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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem loses second high-ranking staffer in as many months

Gov. Noem's office on Monday announced that her chief of staff would depart for a spot on the Board of Regents. Last month, her senior policy adviser also resigned.

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem spoke at a news conference in Pierre, S.D., on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. (Christopher Vondracek / Forum News Service)

PIERRE, S.D. — Gov. Kristi Noem has lost a second, high-ranking adviser in as many months, with the announced departure of her chief of staff.

On Monday, April 6, Noem's office released a statement that Tony Venhuizen, her top staffer and a fixture in South Dakota politics for the past decade, would leave to join the state Board of Regents.

"Tony has been an incredible asset to our team, and he will be missed," Noem said in the statement. "His institutional knowledge and experience will be an asset to the Board of Regents, and I look forward to working with him in this new role."

Venhuizen joined Noem's office, first as an adviser and then as chief of staff, last year. He was a longtime adviser for Noem's predecessor, Gov. Dennis Daugaard

The departure comes on the heels of Noem's senior policy adviser, Maggie Seidel, leaving the day after the session concluded last month. On Monday, April 5, Washington, D.C.-based financial security group Finseca announced they'd hired Seidel to lead marketing and "more effectively tell their (financial professionals') noble story in the public domain."

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The loss of Noem's two highest-ranking staffers continues a pattern of relatively short-lived advisers that has marked her tenure as governor. In two-and-a-half years in office, Noem has cycled through three chiefs of staff.

This past Veto Day, House Speaker Spencer Gosch also bemoaned the "minimal communication" with the governor's team for her impasse with the Legislature over a bill to ban transgender girls from sports, House Bill 1217.

Noem, who has said she intends to run for reelection as governor in 2022, has also been mentioned as a potential Republican candidate for president in 2024.

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