Jason Ravnsborg

Jason Richard Ravnsborg[1] (born April 12, 1976) is an American attorney, combat veteran, and politician from the state of South Dakota. In 2018, he was elected Attorney General of South Dakota.

Jason Ravnsborg
JasonHeadshot.jpg
31st Attorney General of South Dakota
Assumed office
January 5, 2019
GovernorKristi Noem
Preceded byMarty Jackley
Personal details
Born (1976-04-12) April 12, 1976 (age 44)
Cherokee, Iowa, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of South Dakota (BS, MA, JD)
WebsiteCampaign website South Dakota Attorney General website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1996–present
RankUS-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/warsWar on Terror
 • Iraq Campaign
 • Afghanistan Campaign
AwardsBronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Bronze Star

Meritorious Service Medal ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Army Commendation Medal

Army Achievement Medal ribbon.svg Army Achievement Medal

Early life and educationEdit

Ravnsborg was born in Cherokee, Iowa and graduated from Cherokee Washington High School and the University of South Dakota[2] with a Bachelor of Science in history and political science.[3]

While in college, he participated in the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps program and received a commission as an Army transportation officer. Later, Ravnsborg attended the University of South Dakota School of Law, graduating with his Juris Doctor in 2001, as well as a Masters of Arts in history from the University of South Dakota.

Military careerEdit

Ravnsborg has had four company commands during his military career. He also deployed on three different occasions. He was deployed to Germany in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003, to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004, and to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal after coming under enemy fire in Iraq.[2] He has also been awarded other medals. In 2006, he was honored before Congress for his service.[4]He was a Battalion Commander of the 394th Combat Service Support Battalion commanding over 600 Soldiers in the four states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri.[5][6] He is currently a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserve.

Legal careerEdit

He is licensed to practice law in the states of South Dakota and Iowa as well as the federal district courts for South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Federal Court of Claims and the United States Supreme Court.[4]

Ravnsborg clerked from 2001 to 2004. In 2004, he joined the law firm of Harmelink and Fox in Yankton, South Dakota. In 2006, he became a partner at the law firm Harmelink, Fox & Ravnsborg in Yankton, South Dakota.[7] He remained at this position until his election as Attorney General of South Dakota. He also served as deputy state's attorney for Union County.[8]

Political careerEdit

2014 United States Senate electionEdit

Ravnsborg ran for the United States Senate in the 2014 election.[2] He lost in the primary election to Mike Rounds.

2018 South Dakota Attorney General electionEdit

In the 2018 election, Ravnsborg ran for Attorney General of South Dakota. He officially began his campaign on February 21, 2017, at the Hughes County Lincoln Day Dinner. During the campaign, he drove approximately 140,000 miles visiting each of South Dakota's 66 counties at least twice learning about issues that were important to law enforcement, state's attorneys and citizens.[citation needed] He then built his platform for the campaign from these issues and by proposing solutions to the issues mentioned around the state. He maintained his law practice at the law firm of Harmelink Fox and Ravnsborg in Yankton, South Dakota and continued being a Deputy States Attorney in Union County. He became the Battalion Commander of the 394th Combat Service Support Battalion based in Fremont, Nebraska where he oversaw 600 Soldiers in the four states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Missouri.[9]

On March 13, 2017, Chief Deputy Attorney General Charlie McGuigan was the second person to enter the race. On March 16, 2017, Lawrence County State's Attorney John Fitzgerald also entered the race.[10] On September 20, 2017, State Senator Lance Russell announced his run for Attorney General.[11] On March 16, 2018, McGuigan suspended his campaign prior to the nominating convention.[12]

On June 23, 2018, Ravnsborg won his party's nomination at the Republican Convention in Pierre, South Dakota, by defeating Fitzgerald and Russell.[13][14]

In the first round of Convention voting, Ravnsborg lead with 47% of the vote; Russell had 27%. Fitzgerald had 26% which eliminated Fitzgerald. Ravnsborg then defeated Russell by a margin of 63% to 37% in the second vote.[15]

 
2018 Attorney General Election Map by County; Ravnsborg=Red; Seiler=Blue

The Democratic party nominated former U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler, for the general election after he defeated Tatewin Means, daughter of the late actor, writer, Libertarian Party politician and American Indian Movement leader Russell Means.[16]

Ravnsborg was endorsed in the general election by forty county sheriffs,[17] the Fraternal Order of Police,[18] thirty state's attorneys, the National Rifle Association,[19] South Dakota Right to Life,[20] and the Family Heritage Alliance.[21]

Ravnsborg defeated Seiler in the November 6 general election.[22]

South Dakota Attorney General, General Election 2018[23]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jason Ravnsborg 179,071 55.16%
Democrat Randy Seiler 145,558 44.84%

Attorney General of South DakotaEdit

Trust caseEdit

Ravnsborg filed an amicus brief in support of the Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Trust in the United States Supreme Court in North Carolina Department of Revenue vs. the Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust[24] The states of Alaska, Nevada and Texas joined with South Dakota in their amicus brief. On June 21, 2019, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Trust, the position of Attorney General Ravnsborg and South Dakota, by a vote of 9–0.[25]

