Speakers of the House and Speakers Pro Tempore in South Dakota

The speaker of the house is the presiding officer of the House of Representatives. Nominally elected by the entire House on the first day of session, by tradition the speaker is nominated by a majority vote of the majority caucus. The speaker appoints committees, assigns bills to committee, and presides over floor sessions, making procedural rulings as necessary. The speaker is also second in the line of succession to the governorship, behind the lieutenant governor.

Matt Michels

The speaker pro tempore is elected in the same manner as the speaker. This officer assists the speaker and presides in the speaker’s absence.

A complete list of speakers and speaker pro tems is included at the end of this post. See the overview of legislative leadership for other leadership positions in the State Legislature.

The position of speaker of the house dates back to statehood. In the early days of the state, the State Legislature met every other year, in odd-numbered years, following the November election in the previous year. The speakership generally rotated each session, although in few instances the speaker returned for a second session.

The State Legislature began meeting annually in 1963 and 1964, and speakers would by tradition serve for two sessions. Since that time, the only speaker to serve a second two-year term was Matt Michels, who presided over four sessions from 2003-06 (Michels, who also served eight years a lieutenant governor and president of the senate, is the longest-serving presiding officer the State Legislature’s history).

The position of speaker pro tempore was first elected in 1937, as a permanent deputy to the speaker of the house. In the early days of the position, there was no expectation that the speaker pro tempore would serve as speaker in the next session; in fact, prior to 1960, fewer than half of the speakers pro tempore went on to become speaker.

George S. Mickelson

Beginning in 1963, the House began a predictable pattern of electing the prior speaker pro tempore as speaker of the house. There have been six instances since 1963 when a speaker pro tempore did not go on to serve as speaker in the next legislature, including three instances where the speaker pro tempore did not return to the next legislature, and two times when partisan control of the House shifted.

Five speakers of the house went on to serve as Governor of South Dakota: George T. Mickelson, Archie Gubbrud, Nils Boe, George S. Mickelson, and Walter Dale Miller. The latter three also served as speaker pro tempore. Only three more speakers have run for governor: John L. Browne, Lowell C. Hansen II, and Steven G. Haugaard.

Debra Anderson

Three generations of Mickelsons have served as speaker: George T. Mickelson, George S. Mickelson, and G. Mark Mickelson, who opted against a 2018 bid to follow his father and grandfather to the governor’s office. A bronze bust of George S. Mickelson is displayed in the House lobby; his middle name was “Speaker” because he was born while his father held that office.

Debra Anderson is the only woman to serve as speaker of the house. She was elected in 1987 after the previous speaker pro tempore, Scott N. Heidepriem, made a failed bid for U.S. House in 1986 and therefore was not a State House member in 1987. Anderson went on to be appointed by President George Bush to serve in the White House as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The state’s largest city of Sioux Falls can claim the most speakers, with nine, followed by six from Rapid City. Aberdeen and Watertown can each claim four, Spearfish has had three, and Flandreau and Garretson can each claim two.

