Governor Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Serving South Dakota

Serving South Dakota
By Governor Kristi Noem

Since becoming governor, I have been continually reminded that strengthening South Dakota for the next generation is a task I cannot accomplish on my own. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in the last nine months, but what most people don’t have the privilege of seeing are the state employees – the incredible public servants – who work day in and day out to make South Dakota great.

One of those public servants is Herb Jones. Herb has served as my Chief of Staff since January, and at the end of September, he announced that he is retiring to his home in Yankton in order to spend more time in his favorite role – being a grandpa. I’m happy for him, but he’ll be missed.

I’ve known Herb for a long time and am a better person because of it. Other elected leaders would undoubtedly agree. Herb served in the Janklow, Mickelson, and Miller administrations, and he worked as chief of staff in Washington D.C. to then-Congressman John Thune. He helped me set up my office when I was first elected to Congress and has held leadership roles within the Department of Energy and in the railroad industry. He’s experienced, kind, faithful, and level-headed.

Herb is a special gift to this state – and a gift to me. Time after time, he’s stepped up and answered the call to advance South Dakota. It takes a special set of skills to get a governor’s office up and running, and I will be forever grateful to Herb for putting in the hours that has set my team up for success. He’s a key reason we’ve been able to see victories like increased internet access across the state and aggressive action to address the meth crisis.

Herb will be missed, but I’m grateful for the thousands of dedicated public servants who serve our state with excellence. These are the folks who make South Dakota strong, and I’m committed to making my administration one that prioritizes our people.

During the first few days of October, we hosted the State leadership conference in Pierre that more than 300 state leaders attended. It’s important we continue equipping our people with the tools and skills they need to advance in their careers and grow in leadership. When we pour into our people, we pave the way for progress.

I know this kind of dedication isn’t only found in State government. South Dakota is known for our work ethic and care for community. All throughout the state, teachers selflessly shape our kids, giving of themselves for the sake of the next generation; manufacturers do what they do with unwavering excellence; pastors care for people and help us remember the greater good; law enforcement officers wear the badge and say yes – no matter the call.

Albert Einstein once said that “only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” That’s so true. That’s how Herb has lived his life. That’s the spirit of South Dakota.

To all of you who work for a greater cause and who serve others, thank you. You inspire me. Let’s continue pushing forward together.