Dennis Daugaard

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Dennis Daugaard
Photo of Gov. Dennis Daugaard.jpg
32nd Governor of South Dakota
Assumed office
January 8, 2011
Lieutenant Matt Michels
Preceded by Mike Rounds
37th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota
In office
January 7, 2003 – January 8, 2011
Governor Mike Rounds
Preceded by Carole Hillard
Succeeded by Matt Michels
Member of the South Dakota Senate
In office
Personal details
Born Dennis Martin Daugaard
(1953-06-11) June 11, 1953 (age 63)
Garretson, South Dakota, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Linda Daugaard
Residence Governor's Residence
Alma mater University of South Dakota (B.A.)
Northwestern University (J.D.)
Religion Lutheranism[1]

Dennis Martin Daugaard (pronounced DEW-guard; born June 11, 1953) is an American politician who has been the 32nd Governor of South Dakota since January 2011. Upon winning the 2010 South Dakota gubernatorial election, Daugaard became the first CODA governor in South Dakota history and the history of the United States.[2][3][4]

Background, education and family[edit]

Daugaard was born and raised on a family farm near Garretson, South Dakota, the son of Florence Margaret (Kennedy) and Raymond Victor Daugaard.[5][6] His parents were both deaf. His father's family descends from immigrants from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.[citation needed] While growing up, sign language was the main method of communication in his home.[citation needed] Daugaard went to a one-room country school as a child but then attended high school, in which he played the French horn, in the city of Dell Rapids and graduated in 1971.[citation needed]

Daugaard then attended the University of South Dakota in Vermillion where he was advised by William O. Farber. Professor Farber also advised former USD students Tom Brokaw and Al Neuharth.[citation needed] Daugaard graduated USD in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science in Government and went on to attend Northwestern University School of Law where he earned a Juris Doctor in 1978.[citation needed] Daugaard paid his way through law school, driving a bus through the downtown loop and working as a security guard.[citation needed]

After graduation, Daugaard worked as an attorney in Chicago, Illinois from 1978 to 1981, before returning to South Dakota.[citation needed] He then took a job as an executive banker in Sioux Falls, South Dakota from 1981 to 1990.[citation needed] He left the bank to become the Development Director for the Children's Home Society of South Dakota from 1990 to 2002 before becoming Executive Director from 2002 to 2009.[citation needed]

His first entry into politics came in 1997, when Daugaard was elected a South Dakota State Senator. In 2003, Daugaard became the 37th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota, a position he held from 2003 to 2011. Daugaard and his wife, Linda, have been married since 1981 and have three children: Laura, who is married to Jay Mitchell; Sara, who is married to Tony Venhuizen; and Christopher, who is married to Emily Conway.[citation needed]

Service as state senator[edit]

Daugaard served as a member of the South Dakota State Senate from 1997 to 2003. While serving in the state legislature, Daugaard claimed his focus was on helping children and the disabled as well as reducing crime.[7]

South Dakota lieutenant governor[edit]

He was elected in 2002 on a ticket with Governor Mike Rounds, and the two were re-elected in 2006. As a lieutenant governor under the South Dakota Constitution, Daugaard served as the President of the South Dakota Senate.[citation needed] 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 serving as lieutenant governor, Daugaard also fulfilled other duties as 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 state task force that considered options which would reduce the number of South Dakotans lacking health insurance coverage.[citation needed] In 2009, Daugaard promoted legislation to create the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority, which will promote economic development in Rapid City and other areas surrounding Ellsworth Air Force Base in western South Dakota.[citation needed] Daugaard 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

After serving two consecutive terms as lieutenant governor in the administration of South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds, Daugaard stepped forward to be a Republican gubernatorial nominee in 2010 and won the primary election against several other candidates. Daugaard chose Matt Michels to join his campaign as the lieutenant governor candidate. The Daugaard and Michels gubernatorial ticket beat Democratic rivals Scott Heidepriem and Ben Arndt by 61.5% to 38.5% in the November 2010 general election.[8]

Governor Daugaard and Lieutenant Governor Michels were re-elected in November 2014.

Electoral history[edit]

South Dakota State Senate 9th District Election, 1996
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dennis Daugaard 5,419 59.13
Democratic Mark Rogen 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 Hubbbel 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


  1. ^
  2. ^ Schaffhauser, Erich (November 3, 2010). "Deaf Community Happy With Daugaard Win". Sioux Falls (S. Dakota) KELO-TV. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  3. ^ "First CODA becomes the Governor of South Dakota". Fookem and Bug. February 6, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2012.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. ^ "Gov to Speak at NAD (National Association of the Deaf) Conference". Deaf News Today. May 15, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b "About Dennis". South Dakota. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ "The 2010 Results Maps". Politico.Com. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Carole Hillard
Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota
Succeeded by
Matt Michels
Preceded by
Mike Rounds
Governor of South Dakota
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joe Biden
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within South Dakota
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise Paul Ryan
as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jack Dalrymple
as Governor of North Dakota
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside South Dakota
Succeeded by
Steve Bullock
as Governor of Montana