South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant made two major hires Wednesday, filling his deputy spot and replacing the director of elections, who resigned earlier in the day.

Elections Director Aaron Lorenzen resigned early Wednesday to pursue a job in the private sector, Gant said, but he did not offer further details. Gant hired Lorenzen in January 2011.

"He decided this morning to accept a new venture outside of state government," Gant said.

Wasting no time, Gant hired former five-term retired Minnehaha County Auditor Sue Roust to serve as interim elections director through the November general election.

"She comes with a wealth of knowledge," Gant said. "I needed someone immediately, and this was a perfect opportunity for her and I."

Gant also hired former South Dakota first lady Pat Miller as his deputy secretary of state. She married former Gov. Walter D. Miller in 1993. She is president of the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation and spent a decade with Easter Seals of South Dakota, including time as its chief executive officer. Miller worked for the state for 20 years.

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Miller replaces Pat Powers, who resigned in July soon after Sen. Stan Adelstein questioned his relationship with Dakota Campaign Store, which sold political merchandise such as mailers.

Gant said he told Powers to stop the business in May after it had become a distraction. Powers has resumed political blogging at dakotawarcollege.com.

Contact Ryan Lengerich at 394-8418 or ryan.lengerich@rapidcityjournal.com.

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