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Olson Promoted to Heartland CEO, Resigns from Senate

Last updated on 2013.10.10

The bad news: academically underachieving Russell Olson has ridden his lifelong trajectory of Prostrollo-Janklow patronage to a new height of wealth and power, ascending to the CEO-ship of Heartland Consumers Power District.

The good news: Russ is leaving the South Dakota Senate to do so!

It is with a flood of emotion I write to you today. Earlier this morning, the Heartland Consumers Power District (HCPD) board of directors notified me of my selection as their next CEO. As such, due to the job requirements, I will be notifying Gov. Daugaard of my resignation from the SD Legislature effective September 30. You’re family…and I want you to hear it from me [Senator Russell Olson (R-8/Wentworth), letter to fellow senators, quoted by Pat Powers, Dakota War College, 2013.08.13].

Strangely dedicated to the notion that Russ is the golden boy of South Dakota politics, Pat Powers pretends that leaving the Legislature to run HCPD somehow makes Olson more likely to become Governor someday. It is more likely that Olson will fade from statewide view and play the tiddlywinks of Madison-level crony capitalism.

The Governor's logical choice to fill Olson's vacancy is the District 8 resident with more legislative experience than anyone else in Moody, Lake, Miner, or Sanborn County: Gerald Lange, who served ten years in the Senate and eight in the House. Former House Speaker and majority leader Jerry Lammers would be a close second, if he wanted to set aside lawyering for a couple months. But it's more likely that Governor Daugaard will pick a younger political crony suggested by Olson, a Madison or Flandreau version of Brian Gosch or Kristin Conzet who can say "Yes sir!" and run eagerly for re-election as an anointed incumbent Republican next year.

Readers, I invite (and, if he follows recent practice, so will the Governor) your suggestions for Daugaard's replacement of Olson. But District 8 Dems, start recruiting now: Russell Olson just handed you a pretty good break for the 2014 election.

Update 08:01 CDT: Gotta check my local news: Governor Daugaard is indeed inviting nominations for District 8 Senate:

The Governor is asking the public to nominate candidates to fill the position.

Those wishing to offer nominations should contact Patrick Weber in the Office of the Governor at 605-773-5999. Nominations should include the candidate’s name, current address, telephone number and relevant background information [Sue Bergheim, "Senate Majority Leader Olson to Resign; Governor Invites Public Input," KJAM Radio, 2013.08.13].

Friends of Gerry (or Jerry!), ring Patrick Weber's phone!


  1. DB 2013.08.14

    "academically underachieving"

    Care to elaborate?

  2. MJL 2013.08.14

    Daugaard already talked to Olsen about who he would like. The "call the Governor" is nothing but show.

  3. MJL 2013.08.14

    Sorry, "Olson."

  4. Owen Reitzel 2013.08.14

    I pick Charlie Johnson.

  5. Chris Francis 2013.08.14

    Charlie Johnson would be a great choice, he just ran for that seat 9 months back, and was the runner up in the general, honestly, we couldn't ask for a better person to represent the district. Gerald and Jerry have served well for the district in the past, and thanks for those years of service. Now, the question is, does Charlie want to fill the vacancy or not?

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.08.15

    DB, Olson himself has said he struggled to maintain a 3.0 GPA.

    Charlie Johnson would be great! He ran last year with a genuine desire to serve the public. Call Patrick Weber and tell him to put Charlie's name in th hat!

  7. DB 2013.08.15

    3.0 is above average. I wouldn't say he had huge academic success, but stating that he "academically underachieved" is a low blow and unfounded.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.08.15

    Nope: founded and not low. Struggling for a 3.0 is low for someone aspiring to be a leader in policy and business. I expect more; so should we all. And he has achieved his position through patronage, not intellect.

  9. Wayne Pauli 2013.08.15

    Call it a parting shot, he is leaving the public / political sector and now he can keep his GPA on the down low. Whoever DB is. It is football season, perhaps it is a Defensive Back...Or at least the person is defensive about Russ's back.

Comments are closed.