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The state of South Dakota impacts the lives of its citizens daily. We drive on roads maintained by the Department of Transportation. We enjoy parks and recreational areas operated by the Department of Game, Fish and Parks. Many in need receive help from the Department of Social Services.

When people think about state government, though, I would bet most think about my role as governor or about the work of our legislators. It’s the elected officials who make headlines. On May 10, State Employee Recognition Day, I want the headlines to be about the real pride of the State of South Dakota: our state employees.

More than 7,000 South Dakotans are public servants under my direction in the Executive Branch, and I am surrounded by some of the hardest working and most dedicated employees to be found in any organization. Their jobs range from administrative assistant to attorney and receptionist to registered nurse.

Some of these positions are dangerous. Our Highway Patrol officers face unknown circumstances and unpredictable people every time they make a stop or are called to action. Correctional officers and child protective services representatives may face harrowing circumstances as well.

A team in the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications plays defense in a world war against hackers who attack our computer network daily. Just one infiltration could gain personal information of our citizens and lead to millions of dollars of expense.

Every day I notice the pride with which the custodial staff in the Capitol Building clean, polish and maintain our hallmark state government building for citizens and visitors. During "Christmas at the Capitol," these dedicated people alter their schedules to water almost 100 trees throughout the building and to ensure the Capitol looks its best seven days a week.

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These are just a few examples of more than 500 different kinds of jobs held in state government. This week, in honor of State Employee Recognition Day, take a moment to recognize our state employees and thank them for their service throughout the year.

No one is more invested in the future of South Dakota than the people who power it day to day. I hope you will share your appreciation with a state employee today.

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Dennis Daugaard is the governor of South Dakota.

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