Tony Venhuizen | Chief of Staff
Tony serves as Chief of Staff to Governor Kristi Noem and as a member of the Governor's executive team. Tony previously served as a Senior Advisor to Governor Noem, as Chief of Staff and Director of Policy and Communications to Governor Dennis Daugaard, and on the South Dakota Board of Regents during the administration of Governor Mike Rounds. He also worked in private law practice in Sioux Falls.
Tony is a graduate of Armour High School. He earned his bachelor's degree in history and political science from South Dakota State University, where he was awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Tony earned his law degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law, where he was an editor of The South Dakota Law Review.
Tony and his wife Sara, an electrical engineer, have three children, Henry, Elizabeth, and Madeleine. Tony serves on the Trail of Governors Foundation board. He enjoys studying the history of South Dakota governors and cheering on the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers.
Beth Hollatz | Deputy Chief of Staff
Beth Hollatz serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff and is a member of the Governor's executive team. Prior to her current role, Beth spent eight years with then-Congresswoman Noem, first as Northeast director and then as state director. Beth also worked on all four Kristi for Congress campaigns.
Beth is a Watertown native. She and her husband, Alan, owned Playhouse Family restaurant in Clark from 1985-2008. Beth and her husband currently live in Watertown, where they own Hollatz Dragline Service, and where Alan works as a crane operator. Beth and Alan have four grown daughters and nine grandchildren.
Beth enjoys, first and foremost, spending time with her family and grandchildren, refinishing furniture, detailing automobiles, and reading. She is also an avid Nebraska Cornhusker fan.
Liza Clark | Chief Financial Officer
Liza Clark serves as Governor Noem's Chief of Finance and as Commissioner of the Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM), and she is a member of the Governor's executive team. She is also one of the Governor's appointees to the South Dakota Retirement System Board of Trustees.
Liza previously served as BFM Commissioner in the Daugaard administration, as well as policy advisor on issues relating to labor and regulation, workforce development, human resources, and higher education, and before that as chief budget analyst with the Bureau of Finance and Management.
A South Dakota native, Liza graduated from Miller High School and holds a bachelor's degree in finance and economics from Northern State University and an master's of business administration from the University of South Dakota.
Liza and her husband Zach, a small business owner, live in Pierre with their two daughters. Liza enjoys spending time with her family, playing a variety of sports, and having fun on the Missouri River.
Steve Westra | Commissioner of Economic Development
Steve Westra serves as the Commissioner of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) and is a member of the Governor's executive team. Prior to joining the GOED, he served as the chief operating officer of Hegg Companies in Sioux Falls.
A native of Sioux Falls, Westra earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of South Dakota. He has spearheaded various public/private partnerships and has extensive experience in working with both in-state and out-of-state private equity and debt providers for the purpose of creating jobs in South Dakota. He served in the State House of Representatives from 2013-2016 and also served on the State Tourism Advisory Board.
Westra and his wife, Julie, have three children. When he's not busy at one of his children's activities, his family enjoys spending time boating.
Tom Hart | General Counsel
Tom Hart serves as General Counsel in the Governor's Office and also serves as Policy Advisor for the Department of Corrections and Department of Labor and Regulation. He previously served as deputy secretary of the Department of Labor and Regulation and as director of labor and management.
Tom grew up in Miller and graduated from Miller High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of South Dakota. Tom then worked in the financial sector for seven years in Chicago. He returned to South Dakota and earned a J.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Law.
Tom and his wife Jill, an optometrist, live in Pierre and have two children. Tom serves on the board of the Capital University Center. He enjoys outdoor activities including golfing, hiking, and downhill snow skiing.
Katie Hruska | Deputy General Counsel
Katie Hruska is Deputy General Counsel in the Governor's Office.
A native of Fargo, Katie earned her bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and her J.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Law. Katie was a law clerk for the Sixth Judicial Circuit for two years, assisting the Court on a variety of issues from election law and public utility disputes to workers' compensation appeals and insurance actions. Following that service, Katie worked in private practice until joining the Governor's Office in January 2019.
Katie and her husband, Eddie, who is also an attorney, live in Pierre. They enjoy hiking, the outdoors, and doing building renovations. Katie is a proud coach for the Oahe Elite Volleyball Club.
Kara Semmler | Senior Policy Advisor
Kara Semmler serves as a Senior Policy Advisor. Kara graduated from Hamline Law School in St. Paul MN, in 2004. From there, she sought out legal experience in both the private and public-sector.
