SOUTH DAKOTA HOUSE REPUBLICANS ELECT MORTENSON, REHFELDT
CAUCUS NOMINATES BARTELS FOR SPEAKER; STEVENS FOR SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE
PIERRE, S.D. – The House Republican Caucus met this morning at the State Capitol in Pierre to elect caucus leaders for the upcoming 2023 Legislative Session.
Caucus members elected Rep. Will Mortenson, of Pierre, as House Majority Leader and Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt, of Sioux Falls, as House Assistant Majority Leader.
Mortenson will lead a caucus of 63 Republicans, the largest majority caucus since the House was set at 70 members in 1973. He succeeds House Majority Leader Kent Peterson of Salem, who was term-limited.
Mortenson, 34, is a second-term lawmaker from District 24. An attorney and cow hand, he is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and will be the first tribal member to lead a Republican caucus in Pierre. Mortenson is a native of Fort Pierre and a graduate of the University of South Dakota and the University of Virginia School of Law. He and his wife, Shuree, have two children.
“I’m honored to get to work for this group of legislators,” said Mortenson. “We’ve got a big job ahead of us, and we look forward to delivering conservative results to the people of South Dakota.”
Rehfeldt, 33, is a second-term legislator from District 14. A certified registered nurse anesthetist, she is assistant program director of the Mount Marty University graduate program in nurse anesthesiology. Rehfeldt is a Rapid City native and a graduate of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, South Dakota State University, and Mount Marty University. She and her husband, Corey, have two children.
“It is a privilege to be elected by the House Republican Caucus,” said Rehfeldt. “I am excited to join with my fellow members and get to work.”
Joining Mortenson and Rehfeldt in the Republican leadership will be five majority whips: Reps. Rocky Blare of Ideal, Gary Cammack of Union Center, Kirk Chaffee of Whitewood, Becky Drury of Rapid City, and J. D. Wangsness of Miller.
In addition, the Republican caucus selected the party’s nominees for Speaker of the House and Speaker Pro Tempore, which will be elected when the State House convenes on January 10, 2023.
Rep. Hugh Bartels, 69, was nominated for Speaker of the House. Bartels, a Watertown retired community banker, has represented District 5 since 2017. He served on the Legislative Research Council Executive Board in 2018 and from 2021-22 and has chaired the House Retirement Laws Committee. Bartels is a graduate of Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota. He and his wife, Shelley, have three children and three grandchildren.
Rep. Mike Stevens, 69, was nominated for Speaker Pro Tempore. Stevens, a Yankton attorney, has represented District 18 from 2013-18 and again since 2021. He was a majority whip in 2014-15 and an LRC Executive Board member in 2017-18, and has been chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Stevens is a graduate of Bethel University in St. Paul MN and the University of South Dakota School of Law. He and his wife, Linda, have four children and six grandchildren.
The 98th Session of the South Dakota State Legislature convenes on January 10, 2023.