Tony Venhuizen serves as Chief of Staff and is a member of the Governor's Executive Committee. Prior to his current role, Tony spent five years on the Board of Regents, served as Campaign Manager on the 2010 Daugaard for Governor campaign, and served in Governor's Office as Director of Policy and Communications.
Tony, a 2001 graduate of Armour High School, went on to earn a History and Political Science degree at SDSU, where he was awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Tony pursued his post-graduate work at The University of South Dakota, where he earned his JD from the School of Law.
Tony and his wife Sara, an electrical engineer, live in Pierre and have three children, Henry, Elizabeth, and Madeleine. Tony serves on the Trail of Governors Foundation board and enjoys studying the history of South Dakota governors. He also enjoys studying US History, in particular the American Presidency, and is a self-described Winston Churchill enthusiast. Tony's hobbies include reading, watching The West Wing and James Bond films, and following the Green Bay Packers and Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Dr. Nathan Sanderson is Governor Daugaard's Director of Policy and Operations. He manages policy development and implementation, oversees the operations of many state government departments, and serves as a member of the Governor's Executive Committee.
He previously served as a Policy Advisor in the Governor's Office and director of the Office of Agricultural Policy for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. Before joining the Department of Ag, Nathan was a history instructor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and served as project manager of the "Railroads and the Making of Modern America" digital project.
A South Dakota native, he graduated from Lake Preston High School and holds a B.S. in Agriculture Education from South Dakota State University, a M.A. in American History from the University of Indianapolis, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Nathan's hobbies include playing softball, curling, hunting and traveling with his wife Tiffany and son Carter.
Matt Konenkamp is a Policy Advisor to Governor Daugaard. He is responsible for issues relating to public safety, environment and natural resources, railroads, energy policy and federal relations. Matt is also a member of the Governor's Legislative Task Force and spends much of his time during the legislative session working with legislators from across the state on issues that arise during session.
Prior to joining the Daugaard administration, Matt practiced law in Rapid City handling complex cases that ranged from federal criminal matters to commercial construction litigation, and everything in between. Matt has received training in negotiation from Harvard Law School and alternative dispute resolution from the prestigious Strauss Institute.
Matt has served as the Secretary of the State Republican Party, the Vice-Chairman of the Pennington County Republicans, the President of the Rapid City Jaycees, the Director of Toys for Tots of Western South Dakota, and the Chairman of the YMCA Kids Campaign.
Matt and his wife Joslyn, live in Pierre and have four boys, Jack, Luke, Liam and Brody.
Hunter Roberts is a Policy Advisor to Governor Daugaard on issues relating to transportation, agriculture, game, fish, and parks, and energy. Prior to joining the Governor's Office he was responsible for business development in the energy industry along with advising the Governor on energy policy. Additionally, Hunter administered the state's Ethanol Infrastructure Incentive Program which has assisted the state in leading the nation in the transition to the use of more biofuels.
A South Dakota native, Hunter graduated from Pierre T.F. Riggs High School, holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a Civic Leadership minor from the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership, a Masters Degree in Business Administration and Juris Doctorate all from the University of South Dakota.
In addition to his duties with the Governor's Office of Economic Development, Hunter is a member of the South Dakota Bar Association and active partner in his family's farm and ranch operation, a fifth-generation family farm southeast of Ft. Pierre, SD. Hunter his wife, Stephanie, and two children live in Pierre. In his spare time, Hunter enjoys spending time with family at the farm, hunting, and traveling.
Kelsey Smith serves as Policy Advisor to Governor Daugaard, assisting in a variety of areas including legislation, workforce, tourism, human resources, the First Lady's initiatives, and health and human services.
She grew up in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, and graduated college from the University of South Dakota with bachelor's degrees in Political Science and Spanish and a Master's degree in Public Administration.
Kelsey enjoys reading and spending time outside, especially with her husband, Chase, on their ranch West River.
A.J. Franken serves as General Counsel to Governor Daugaard. Prior to joining the Daugaard Administration in 2015, A.J. worked as a private practice attorney in Pierre.
A.J. was born and raised in Watertown, SD and graduated from Watertown High School. He earned a B.A. in Government and International Affairs from Augustana College and a J.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Law. After law school, A.J. served as law clerk to the Honorable Chief Justice David Gilbertson.
A.J. and his wife, Liz, have two daughters. In his spare time, A.J. enjoys traveling, hunting, fishing, and spending time outdoors with his family.
Ellie Bailey serves as Deputy General Counsel to Governor Daugaard. Prior to joining the Daugaard Administration in January 2017, Ellie worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Litigation Division in Pierre.
Ellie was born and raised in Sioux Falls, SD. She earned a B.A. from the College of Saint Benedict and a J.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Law where she served as editor-in-chief of the South Dakota Law Review. Following law school, Ellie served as a law clerk to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
Kelsey Pritchard serves as Governor Daugaard's Communications Director. She previously held the position of Director of Constituent Services in the Daugaard Administration.
Kelsey grew up in Belle Fourche on her parents' ranch. She graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University in 2010 and then went on to the University of Dallas where she earned a Masters Degree in Politics.
