Cronin resigns Senate, Lake replaces and Noem looks to fill an opening in SD’s House

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre map locator South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Justin Cronin has stepped down from his seat in the South Dakota Senate and Governor Kristi Noem announced Wednesday she had picked a House member, Representative John Lake, to replace him.

Both men are Republicans from the Gettysburg area in Potter County.

Cronin, 38, served eight years in the House and now was in his third year in the Senate.

He was vice-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee that helps oversee state government’s budget. He also was vice-chairman of the Senate Government Operations and Audit Committee that serves as a watchdog on state departments and offices.

Lake, 58, is in his third year in the Legislature. He served on two House committees during the 2019 session: Agriculture and Natural Resources, where he was vice-chairman, and Commerce and Energy.

The district’s third legislator is Representative Spencer Gosch, a Glenham Republican serving his third year in the House. Gosch, 35, is the No. 2 presiding officer in the House.

Cronin’s father, Dan, farmed in the Gettysburg area. Rod Burwell worked on the farm. Dan Cronin and Rod Burwell purchased the John Deere dealership at Gettysburg in 1988 and formed C & B Operations LLC. Dan died in 1999 and son Matt Cronin became president, according to the C & B website’s history section, and Rod died in 2015 and son Peter Burwell became chairman. The company now has 37 dealerships in five states.

“It’s been the honor of a lifetime to represent District 23 in our statehouse,” Cronin said in the governor’s announcement. “I’ve realized that I need to take a step back and focus my time on my family, health, and career.”

Lake said in the announcement that he was “grateful for the opportunity” to continue serving.

Noem said she wants to collaborate in filling the House vacancy. She said in the statement it’s important that District 23 continue to have “service-first people who are willing to tackle big things for their communities.”

People wanting to be considered or offering nominations may email Rachel Graves at by September 10. They should provide the nominee’s name, current address, telephone number and relevant background information, the statement said.

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