What exactly does a lieutenant governor do? Larry Rhoden’s role explained
PIERRE, S.D. – History was made Saturday in the South Dakota Capitol Rotunda, as former Congresswoman Kristi Noem was sworn-in as the state’s 33rd governor and it’s first female chief executive.
The ceremony began with a fanfare written especially for this occasion, performed by trumpeters from Northern State and South Dakota State Universities, the two schools Noem attended.
Following the swearing-in of other state officers, including West River native Larry Rhoden as lieutenant governor — Governor Noem addressed the standing room only gathering. “From Rapid City to Sioux Falls, from Buffalo to North Sioux City, from Pine Ridge to Sisseton, my door will always be open, “she said. “I believe I have a good sense of where we need to go as a state, but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep the dialogue open.”
Noem says she wants to be a governor for “the next generation. For our kids, teenagers and young adults. That is what motivates so many of us, across many walks of life, to work that extra shift. To stay up late putting together a bicycle… or forgo a new car so we can help pay for their school. Nothing makes my day like spending time with kids.”
Noem also acknowledged three former governors in attendance, Sen. Mike Rounds, Frank Farrar and Dennis Daugaard, thanking them for laying a strong foundation for her to inherit. And she thanked her father, who died in a farming accident when she was 22 – his photo was next to the podium. His death is what sparked Noem’s career in politics.
The question isn’t if we will endure hardships, it’s when,” said the governor. “And how we respond, and how we get up off the floor and find our way. I wish my dad could be here today to see this.”
Noem says many people have asked her how she wanted to be remembered as governor. A tough question, she admits, but one for which she has an answer.
“As the saying goes, a good way to live is for one to consider what they want said at their funeral and work backward from there. In the same way, the question about how a governor wants to be remembered can serve as a tool to sharpen our focus. To that end, when this is all over, I want to be a governor for the next generation.”