Kara's legal work for state government began in 2006 when she moved to Pierre to work as an attorney for the Public Utilities Commission. While at the Commission, Kara represented the Commission Staff on the permitting of several large utility infrastructure projects and held a position on the Eastern Interconnection States Planning Council. Then, in 2012 Kara joined a Pierre, SD law firm where she served families and businesses statewide in the private practice of law.
Kara, a Sioux Falls native, now considers Pierre home. Kara and her husband Aaron have one son. The three of them enjoy nearly any activity that gets them outside.
Tiffany Sanderson | Senior Policy Advisor
Tiffany Sanderson serves as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Governor's Office, focusing on K-12 and higher education, Bureau of Human Resources, and Bureau of Information & Telecommunications. She also leads the Governor's workforce efforts.
Tiffany graduated from Lemmon High School and earned her bachelor's degree in agricultural education from South Dakota State University and her master's degree in human resource management from the University of South Dakota.
Tiffany's career has spanned education, youth development, and workforce development. Prior to her current role, she worked for the National FFA Organization in Indianapolis; a learning solutions company, Vivayic Inc., based in Lincoln, Nebraska; and the South Dakota Department of Education. While at the department, Tiffany led career and technical education, including the state's four technical institutes.
Tiffany lives in Pierre with her husband, Nathan, the executive director of a statewide trade organization, and their son, Carter, the director of their free time. She enjoys time with her family and friends, adventure in the outdoors, traveling, running, and supporting community efforts.
Melissa Klemann | Senior Policy Advisor
Melissa Klemann serves as a Policy Advisor in the Governor's Office for the Department of Social Services, the Department of Health, and the Department of Human Services. Before joining Governor Noem's office, Melissa worked for the Department of Labor and Regulation, most recently as the deputy director for the Division of Insurance, where she focused on health insurance.
Melissa grew up on a ranch south of Highmore and graduated from Highmore High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Colorado Technical University.
Melissa and her husband Boonie, live in Pierre with their three children. Her hobbies include hunting, gardening, being on the Missouri River, watching a variety of sports, and transporting kids to all their various activities.
Jason Simmons | Policy Advisor
Jason Simmons serves as Policy Advisor for the Governor's Office, focusing on the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Game Fish and Parks, the Department of the Military, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Bureau of Administration, and energy policy.
Prior to joining the Noem Administration, Jason worked as a fiscal analyst for the South Dakota Legislative Research Council and as a utilities analyst for the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.
Jason graduated from New Underwood High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary science, with a specialization in pre-professional health services, from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and a master's in business administration from the University of South Dakota. Jason enjoys spending time with friends, being outdoors, and working on his family's farm and ranch.
Bailey Carlsen | Deputy Policy Advisor
Bailey Carlsen serves as Deputy Policy Advisor to Governor Kristi Noem, assisting in a variety of areas including legislation, housing, tourism, and boards & commissions. Before joining the Noem Administration, she taught at Sichuan International Studies University in Chongqing, China for two years, was an accounting assistant for the South Dakota Auditor's Office, and held various positions within the Daugaard Administration, most recently serving as the Communications Director.
Bailey grew up in Ashley, North Dakota before completing middle and high school in Aberdeen. She attended Drake University in Iowa where she earned bachelor's degrees in sociology and in law, politics & society. She later moved to the United Kingdom to attend University College London, where she earned a master's degree in transnational studies.
Bailey enjoys spending time with her family and traveling. She recently reached her goal to visit forty countries by the time she turned thirty. Next, she hopes to visit the southern hemisphere and add two more continents to her list.
Kennedy Noem | Policy Analyst
Kennedy Noem serves as a Policy Analyst and the Federal Government Liaison for the Governor's Office. Previously, Kennedy served as a field office director for the Kristi For Governor Campaign and spent two summers interning on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Kennedy grew up in Northeast South Dakota near Watertown and graduated from Hamlin High School. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science and economics from South Dakota State University.
In her spare time, Kennedy enjoys hunting, hiking, going to the lake, or really anything that takes place outdoors. She is a loyal fan of the Minnesota Vikings and loves traveling across the country and around the world with family and friends.
Julie Muldoon | Constituent Services Manager
Julie serves as the Constituent Services Manager for Governor Kristi Noem. Prior to joining the Governor's Office, Julie worked for the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications as the Communications and Social Media Manager.
