Daugaard takes office Saturday, becomes state’s 32nd governorPIERRE — The Capitol rotunda filled with a celebratory din of cheers, whistles and long applause from a full house Saturday afternoon when Dennis Daugaard completed his oath of office to become the 32nd governor of the state of South Dakota.
By: Bob Mercer, The Daily Republic
PIERRE — The Capitol rotunda filled with a celebratory din of cheers, whistles and long applause from a full house Saturday afternoon when Dennis Daugaard completed his oath of office to become the 32nd governor of the state of South Dakota.
With his wife of 30 years, Linda, at his side, for Daugaard that moment at 12:32 p.m. marked the official start of what will need to be a more diligent and more cost-conscious era of management than had been seen for much of the past decade in state government.
“It is not an easy time to be governor or any elected official,” Daugaard said as he began his inaugural address. He told the overflow crowd he didn’t run to be re-elected or to be popular.
“To the extent that cuts need to be made, everyone — everyone — must take a part and share in the sacrifice,” he said.
Daugaard had already set the tone in a variety of ways since the Nov. 2 election, such as the salary cuts he announced for himself, his executive team and his significantly reshaped Cabinet, and the decision to bring aboard Matt Michels, an experienced lawyer and former top legislator, as a full-time lieutenant governor.
“I believe South Dakota, our little state on the prairie, has an opportunity to show our sister states and our national government that there is a better way. We in South Dakota can be the shining city on the hill. Our values work. Our system works. Our state works,” Daugaard said.
Daugaard, 57, is the fifth Republican in a row since 1978 to be elected as South Dakota’s governor. He inherits from Gov. Mike Rounds a budget situation where tax revenues are expected to lag current spending levels by $75 million or more annually for several years.
Daugaard’s speech carried the same straight-up tone he had shown in his campaign and for the past eight years as the part-time lieutenant governor and the previous six years as a state senator from Minnehaha County.
In his inaugural speech, Daugaard laid down the core values of self-reliance, hard work and persistence, and frugality that he said he learned from his grandparents and parents and that would serve as the principles for his administration.
He quoted President Theodore Roosevelt about the difference between helping those who stumble and wasting time helping those who shirk responsibility, and he said he’s carried with him for 20 years a quote from President Calvin Coolidge about persistence and determination.
Daugaard will deliver the annual State of the State speech Tuesday to the Legislature on the opening day of the 2011 session. He is scheduled to present his budget recommendations to the Legislature on Jan. 19.
Speaking to reporters, Daugaard said he doesn’t expect state revenues for the current 2011 fiscal year that ends June 30 to be as high as 2008 levels. He said state government’s reserve funds should be saved for emergencies, one-time needs and as a cushion when revenues don’t meet expected amounts.
Most of the people on hand Saturday for the inauguration of Daugaard and seven other winners of statewide offices came from somewhere other than Pierre. They filled all 628 chairs packed into the Capitol’s great hall and the long wings down each side of the second floor.
Hundreds more jammed the grand staircase and the third- and fourth-floor overlook areas. Some grabbed seats on the hard stairs as early as 8:45 a.m. “If you’ve ever sat on marble steps, this must be a pretty big deal,” master of ceremonies Bob Sutton observed.
Saturday’s crowd included three sets of past governors and their spouses — Mike and Jean Rounds, Walter Dale and Pat Miller, and Frank and Pat Farrar — as well as a former First Lady, Linda Mickelson Graham and her husband Tom.
She served as Daugaard’s campaign treasurer and was the wife of Gov. George S. Mickelson when he was killed in 1993 in the state airplane crash.
Also present were U.S. Sen. John Thune and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem.
One person not present was Raymond Daugaard, the governor’s late father. The governor noted Saturday that 2011 marks the one hundredth anniversary of his grandparents, Martin and Margaret Daugaard, coming from Denmark and buying a farm between Garretson and Dell Rapids.
Raymond was born in that farmhouse three years later. Both of the governor’s parents were born deaf. Raymond attended the inauguration ceremonies eight years ago when his son was sworn into office as lieutenant governor. He was there again Saturday in his son’s remarks.
“When Dad had financial troubles and had to sell the livestock and equipment, he was the same age that I am now. He didn’t use his deafness as an excuse. He had stumbled, but he didn’t ask to be carried,” Daugaard said.
“He and my mother drove 50 miles every day to work as janitors in the dorms at Augustana (college in Sioux Falls). It was work that some people would not accept. But my parents taught me that all work — all work — has dignity.
“Most people wouldn’t call my father a particularly successful man. He died with very little. But he worked hard, he took care of himself, and he paid his bills. He was self-reliant, persistent and frugal.
“He was successful to me, and I stand before you today because of the lessons I learned from that example. South Dakota is a special place because there are many, many people who set that same example in their own lives every day.
“That’s why I love South Dakota, and that’s why I know that our best days are still ahead of us. Like the pioneers, we will come together in adversity and emerge into even greater prosperity. We will be self-reliant. We will work hard and persevere. We will be frugal.”
Daugaard’s speech lasted about 20 minutes. The entire ceremony ran about 75 minutes. Afterward he told reporters he wouldn’t be governor without the help of Rounds and described him as “a great friend.”
Rounds was unable to run again in 2010 because of South Dakota’s constitutional limit of two consecutive four-year terms.
Others taking oaths for their new terms Saturday were Lt. Gov. Michels, Attorney General Marty Jackley, Treasurer Rich Sattgast, Auditor Steve Barnett, Lands Commissioner Jarrod Johnson and Public Utilities Commission member Chris Nelson.
Secretary of State Jason Gant also took a ceremonial oath. He was sworn into office at the start of last week so he could begin duties immediately. All but Johnson are beginning their first full terms in their current offices. Jackley was appointed by Rounds in September 2009. Sattgast previously was auditor.