Combatting illegal robocallsEdit

  • Attorneys General of all 50 states, including Ravnsborg, support SB 151 (2019-2020), the TRACED (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence) sponsored by South Dakota U.S. Senator John Thune and Massachusetts U.S. Senator Ed Markey.[26] On May 23, 2019, the TRACED Act passed the U.S. Senate 97-1 [27] On December 4, 2019, the U.S. House passed the TRACED Act by a 417-3 vote.[28] On December 31, 2019, President Donald Trump signed the TRACED Act into law.[29]
  • On August 22, 2019, Ravnsborg joined his fellow Attorneys General by entering into an agreement with 12 phone companies[30] The agreement detailed 8 specific actions the companies agreed to take to curtail illegal robocalls.[31]
  • On May 7, 2020, Ravnsborg announced his continued efforts to combat illegal robocalls by stating he joined a bipartisan coalition of 52 Attorneys General from 49 states and 3 territories calling on U.S. Telecom and its Industry Traceback Group to bolster technological capabilities to improve enforcement against illegal robocallers.[32]

GunsEdit

Ravnsborg stated during the campaign he would fight to uphold the District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago decisions from the United States Supreme Court. He is a National Rifle Association life member.[33] Ravnsborg testified in support of SB 47, a bill to allow carrying of guns without a permit.[34] Governor Kristi Noem would sign the bill into law making South Dakota the 14th state to enact such a law.[35]

TransparencyEdit

As Ravnsborg campaigned he found many people did not know what the Attorney General did or what services could be provided. He stated in interviews that he would use social media and other campaign tools to be more transparent and explain to the public what the Attorney General's office does for the state. He developed a weekly YouTube video series that was called "What's New at the Attorney General's office" where each week a new video told what was going on in the office or what a particular person does in and for the office.[36] He then appeared on an episode of the South Dakota Public Broadcasting Television program "South Dakota Focus" with Stephanie Rissler where he took questions from citizens across the state.[37] From that episode he developed another YouTube video series "5 on Fridays with South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg" wherein he sought to address questions from the South Dakota Focus program and other topics around the office or through questions he received.[36]

National Association of Attorneys GeneralEdit

In 2019, Ravnsborg was named to the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Standing Committees regarding Consumer Protection; Energy and the Environment and the National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute (NAGTRI) Training Committee.[38] He was also named to the NAAG Special Committees regarding Federalism/Preemption; Gaming; Human Trafficking and Substance Abuse.[39] On August 13, 2019, it was announced Ravnsborg was appointed to the executive council for Special Olympics and Law Enforcement Torch Run(LETR).[40] On January 9, 2020, it was announced that Ravnsborg had been named Co-chair of the NAAG Gaming Committee with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.[41]

Death penaltyEdit

  • On February 7, 2019, Ravnsborg testified against SB 71, a bill to provide a severe mental illness exemption to the death penalty.[42] The bill was defeated in committee 4–3, but it smoked out of committee and was defeated by the state senate by a vote of 21−12.[42]
  • On June 25, 2019, Ravnsborg appeared in the 7th Circuit Court in Rapid City, Pennington County, South Dakota, to request a warrant of execution for Charles Russell Rhines for the 1992 murder of Donnivan Schaeffer.[43] Ravnsborg pointed out that Rhines has been challenging his case 5 years longer than Donnivan was alive.[43] Judge Robert A. Mandel granted the warrant of execution for the week of November 3, 2019 – November 9, 2019 stating there was "no legal reason to postpone it".[44] On October 25, 2019, Ravnsborg announced that the South Dakota Supreme Court had denied Rhines request for a stay of execution and ruled against Rhines with regard to his challenges to the Department of Corrections policies.[45] On October 25, 2019, Ravnsborg announced that a second appeal had been won by the state in the same day in the Rhines' capital punishment case. He announced the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals had dismissed a case regarding Rhines' request for evaluation by mental health providers for a petition of clemency to the governor.[46] On October 31, 2019, Ravnsborg announced that Judge Sogn of the 2nd Judicial Circuit had denied Rhines' request for a stay wherein Rhines sought a stay based on a challenge of the drugs used for the execution.[47] On November 4, 2019, the South Dakota Supreme Court denied Rhines' challenge to the 2nd Circuit decision, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied three late challenges allowing the execution to go forward. Rhines was pronounced dead at 7:39 pm.[48] After the execution, Ravnsborg addressed the media expressing sympathy for the victim and relief the execution was over.[49][50]

Rural broadband lawsuitEdit

On June 25, 2019, A group of legislators represented by John M. Fitzgerald sought a Writ of Prohibition seeking to stop Governor Noem from spending $5 million for rural broadband providers seeking to improve service. The State Supreme Court denied the writ of prohibition allowing the state to move forward with providing funding for rural broadband.[51]

Google investigationEdit

On September 9, 2019, Ravnsborg spoke outside the U.S. Supreme Court about the opening of a bipartisan antitrust investigation into Google by 50 state attorneys general.[52][53]

