M. Michael “Mike” Rounds, the oldest of eleven children, was born in Huron, South Dakota and is a lifelong resident of Pierre. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from South Dakota State University in Brookings. From 1991 to 2000, Rounds served five terms in the South Dakota State Senate. In 1995, he was chosen by his peers to serve as senate majority leader, a post he held for six years. Rounds was sworn in as South Dakota’s 31st governor on January 7, 2003, and reelected in 2006. Rounds committed to growing South Dakota’s economy, improving the daily lives of South Dakota citizens, and providing opportunities for young people to stay in South Dakota. Working together with the legislature and citizens of South Dakota, he balanced the state budget, reduced the structural deficit, and created a sales tax relief program on food for individuals within 150 percent of the poverty level. Rounds also reorganized the Department of Education to better embrace the concepts of “No Child Left Behind.” Rounds served as chairman of the Western Governors Association and as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Governors Association.