Former state legislator Pamela Cole has been named the new leader of South Dakota's Democratic party, according to a press release from the group Tuesday.
Cole's hiring is the latest in a series of leadership changes in recent months as the party works to reconstruct its finances. Last year, the party realized it had more than $40,000 in the bank after reportedly being in the red for about two months. Cole, who served from 2008-2010 in the Legislature, has a career that's included grant writing, marketing and volunteer coordination for a major health-care provider, the release states.
“We have a team that has worked very hard in the last few months to put the party back on the right track to ensure a great 2020 election season," Democratic Party chair Randy Seiler said. "Part of that restructure involved finding the right executive director, someone with enthusiasm, commitment and pride in the duties of the position. Pam has the experience and talents we were looking for.”
Seiler, who was elected to his position in December, stepped into the role after the previous elected chair, an executive director and treasurer stepped aside in fall 2019, the release said. This came after they realized the time requirement it would take to fix errors in financial reports and refocus the party to work on three main areas: quality education, health care and living wages, the release states.
“This effort has been a testament to the pride and conviction of our members," Seiler said. "A number of volunteers stepped forward to make sure we quickly resolved the situation, kept important upcoming events moving forward, and continued to serve the members of the party. I really credit the group effort with making this possible."
The Democratic Party will host a meet-and-greet with Cole at a later date.
“It’s important that our members get a chance to visit and learn about what 2020 holds for the party," Cole said. "I’m really excited about this opportunity and to be part of this team. This is a role I am honored to be in.”
As the party heads into the 2020 election season, they will have two primaries in the U.S. Senate and House races.
Former state legislator Dan Ahlers, of Dell Rapids, and community activist Clara Hart, of Sioux Falls, will run to try to unseat incumbent Sen. Mike Rounds. Two newcomers, Whitney Raver, of Custer, and Brian Wirth, of Dell Rapids, are running to take on recently elected Rep. Dusty Johnson, the release states.
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