republican Scott Munsterman 14,726 17.57
Republican Dave Knudson 13,218 15.77
Republican Gordon Howie 10,426 12.44
Republican Ken Knuppe 3,186 3.80
South Dakota Governor Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican  Dennis Daugaard 195,046 61.51
Democratic Scott Heidepriem 122,037 38.49
South Dakota Governor Republican Primary Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican  Dennis Daugaard (inc.) 60,017 80.87
Republican Lora Hubbel 14,196 19.13
South Dakota Governor Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican  Dennis Daugaard (inc.) 195,477 70.47
Democratic Susan Wismer 70,549 25.43
Independent Michael Myers 11,377 4.10

References edit

  1. ^ Schaffhauser, Erich (November 3, 2010). "Deaf Community Happy With Daugaard Win". Sioux Falls (S. Dakota) KELO-TV. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "First CODA becomes the Governor of South Dakota". Fookem and Bug. February 6, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  3. ^ "Gov to Speak at NAD (National Association of the Deaf) Conference". Deaf News Today. May 15, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  4. ^, Joel Ebert (March 5, 2014). "Governor has connection to audiology legislation".
  5. ^ a b c d e f "About Dennis" at South Dakota government website
  6. ^ Quinlan, John. "Sioux City hosts royal wedding of South Dakota". Sioux City Journal. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  7. ^ a b "About Dennis". South Dakota. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  8. ^ "The 2010 Results Maps". Politico.Com. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  9. ^ a b c Randy Dockendorf, "LaPlante Resigns As Sec. Of Tribal Relations", Yankton Press & Dakotan, 23 April 2014; accessed 17 August 2016
  10. ^ "Here Are America's Least (and Most) Popular Governors". Morning Consult. September 2016. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  11. ^ Easley, Cameron (July 25, 2018). "America's Most and Least Popular Governors -- July 2018". Morning Consult. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  12. ^ "Thune, Rounds, Daugaard, Jackley endorse Noem for governor" (23 October 2018) at

External links edit

Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota
2002, 2006
Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of South Dakota
2010, 2014
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mike Rounds
Governor of South Dakota
Succeeded by
Kristi Noem
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Senator Order of precedence of the United States
Within South Dakota
Succeeded byas Former Governor
Preceded byas Former Governor Order of precedence of the United States
Outside South Dakota
Succeeded byas Former Governor