Governor of South Dakota
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Governor of South Dakota
Governor of South Dakota
Kristi L. Noem 113th Congress.jpg
Kristi Noem

since January 5, 2019
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceThe Governor's Mansion (official)
Watertown, South Dakota (private)
Term lengthFour years, renewable once[1]
Inaugural holderArthur C. Mellette
FormationConstitution of South Dakota
Salary$118,728.04 [3]
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

The governor of South Dakota is the head of the executive branch of the government of the U.S. state of South Dakota.[4] The governor is elected to a four-year term in even years when there is no presidential election.[1] The current governor is Kristi Noem, a member of the Republican Party who took office on January 5, 2019.

Powers and duties

The governor holds many powers and duties, which in many ways are similar to those held by the President of the United States:[5]

  • The governor serves as a spokesperson for the state, promoting business and economic development interests.
  • The governor is actively involved in the legislative process;[6] they may introduce legislation, and have the power to veto bills passed by the legislature (though vetoes may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of each house).[7]
  • The governor oversees the executive branch, and appoints the cabinet members. The governor also appoints the members of a wide array of state boards and commissions.[6]
  • The governor is the commander-in-chief of the South Dakota National Guard.[6]
  • The governor may grant pardons to those convicted of criminal offenses under state law.[6]
  • The governor fills vacancies that occur in the state legislature, the state judiciary, and other state constitutional offices. The governor also fills vacancies in U.S. Senate seats from South Dakota.[6]
  • The governor is the titular head of their political party.


From 1889 until 1974, the governor served a two-year term. Until the 1940s, the governor was allowed to serve unlimited terms; since that time, governors have been limited to two consecutive terms. The gubernatorial term was extended to four years in 1974. The governor and lieutenant governor run on a single ticket.[1]

The first governor of South Dakota was Arthur C. Mellette, who was also the last governor of the Dakota Territory.[2]

Two of South Dakota's governors have left office before their term expired. In 1978, Richard F. Kneip resigned office six months before the expiration of his term to accept an appointment as United States Ambassador to Singapore.[8] On April 19, 1993, George S. Mickelson was killed in a plane crash near Dubuque, Iowa; Mickelson is the only South Dakota governor to die in office. Mickelson and his father, George T. Mickelson, are the only father-son duo to serve as governor.[9]

South Dakota's longest-serving governor was Bill Janklow. Janklow was the first governor to complete two four-year terms, and he did it twice, serving from 1979 to 1987 and again from 1995 to 2003.[10] Janklow is also the only person to serve non-consecutive terms as governor.

Several governors have gone on to serve in other high offices. Coe I. Crawford,[11]Peter Norbeck,[12]William H. McMaster, William J. Bulow, Harlan J. Bushfield, and Mike Rounds followed their tenures as governor by serving in the United States Senate. Bill Janklow served briefly in the United States House of Representatives following his second stint as governor.[13]Kristi Noem is the first female governor in South Dakota's history.

Of the 50 states, South Dakota currently holds the longest non-interrupted party control of the governorship. The Republican Party has controlled the South Dakota governorship since January 1, 1979.

List of governors of South Dakota

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Article IV, Section 2, Constitution of South Dakota". South Dakota Legislature. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Arthur C. Mellette". The Weekly South Dakotan. Retrieved 2010.
  3. ^ "Kristi Noem". Retrieved 2019.</
  4. ^ "Article IV, Section 1, Constitution of South Dakota". South Dakota Legislature. Retrieved 2010.
  5. ^ "South Dakota Government". sd4history.comThe Weekly South Dakotan]. Retrieved 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Article IV, Section 3, Constitution of South Dakota". South Dakota Legislature. Retrieved 2010.
  7. ^ "Article IV, Section 4, Constitution of South Dakota". South Dakota Legislature. Retrieved 2010.
  8. ^ "Richard Kneip from Elkton, SD". South Dakota Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010.[dead link]
  9. ^ "George Mickelson, 52, Governor Of South Dakota, Dies in a Crash". The New York Times. 21 April 1993. Retrieved 2010.
  10. ^ Wald, Matthew L. (5 November 1998). "The 1998 Elections: State by State -- Midwest; South Dakota". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010.
  11. ^ "CRAWFORD, Coe Isaac, (1858 - 1944)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2010.
  12. ^ "Peter Norbeck from Clay County, SD". South Dakota Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010.[dead link]
  13. ^ Christian, Nichole M.; Cushman Jr, John H.; Day, Sherri; Dillon, Sam; Lewis, Neil A.; Pear, Robert; Pristin, Terry; Shenon, Philip (7 November 2002). "The 2002 Elections: Midwest; South Dakota". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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