Dennis Daugaard was sworn in as governor of South Dakota on January 8, 2011.
During his first year in office, Daugaard worked with the legislature to eliminate a $127 million structural deficit, without raising taxes. This year, Daugaard proposed and signed legislation to focus new state dollars for education on student achievement through teacher bonuses. Daugaard has committed most of his time to creating jobs through expansion of South Dakota businesses and recruitment of new businesses.
After earning his law degree, Daugaard passed the Illinois bar exam and worked in the Chicago area for three years. In 1981, he returned to South Dakota and worked for what is now U.S. Bank in Sioux Falls. Nine years later, Daugaard left the bank and began working for the Children’s Home Foundation, the fundraising arm of Children’s Home Society of South Dakota. He worked for 19 years, first as Development Director and then as Chief Operating Officer.
Daugaard was elected to the state senate in 1996. From 1996 to 2002 Daugaard served in the state senate and was a member of the State Affairs, Commerce, Education, Taxation, Judiciary, and Government Operations & Audit committees. In 2002, Daugaard began his two-term period as the lieutenant governor of South Dakota with Governor Mike Rounds. As lieutenant governor, Daugaard took an active role in promoting the Honor Flight Program, which arranges chartered flights to take South Dakota’s World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the WWII Memorial and served as chairman of the Workers Compensation Advisory Council, among other responsibilities.
Daugaard graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1975 and earned his law degree from Northwestern University.