Our People

//Our People
Our People2019-10-16T16:13:13+00:00

Party Officers

Paula Hawks
Paula HawksChair
Paula grew up on her family’s farm near Flandreau, where she developed a passion for hard work and helping her neighbors. After graduating from Flandreau Public High School, she went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in biology from South Dakota State University. She met and married Steve Hawks, a rancher from the Faith area. Together, they have three children: Ruby, Tristan and Amelia.

In 2012, Paula entered the race for the District 9 legislative seat. She won that election against an incumbent Republican in a Republican district. She served for two terms, winning a tough re-election bid in 2014. During her second term, Paula was chosen by her fellow Democratic representatives to be a minority whip. Hawks was the Democratic nominee for U.S. House in 2016. She currently serves as the vice president of the West Central school board.

Randy Seiler
Randy SeilerVice-Chair
Randy is a lifelong South Dakotan. Before pursuing his dream of becoming a lawyer, Randy spent four years in the U.S. Air Force, including a tour in Vietnam. He was appointed as the Youngest Director of the Division of Law Enforcement Assistance by Governor Richard F. Kneip. He attended the University of South Dakota School of Law graduating in 1980. While in Law School, Randy served as Editor-in-Chief of the S.D. Law Review and was awarded the Gavel Award as the outstanding student in the graduating class. Following law school, he served as a Law Clerk in U.S. District Court in Sioux Falls, before going into private practice in Mobridge.

After 14 years in private practice, Randy joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He was lead counsel on over 75 federal felony jury trials and over 600 criminal cases and earned several Department of Justice awards for his work. He also served as First Assistant U.S. Attorney and was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as U.S. Attorney. Since retirement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he has served as Hughes County State’s Attorney and as Chief Prosecutor for the Lower Brule and Standing Rock Sioux Tribes. During the course of his career, Randy has also served on the Fort Pierre City Council, Verendrye Museum Board of Directors, South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles, South Dakota Board of Education, Badlands National Park Conservancy Board of Directors, Mobridge School Board, and the Mobridge Rodeo Association Board of Directors. Randy has four grown children and lives in Fort Pierre with his wife Wanda. Randy says the best job he has ever had is being grandpa to two granddaughters – Brooklyn, age 6, and Alley, age 5.

Michael Hanson
Michael HansonTreasurer
Lorri May
Lorri MaySecretary
Deb Knecht
Deb KnechtNational Committeewoman
Bill Walsh
Bill WalshNational Committeeman
Cecelia Fire Thunder
Cecelia Fire ThunderNational Committeewoman for Native Americans
Troy Heinert
Troy HeinertState Senate Minority Leader
Jamie Smith
Jamie SmithState House Minority Leader
Vacant
VacantSouth Dakota Young Democrats President
Grace Bucklin
Grace BucklinSouth Dakota College Democrats President
Tanner Walkins
Tanner WalkinsSouth Dakota High School Democrats Chair

State Central Committee

The State Central Committee is the main governing body of the SDDP.

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Elected Officials

Find Democratic elected officials serving South Dakota now.

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Staff

Learn more about our SDDP Staff members here.

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Executive Board

The SDDP Executive Board works directly with the state party chair and party staff to review and recommend policy and procedures to the body of the State Central Committee. The executive board consists of the SDDP Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer, along with the National Committeeman and Committeewoman, National Committeewoman for Native Americans, Young Democrats president, College Democrats president, Democratic legislative leaders and fourteen regional representatives.

Regional representatives are elected to two-year terms in regional caucuses at the State Central Committee meeting following county party elections in odd-numbered years (typically held in conjunction with McGovern Day).

REGION 1

Dennis Olson (Beadle)

Jennifer Slaight-Hanson (Brown)

REGION 2

Nikki Gronli (Minnehaha)

Travis Wicks (Lake)

REGION 3

Sheldon Osborn (Minnehaha)

Jeri Reed (Minnehaha)

REGION 4

Shane Merrill (Turner)

Melissa Wirt (Lincoln)

REGION 5

Carrie Ackerman Rice
(Charles Mix)

Bill Smith (McCook)

REGION 6

Oliver Miner (Dewey)

Alli Moran (Ziebach)

REGION 7

Jay Davis (Pennington)

Sandy White Shield (Pennington)