SoDak Governors and the @SoDakGovs twitter feed are written by Tony Venhuizen.
Tony Venhuizen is the chief of staff to Governor Kristi Noem. An Armour native, Tony earned his B.S. in history and political science from South Dakota State University. He earned his J.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Law, where he was an editor of the South Dakota Law Review.
Tony managed Dennis Daugaard’s successful 2010 gubernatorial campaign. He worked in the Governor’s Office throughout the Daugaard administration, including four years as chief of staff, and stayed on in the administration of Governor Noem as a senior advisor. Prior to that, Tony served for five years on the South Dakota Board of Regents and worked on Mike Rounds’ successful gubernatorial campaigns in 2002 and 2006. In 2019 and 2020, Tony was a partner at Redstone Law Firm in Sioux Falls.
Tony is on the board of the Trail of Governors, which is erecting life-size statues of every former South Dakota governor throughout the capital city of Pierre. He has also encouraged the placement of South Dakota State Historical Society markers to honor former governors, with new markers placed honoring Andrew Lee, Coe Crawford, William McMaster, Carl Gunderson, Harlan Bushfield, Joe Foss, Nils Boe, Frank Farrar, Walter Dale Miller, and Bill Janklow.
In 2014, Tony’s essay Leaders in the Land of Infinite Variety: A Collective Portrait of South Dakota’s Governors was included in The Plains Political Tradition: Essays on South Dakota Political Culture, Vol. 2, published by South Dakota Historical Society Press. In 2017, Tony appeared on C-SPAN’s “American History TV” during the show’s visit to Pierre. Tony was interviewed for segments on the State Capitol Building and on the Trail of Governors.
Tony advocated for the designation of Peter Norbeck’s birthday, August 27, as a state working holiday. He also helped coordinate the commissioning of a bust of George S. Mickelson, which was placed in the State House lobby in 2018 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Governor Mickelson’s death. In 2012, Tony led the effort to pass legislation that preserves the papers of former governors and ensures that all papers eventually become available for historical research. The laws are codified at SDCL 1-27-1.19, 1-27-1.20, 1-27-1.21 and 1-27-1.22.
While in the Governor’s Office, Tony has been particularly honored to help coordinate the Capitol memorial services for former governors William J. Janklow and Walter Dale Miller.