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Julie attended the University of Nebraska on a full athletic scholarship. She graduated with a degree in Business Management and was a four time All American gymnast.
Julie and her husband Jason, live in Pierre with their two daughters. Outside of work Julie enjoys spending time at the river with her family, coaching gymnastics, and helping small businesses throughout South Dakota with her family owned digital marketing business.
Megan Goltz | Scheduler
Megan Goltz serves as Director of Scheduling to Governor Kristi Noem.
Megan grew up near Estelline, where she graduated high school. She attended the University of Minnesota-Crookston, where she earned her bachelor's degree in animal science. Prior to joining the Governor's Office, Megan worked as a veterinary tech and a horse trainer. She also worked on the Kristi for Governor campaign in 2018.
In her free time, Megan enjoys rodeoing and hunting big game with her husband, Trapper.
Lana Blair | Executive Assistant
Lana Blair serves as Executive Assistant to Governor Kristi Noem. Before joining Governor Noem's office, Lana worked for the Department of Social Services as the Executive Assistant to the Cabinet Secretary. Prior to working for State Government, Lana worked many years in sales and marketing in Pierre, SD and Houston, TX.
Lana grew up in Sioux Falls and Aberdeen before attending college at South Dakota State University in Brookings. She earned a bachelor's degree in Printing Management/Business.
Lana and her husband Ron live in Pierre and enjoy traveling, time on the water, motorcycling, gardening and spending time with family, friends and most of all grandchildren.
Judy Davis | Executive Assistant
Judy Davis serves as an Executive Assistant for the Governor's Office. She serves as the Executive Assistant to Beth Hollatz, Maggie Seidel, Melissa Klemann, Tiffany Sanderson and Kennedy Noem. Before coming to the Governor's Office in 2011, Judy worked at the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office in Deadwood.
Judy is a Winner native and graduated from Winner High School. She went on to further her education at Western Dakota Technical Institute and graduated with a degree in computerized office careers.
Judy has two sons. In her free time, she enjoys cheering on the Pierre Governor athletic teams, spending time outdoors, working in her yard and spending time with family and friends.
Morgan Ness | Executive Assistant
Morgan Ness serves as an Executive Assistant to Tom Hart, Katie Hruska, Kristin Wileman, and Julie Muldoon.
Morgan previously served as an Executive Assistant in the Daugaard administration and was also Governor Daugaard's Correspondence Manager. Before joining the Governor's Office, Morgan served as the Executive Assistant for Secretary Marcia Hultman in the Department of Labor and Regulation.
Morgan grew up in Watertown where she graduated high school. She and her daughter moved to Pierre in 2013. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, golfing, and being outdoors.
Rachel Graves | Executive Assistant
Rachel Graves serves as Executive Assistant to Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden, Kara Semmler, Jason Simmons and Bailey Carlsen. Before coming to the Governor's Office, she worked for the Governor's Office of Economic Development and the Department of Tourism.
Rachel was born and raised in Pierre where she graduated from T. F. Riggs High School. She and her husband Matt have three boys. In her free time, Rachel enjoys reading, engaging in outdoor activities, spending time with family, and watching her boys' sporting events.
Travis Dovre | Fiscal Officer
Travis Dovre serves as the Fiscal Officer for Governor Kristi Noem's office, a role he also held in the Daugaard administration beginning in 2015. Wearing multiple hats, Travis also oversees the fiscal operations of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED), Department of Tourism, and Department of Tribal Relations. Previously, he worked for GOED as assistant finance director, loan officer, and grant administrator.
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 at 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 bachelor's degree in banking and financial services from Northern State University.
In his spare time, he and his wife Dawn enjoy outdoor activities, culinary experiments, and spending time with family and friends.
Lisa Lei | Receptionist
Lisa was born in Pierre and grew up in Nebraska. She attended Black Hills State University where she earned a bachelor's degrees in elementary and special education. Lisa taught in the South Dakota public school system before joining a large nonprofit social service agency in the Twin Cities as a program coordinator. Prior to joining the Governor's Office, Lisa worked as an executive assistant for the Department of Social Services.
Lisa and her husband Jeff Kroll have six children and are excited to become first time grandparents. They enjoy time fishing and relaxing on the Missouri River, walking their dogs and tackling home improvement projects.