Tony Venhuizen, at his desk on the floor of the State House of Representatives

SoDak Governors and the @SoDakGovs twitter feed are written by Tony Venhuizen.

Tony is a state representative from District 13 in Sioux Falls, and the vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. 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 the successful gubernatorial campaign of Dennis Daugaard in 2010. He worked in the governor’s office throughout the Daugaard administration, including as chief of staff from 2014-19. Tony stayed on in the administration of Governor Kristi Noem as a senior advisor in 2019, and then returned as chief of staff in 2020-21. Prior to that, Tony worked on Mike Rounds’ successful gubernatorial campaigns in 2002 and 2006. Tony also served with the Janklow-Rounds gubernatorial transition in 2002, the Rounds-Daugaard transition in 2010, and the Daugaard-Noem transition in 2018. He was appointed to the Board of Regents by Governor Rounds, serving from 2003-08, and by Governor Noem, serving from 2021-23.

Tony is on the board of the Trail of Governors, which has commissioned and placed life-size statues of every former South Dakota governor throughout the capital city of Pierre. He also serves on the board of the South Dakota State Historical Society Foundation, and has 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 William J. 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 2021, Tony edited and annotated the autobiography of Governor W. J. Bulow; excerpts from the autobiography were published in South Dakota History in Spring 2021, and his essay, “William J. Bulow:  The Conservative Democrat Who Time Passed By” was included in The Plains Political Tradition: Essays on South Dakota Political Culture, Vol. 4 in 2022 and was featured in South Dakota Magazine in 2023.

In 2017, Tony appeared on C-SPAN’s “American History TV” during the show’s visit to Pierre, in segments on the State Capitol Building and on the Trail of Governors. He appeared on the History 605 podcast in 2022, and has spoken at the Center for Western Studies Dakota Conference, at the South Dakota Festival of Books, and to Leadership South Dakota, and has been an interviewer in the State Historical Society’s oral history project. Tony’s work has also been published in The Dakota Scout, and his work with the Trail of Governors was featured by SD Public Broadcasting’s Kevin Woster.

Venhuizen with a friend

Tony advocated for the designation of Peter Norbeck’s birthday, August 27, as a state working holiday. He also coordinated 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 was particularly honored to help coordinate the Capitol memorial services for former governors William J. Janklow and Walter Dale Miller.