Investigation of Minnehaha County States AttorneyEdit

On September 18, 2019, Governor Kristi Noem requested that Ravnsborg investigate Minnehaha County States Attorney Aaron McGowan after a two-month absence.[54] On October 9, 2019, Governor Noem released Ravnsborg's report which explained that McGowan did not commit a crime, but outlined numerous alcohol-related incidents that Noem described as "unsettling".[55][56] After the report came out McGowan issued a statement apologizing to his family, colleagues, friends and the public for his behavior.[57] On December 2, 2019, McGowan announced he would be resigning effective December 6, 2019, citing complications with his knee and the on-going media buzz relating back to the report by Attorney General Ravnsborg.[58][59]

Lawsuit to block ERA ratificationEdit

On December 16, 2019, the States of Alabama, Louisiana and South Dakota sued to prevent the implementation of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[60]

Missing personsEdit

  • Ravnsborg introduced a bill, SB 27, to create a missing person clearinghouse.[61] On January 16, 2020, the Senate Judiciary committee passed SB 27, by a vote of 7–0.[62] On January 24, 2020, the State Senate approved SB 27, by a vote of 33-0.[63] The House approved the measure 66-0. [64] On March 18, 2020, Governor Kristi Noem signed SB 27 in to law.[65]
  • On July 16, 2020, Ravnsborg held a press conference announcing the Missing Persons Database, that provided a place for the public to review and look up current missing persons and Ravnsborg also announced the start of a new initiative "Missing Persons Monday SD" where he will highlight one missing persons case each Monday. [66] The first Missing Persons Monday SD then began on July 20, 2020. [67]

Faithless electors casesEdit

On April 8, 2020, Ravnsborg announced that he had formed a bipartisan coalition of 44 states and the District of Columbia which had filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court supporting the states of Colorado and Washington regarding the Electoral College and faithless electors in the cases of Chiafalo v. Washington and Colorado Department of State v. Baca. [68] Ravnsborg said "It is important that voters know their vote for president will count and everyone knows the status of the law before voting begins in the general election." [69] On May 13, 2020, the case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court via teleconference because of the COVID-19 pandemic. [70] On July 6, 2020, the United States Supreme Court in a unanimous decision stated that a state may penalize a "faithless elector" for breaking their pledge to vote for someone other than the Presidential candidate who won the state's popular vote. [71]

Meat Packing InvestigationEdit

On May 5, 2020, Ravnsborg announced that he and 11 other State Attorney Generals from the Midwest and West were calling for an investigation by U.S. Attorney General William Barr into the practice of the meatpacking industry. [72] Ravnsborg stated that there is a disparity between the prices for liveweight cattle and the retail cost of beef with 4 meat packers having control of approximately 80 percent of the cattle market. [73]

Expansion of Police AcademyEdit

On May 29, 2020, Ravnsborg announced that a second law enforcement training academy would be opening in Minnehaha County. [74] This second academy was praised by Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Burns who stated “Thank you to the Attorney General for his investment in public safety for the Sioux Falls area.” “The remote training program in Sioux Falls will help us to return our officer staffing to authorized strength levels and best serve and protect the people of our great city.” and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul Ten Haken who said “Public safety is essential to preserving our quality of life in Sioux Falls.” “Since coming into this office, my commitment to providing our police force the best training and the resources needed to preserve our quality of life in Sioux Falls has never wavered and thanks to this collaboration with the Attorney General we can better meet our recruitment and training needs for our growing city.” [75]

Presidential ElectorEdit

On June 20, 2020, at the Republican State Convention, Ravnsborg was elected to be one of South Dakota's three Republican Presidential Electors along with Governor Kristi Noem and Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden.[76]

Awards and decorationsEdit

  4 Overseas Service Bars
 |Combat Action Badge
 |Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
      Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
 |Joint Service Commendation Medal
 |Joint Service Achievement Medal
Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars
|Iraq Campaign Medal (with 1 Service Star)
  Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
  with silver Hourglass and "M" Device
  Army Service Ribbon
   Army Overseas Service Ribbon with bronze award numeral 2
NATO Medal for service with ISAF

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ a b c Montgomery, David (December 16, 2013). "Army reservist to run for U.S. Senate". Argusleader.com. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
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  4. ^ a b "Jason Ravnsborg's Biography; Community". atg.sd.gov. May 13, 2019. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  5. ^ Nielsen, Rob (June 28, 2018). "Making The Rounds | Community". yankton.net. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  6. ^ "South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg Hands over Army Reserve Battalion Command". wnax.com. September 18, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
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  60. ^ "3 states file lawsuit seeking to block ERA ratification". houstonchronicle.com. December 18, 219. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
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  71. ^ "Supreme Court unanimously sides with Colorado in faithless electors case". denverpost.com. July 6, 2020. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
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  73. ^ "AG Ravnsborg Joins Ten Others Calling for DOJ Investigation into Meatpacking Industry". May 5, 2020. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  74. ^ "South Dakota expanding police academy to help Sioux falls train more cops". May 29, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
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  76. ^ "Convention Results". southdakotagopconvention.com. June 20, 2020. Retrieved July 7, 2020.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Marty Jackley
Attorney General of South Dakota
2019–present
Incumbent