Gov. Noem Appoints Mark Vargo as Attorney General

Mark Vargo

Photo Courtesy of Pennington SAO’s Facebook page

PIERRE, S.D. Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo has been appointed by Governor Kristi Noem as Attorney General effective Tuesday.

“Mark Vargo returns integrity, experience and stability to the Attorney General’s Office,” said Governor Noem. “He is an outstanding prosecutor who has the respect of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors statewide. Mark will provide the leadership the office needs until the next Attorney General is elected in November and takes office in January.”

In a press release on Tuesday from Governor Noem’s office, Vargo brings more than 30 years of public legal experience to the office. Vargo was the lead prosecutor in the Senate impeachment trial against former Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

“I am honored to have been asked by Governor Noem to serve as the Attorney General,” said Vargo. “I have worked closely with the Attorney General’s office in the past and have a high respect for the abilities of the staff. My goal is to provide office members the necessary support so they can keep doing their job and honoring the rule of law for the citizens of South Dakota.”

Vargo graduated from Princeton University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and earned his law degree with honors from Georgetown Law Center in 1988. He has served as an Assistant State’s Attorney for Florida’s Dade County, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota and has been Pennington County State’s Attorney since 2013. He was nominated in 2010 for a U.S. Department of Justice’s Director’s Award and was named the South Dakota Prosecutor of the Year in 2015.

Vargo has been active in the Rapid City area serving as an adjunct professor, high school debate coach and youth soccer coach.

Vargo will serve as Attorney General through Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. The new Attorney General is scheduled to be sworn in Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023.

In a press release from the Pennington County State’s Attorney Office, Vargo says, “It is my intention to return to the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office after serving in this role. My tenure as Attorney General will, therefore, be short…ending in January when the choice of the voters will take office. But the work, to which Governor Noem has alluded, of moving on and restoring confidence in the office can now begin immediately and I am excited by that prospect and challenge.”

Being deeply humbled, Vargo continues, “I am mindful of the responsibility that lies ahead and I hope in this position to build on all that I have learned in my time as a prosecutor, from my colleagues, the bench, our allies in law enforcement and from all those who we serve in the community. I promise that I will do my level best to live up to the admonition that a prosecutor is ‘in a peculiar and definite sense, the servant of the law, the two-fold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape and innocence suffer.”


Categories: Local News, Politics & Elections, South Dakota News