My deep South Dakota roots date back to late 1800’s with the arrival of my great-grand parents who homesteaded southwest of Woonsocket. For the past 39 years I have served as a Lutheran pastor, starting in parish ministry in rural Aberdeen, and later serving in Mitchell and Pierre. I was elected to serve two terms as the statewide Bishop of the South Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2007 and re-elected for a final term in 2013.
Wherever I have served, I have collaborated with the entire community in both civic and religious arenas. It is this approach that guided me as I led over 120,000 baptized members in 252 congregations as the Bishop of the ELCA South Dakota Synod, leading us through the recession of 2008-2010 with fiscal responsibility and discipline. I will take these same principles to Pierre as your next Republican Senator for District 14.
My wife of 44 years, LaDonna, is a college advisor and instructor. We are the parents of four children and have eleven grandchildren. I want your family and mine to stay and thrive in South Dakota.
As your next Senator for District 14 I will work hard to:
- Support a strong K-12, post-secondary and technical education system for South Dakota
- Keeping South Dakota a pro-business friendly state, recruiting new industry and working with existing businesses to expand and grow
- Workforce development and retention
- Always use the best information, data and scientific knowledge to make informed decisions
- Currently serving as the Interim Bishop for the Western North Dakota Synod, ELCA, until September. During this CoVid-19 pandemic I am working from home with my deployed staff, the Medical Community and the North Dakota Governor’s Office to guide a safe, appropriate response by our Pastors, Deacons, and Council Presidents as they work to meet the needs of local community members.
- Worked with President Rob Oliver, Augustana College, President Greg Henson Sioux Falls Seminary, the Rev Dr Chris Croghan of the Lutheran House of Studies to create the Kairos Seminary program which provides an economical, rigorous course of study to develop pastors to serve in rural congregations. 2012 -2019.
- Developed and implemented with President Betty Oldencamp of Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, the Interfaith Day at the Capital. 2017 & 2018.
- Domestic Ready Bench for the Conference of Bishops, member 2007-2019, chair 2013-2019. Advocacy for passing Farm Bills, SChip, Children’s Nutritional Reauthorization Act.
- Lutheran Social Service of South Dakota – member 2000-2007. LSS Board member as Bishop 2007-2019.
- LSS Foundation Board Member as Bishop 2007-2019.
- Chaired international task force to remodel and upgrade hospitals in Ngaoundere and Gara Bouli, Cameroon 2012-2017.
- In 2000, I was invited by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Task Force, “Call to Action to Prevent Suicide”, to be a keynote speaker in Portland, Oregon, addressing “Raising Public Awareness for Suicide Prevention.”
- As a licensed pilot, I developed a flying ministry in Pierre, helping individuals and families facing illness or crisis with transportation options or distance visitation. 2000-2007
- Pierre/Ft Pierre Suicide Prevention Committee member 1998-2007, Chair and Co-Spokesperson with Dr Tom Huber 1999-2007
- Chaired a task force for Governor William Janklow to create a Mentor program for young people who were returning from Boot Camp. 1998-1999.
- Lutherans Outdoors board members 1985-1993, chair of the board 1989-1993.
- Church and Society Committee of the South District, ALC member and Chair, 1982-87. Worked on passing Farm Bills, responding to natural disasters in and out of South Dakota.
Master of Divinity degree, Luther Theological Seminary (now Luther Seminary), St. Paul, Minnesota
Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, Oklahoma 1977
Multi-engine, single engine, Commercial Pilot’s License with Instrument Rating – 2011, Single Engine Commercial Pilot’s License with Instrument Rating – 2003, Instrument Rating – 2001, Private Pilot’s License – 1999.