Logo for the Reach for the Stars Gala with a dark blue starry night background

McGovern Day

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Featuring US Senator Doug Jones

Best Western Ramkota Hotel – 3200 W Maple St, Sioux Falls, SD

Tickets available for purchase online here

Sponsorship opportunities for yourself or your business are still available. Email info@sddp.org for information.

Full Schedule for the Day:

9am – 10:30am: Strategy Session

10:30am – 11:30am: State Central Committee Meeting

12:00pm – 1:30pm: Grassroots Awards Luncheon

2:00pm – 4:00pm: Volunteer & Leadership Training

5:00pm – 6:00pm: VIP Reception

6:00pm: Doors open for McGovern Day Dinner

7:00pm: Dinner

Stars of the Heartland Awards Luncheon

Join us to honor our most dedicated Democrats. At our Stars of the Heartland Awards Luncheon we will be recognizing the hard work of our volunteers with the George McGovern Grassroots Award, the Richard F. Kneip Young Democrat Award and the Goldie Wells Lifetime Achievement Award.

The luncheon will be held on Saturday, June 3 at the Ramkota in Sioux Falls, starting at 12 Noon. You can get your tickets here. Each ticket includes a plated lunch.

Want to nominate someone? Submit the nomination form here.

Click here to see a list of previous award winners.

Richard F. Kneip Award Nominees

Michael Linngren

Henry Van Bemmel

John Walker

George McGovern Grassroots Award Nominees

Ryan Cwach

Leslie Gerrish

Goldie Wells Award Nominees

Tom Cool

Roberta Rasmussen

Ray Ring

David Sigdestad

Volunteer & Leadership Training Workshop

Calling all volunteers, County and Legislative District Leaders! We are hosting a free, in-person workshop led by the Democratic National Committee’s Best Practices Institute. Alumni of the Alabama and Idaho Democratic Parties, they’ll focus on local party building year-round and how to fully utilize the time we have in between major elections. This training begins at 2 PM at the Ramkota. Let us know you’re coming by RSVPing here.

This training is open to all Democrats and free of charge.
The Best Practices Institute (BPI) is the shared training department of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the ASDC. The BPI delivers trainings to activists and volunteers, Party leaders and staff, students and youth organizers, candidates and campaign staff, constituency caucus members and community leaders, and so many more! Since its inaugural year in 2018, the BPI expanded the existing training department from four training programs to a robust department with 14 independent training programs, and counting! In 2019 alone, the BPI has already trained over 10,000 Party leaders and activists across the country and the world. Through this vast expansion of training programs, the new BPI is building and strengthening the Democratic Party infrastructure to ensure success for years to come.

McGovern Day Reach for the Stars Gala Dinner

featuring US Senator Doug Jones

Join Democrats from across the state in celebrating George McGovern’s legacy and our new chapter as a state party. During dinner, we’ll hear from former US Senator Doug Jones about his fight for Alabama and how we can bring that same energy to South Dakota. You’ll also hear from other speakers as we honor our past and look toward a bright future we can all believe in. Doors open at 6 PM with dinner starting at 7 PM. Get your tickets here. Each ticket includes a plated dinner. A cash bar will be available. We will also have a Silent Auction going on during the event.

VIP Reception 

A separately ticketed VIP Reception begins at 5 PM. This will be your opportunity to personally meet our honored guests and speakers. Get your tickets here. A cash bar will be available.

Meet Doug Jones

A venerated prosecutor who brought long-overdue justice to the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, Jones has built his career on fighting impossible battles. In 2017, he shocked the political establishment by winning a special election to fill a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama—the first Democrat to do so in 25 years in the state. On Capitol Hill, he quickly built a reputation as a well-regarded and effective legislator, passing more than two dozen bipartisan bills into law in just three years.


Jones’s first job after graduating from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University was as staff counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary for Sen. Howell Heflin (D-AL).

Thereafter, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1980 to 1984.


Jones left government service in 1984 and went into private practice in Birmingham, Alabama, until President Bill Clinton nominated him to the position of U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Jones’s nomination was confirmed by the Senate in November 1997, and he served as U.S. attorney until June 2001. It was while serving in that position that he successfully prosecuted two of the four men responsible for the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church—finally bringing full justice and closure nearly 40 years after the attack that killed four young girls. Along with taking on the Ku Klux Klan, Jones indicted domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph and prosecuted other criminals who sought to use fear, hatred, and violence to inhibit the rights of others.


Jones is the author of Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights which chronicles the events surrounding the shocking 1963 Alabama church bombing and the 40-year aftermath that irrevocably transformed American civil rights forever.

In 2022, Jones was appointed by President Joe Biden to serve as Nomination Advisor for Legislative Affairs with the goal of guiding the historic selection, nomination, and successful confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of the United States. In this role, Jones called upon his former Congressional colleagues with whom he maintains strong ties and helped garner the necessary bipartisan support needed to secure Justice Jackson’s confirmation to the Bench.

Today, Jones is Of Counsel with ArentFox Schiff, and serves as a Senior Distinguished Fellow with Center for American Progress. He is also actively involved in a variety of different political and civic organizations.

Jones currently resides in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife, Louise, and dogs, Scout and Dakota. He has three children Courtney (married to Rip Andrews), Carson, and Christopher as well as two grandchildren, Ever and Ollie.


I’m interested in sponsoring some part of McGovern Day. How can I do that?
We would love that! You can preview our flyer here. If you are an individual looking to sponsor, you can do so here. For organizations looking to sponsor or for any other questions, email info@sddp.org to talk through our sponsorship options.

Am I able to pick which events I want to go to?
Absolutely! Each event is ticketed separately and attendance at one is not a prerequisite for attending another.

Where can I buy my tickets?
Follow this link to buy online. You can also mail a check made out to “South Dakota Democratic Party” and mail it to PO Box 1485. On the memo line, please include your occupation and employer.

I’m interested in staying the night. Do you have a room block?
Yes! We have a block at the Ramkota. Call the hotel at 605-336-0650 for more information.

Who are the McGovern Day Award Winners?
No spoilers! Winners will be publicly announced at the Stars of the Heartland Awards Luncheon on June 3rd at 12pm.