Representative Will Mortenson talks about his role as House Majority Leader

PIERRE, S.D.(DRGNews)- District 24 Representative Will Mortenson of Pierre has been chosen to serve as the House Majority Leader during South Dakota’s 2023 legislative session.

It’s a task he says he’s looking forward to.

According to Tony Venhuizen’s “SoDak Governors” blog, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe member Mortenson is, “The first tribal member in state history to serve as majority leader in either house, or to lead a Republican caucus. He is also the youngest Republican caucus leader in state history.”

Also according to Venhuizen’s website, Mortenson is the third party floor leader to come from Pierre. Pierre joins Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen and Madison as cities producing at least three party floor leaders. Others leaders from Pierre are:

  • Homer Harding, who was the longest serving floor leader in state history serving as senate minority leader in 1975-76 and majority leader from 1977-88
  • Mike Rounds, who was senate majority leader from 1995-2000.

Venhuizen is a former chief of staff for both Governors Dennis Daugaard and Kristi Noem. He currently serves on the South Dakota Board of Regents, the Trail of Governors board and is a Representative-elect for District 13. This will be his first term as a legislator.

Republicans will have 63 of the 70 seats in the South Dakota House and 31 of the 35 seats in the state Senate next session.