Kelsey is the Music Coordinator at First United Methodist Church in Pierre where she leads the praise band. In her free time she enjoys walking her Mini Australian Shepherd, playing softball, and spending time with her husband and son.
Bailey Carlsen serves as a Deputy Policy Advisor, as well as Governor Daugaard's Director of Constituent Services. She also assists in areas relating to housing and Boards & Commissions. Prior to joining the Daugaard Administration she taught at Sichuan International Studies University in Chongqing, China for two years and was an Accounting Assistant for the South Dakota Auditor's Office.
Bailey grew up in Ashley, North Dakota before finishing out middle- and high-school in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She attended Drake University in Iowa where she earned B.A. degrees in both Sociology and Law, Politics & Society in 2012. She later moved to London to attend University College London, where she earned a Master's Degree in Transnational Studies in 2015.
Bailey enjoys spending time with her family and traveling. Her goal is to visit 40 countries by the time she is 30 - she is at 39.
Doreen Kayser serves as the Governor's Scheduler. She previously served as the executive assistant for the Lieutenant Governor, Senior Advisor, and First Lady in Governor Daugaard's Office. Before joining the Daugaard administration, Doreen worked in multiple state offices, including the Department of Social Services, Secretary of State's Office, Bureau of Personnel, and the Janklow administration.
Doreen was born in Wall, SD and grew up in Pierre, SD where she graduated high school. Doreen went on to attend Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN.
Doreen and her husband, Ron, have two sons- Weston and Seth. In her free time, Doreen enjoys gardening, reading, baking, being outdoors, and spending time with her family.
Judy Davis serves as an Administrative Assistant in the Daugaard Administration. Before joining the Daugaard Administration and moving to Pierre in 2011, Judy worked at the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office in Deadwood.
Judy was raised in Winner, SD where she graduated from Winner High School. Judy went on to further her education at Western Dakota Technical Institute and graduated with a degree in Computerized Office Careers.
Judy is blessed with two boys, Skyler and Spencer. In her free time, Judy enjoys outdoor activities and cheering on the Pierre Governors. Most importantly, she enjoys and cherishes the time spent with family and friends.
Rachel Graves was born and raised in Pierre where she graduated from Riggs High School. Rachel has worked in state government for three years. Before coming to the Governor's Office, she worked for the Governor's Office of Economic Development and the Department of Tourism.
Rachel and her husband Matt have three boys: Kelby, Ben and Riley. She is currently pursuing a Business Administration degree through Northern State University. In her free time, Rachel enjoys reading, engaging in outdoor activities, spending time with family, and watching her boys' sporting events.
Morgan Ness serves as an Executive Assistant for Chief of Staff Tony Venhuizen and Director of Policy and Operations Nathan Sanderson. Morgan is also the Governor's Correspondence Manager. Before joining the Daugaard administration, Morgan served as the Executive Assistant for Secretary Marcia Hultman in the Department of Labor and Regulation.
Morgan grew up in Watertown, South Dakota, where she graduated high school. She and her daughter Boston moved to Pierre in 2013. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, golfing, and being outdoors.
Baily Schmidt serves as Executive Assistant to Governor Daugaard. Prior to joining the Daugaard Administration in May 2018, Baily worked as an Administrative Assistant in the Office of the State Auditor.
Baily was born and raised in Willow Lake, SD. She studied at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, SD and earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Northern State University. Baily likes to spend her free time outdoors and enjoys camping, travelling, and hiking. Her time indoors is often spent with her cat, Nevada.
Laura Mehlhaff serves as a receptionist in the Governor's main office. Before joining Governor Daugaard's staff, Laura worked in multiple state offices including the Bureau of Human Resources, Board of Regents, Department of Labor and Governor Mickelson's Administration.
Laura grew up in Elk Point where she graduated from high school. She attended the University of South Dakota at Vermillion and was a small business owner for seven years in Eureka, South Dakota.
Laura has three children - Michael, Jessica and Louis. She plays bass clarinet with the Capitol City Band and has been a member of the St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church Folk Group for over 30 years. Laura enjoys spending time with her grandchildren - Daphne, Dexter and Johnny Cash.
Travis Dovre serves as the Fiscal Officer for Governor Dennis Daugaard's office. Prior to taking on this role, he worked for the Department of Labor and Regulation as a Financial Institution Examiner. Travis also has previous state government finance experience working for the Governor's Office of Economic Development as Assistant Finance Director, Grant Administrator and Loan Officer.
Travis grew up in Spearfish where he developed a love for the outdoors, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, and graduated high school. After learning the welding trade from Lake Area Technical Institute, he spent several years working in Watertown and served as a member of the South Dakota Army National Guard in the 147th Field Artillery. After relocating to Pierre in 2004, Travis earned a degree in Banking and Financial Services from Northern State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude as one of the top students of the Business School.
Travis volunteers for Junior Achievement and the Boy Scouts. In his spare time, he and his wife Dawn enjoy outdoor activities, culinary experiments, and spending time with family and friends.
Linda Fridley serves as the Residence Manager for Governor and First Lady Daugaard.
Linda grew up in Pierre, SD, where she graduated high school. She is married with two adult children.
Linda enjoys camping, water skiing, and spending time with her family.