1Sutton E. YoungR1889–1890Sioux Falls
2Charles X. SewardIND11891Watertown
3James M. LawsonR1893Aberdeen
4Charles T. HowardR1895Redfield
5John ColvinPOP21897Mitchell
6Albert SomersR1899–1901Strouseton
7John L. BrowneR1903–1905Aberdeen
8Morris ChaneyR1907–1909Wakonda
9Charles J. MorrisR1911Sioux Falls
10Peter J. TscharnerR1913Lemmon
11Charles A. ChristophersonR1915Sioux Falls
12A. C. RobertsR1917Pierpont
13Lewis BensonR1919Flandreau
14Christian BerdahlR1921Garretson
15Emmet O. FrescolnR1923Winner
16Charles S. McDonaldR1925Sioux Falls
17Ray F. WilliamsonR1927Aberdeen
18Daniel K. LoucksR1929Watertown
19B. W. McVeighR1931Britton
20George AbildD1933Pukwana
21W. J. EggertD1935Rockham
22A. C. MillerR1937–1939Kennebec
23George T. MickelsonR1941Selby
24O. H. HoveR1943Colman
25Anton C. HallsR1945Garretson
26George W. MillsR1947Wall
27Arthur E. MunckR1949Pierre
28Hugh H. StokesR1951Flandreau
29Hobart H. GatesR1953Custer
30Nils BoeR1955–1957Sioux Falls
31Archie GubbrudR1959Alcester
32Carl T. BurgessR1961Rapid City
33Paul E. BrownR1963–19644Arlington
35Charles C. DrozR1965–1966Miller
36James D. JelbertR1967–1968Spearfish
37Dexter H. GundersonR1969–1970Irene
38Donald E. OsheimR1971–1972Watertown
39Gene LebrunD51973–1974Rapid City
40Joseph H. BarnettR1975–1976Aberdeen
41Lowell C. Hansen IIR1977–1978Sioux Falls
42George S. MickelsonR1979–1980Brookings
43Walter Dale MillerR1981–1982New Underwood
44Jerome B. LammersR1983–1984Madison
45Donald J. HamR1985–1986Rapid City
46Debra Anderson6R1987–1988Sioux Falls
47Royal J. “Bud” WoodR1989–1990Warner
48E. James HoodR1991–1992Spearfish
49Steve K. CutlerR1993–1994Claremont
50Harvey C. KrautschunR1995–1996Spearfish
51Rexford A. HaggR1997–1998Rapid City
52Roger W. HuntR1999–2000Brandon
53Scott G. EccariusR2001–2002Rapid City
54Matthew MichelsR2003–2006Yankton
55Thomas J. DeadrickR2007–2008Platte
56Timothy A. RaveR2009–2010Baltic
57Valentine RauschR2011–2012Big Stone City
58Brian G. GoschR2013–2014Rapid City
59Dean A. WinkR2015–2016Howes
60G. Mark MickelsonR2017–2018Sioux Falls
61Steven G. HaugaardR2019–2020Sioux Falls
62Spencer R. GoschR2021–2022Glenham
63Hugh M. BartelsR2023–Watertown
1W. K. Bishop3R1937Leola
2O. H. HoveR1939Colman
3Roswell BottumR1941Sioux Falls
4Anton C. HallsR1943Garretson
5Thaddeus W. OviattR1945Huron
6Arthur E. MunckR1947Pierre
7Hugh H. StokesR1949Flandreau
8Arbie F. ChristophersonR1951Watertown
9Nils BoeR1953Sioux Falls
10Harry H. MartensR1955Wessington
11Hobart H. GatesR1957Custer
12Raymond E. DanaR1959Sioux Falls
13Paul E. BrownR1961Arlington
14Charles C. DrozR1963–19644Miller
15James D. JelbertR1965–1966Spearfish
16Dexter H. GundersonR1967–1968Irene
17Donald E. OsheimR1969–1970Watertown
18Joseph H. BarnettR1971–1972Aberdeen
19Menno TschetterD51973–1974Huron
20Lowell C. Hansen IIR1975–1976Sioux Falls
21George S. MickelsonR1977–1978Brookings
22Walter Dale MillerR1979–1980New Underwood
23Jerome B. LammersR1981–1982Madison
24Donald J. HamR1983–1984Rapid City
25Scott N. HeidepriemR1985–1986Miller
26Royal J. “Bud” WoodR1987–1988Warner
27E. James HoodR1989–1990Spearfish
28Steve K. CutlerR1991–1992Claremont
29Harvey C. KrautschunR1993–1994Spearfish
30Rexford A. HaggR1995–1996Rapid City
31Roger W. HuntR1997–1998Brandon
32Scott G. EccariusR1999–2000Rapid City
33Matthew MichelsR2001–2002Yankton
34Christopher W. MadsenR2003–2004Spearfish
35Thomas J. DeadrickR2005–2006Platte
36Timothy A. RaveR2007–2008Baltic
37Valentine RauschR2009–2010Big Stone City
38Brian G. GoschR2011–2012Rapid City
39Dean A. WinkR2013–2014Howes
40G. Mark MickelsonR2015–2016Sioux Falls
41Don K. HaggarR2017Sioux Falls
42Steven G. HaugaardR2018Sioux Falls
43Spencer R. GoschR2019–2020Glenham
44Jonathon D. HansenR2021–2022Dell Rapids
45Michael D. StevensR2023–Yankton
  1. The 1891 House of Representatives was organized by a coalition of legislators who were Democrats and members of the populist “Independent Party.” 
  2. The 1897 House of Representatives was organized by a coalition of Populist and Democratic legislators.
  3. The House first elected a speaker pro tempore in 1937.
  4. Beginning in 1963, the State Legislature held annual, rather than biennial, sessions.
  5. The 1973–74 House of Representatives was evenly divided and, by state law, was organized by the Democrats as the governor’s party.
  6. Anderson was the first woman to serve as speaker of the house.