Emily Kiel moves to governor’s communications staff

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre Capitol building legislature

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A leading voice for years at the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department is moving across the street this month to the Capitol, where she’ll be communications director for Governor Kristi Noem.

Emily Kiel started work March 10, 2014, for the department. She sent a tweet Thursday saying her last day at Game, Fish and Parks is May 17.

A check of job vacancies showed her position as GFP’s strategic communications director was listed on May 9.

Joshua Shields explained Thursday what’s happening. He has been communications director for Noem since she took office January 5. He said he’s getting a new title — chief of policy and communications — and will continue to oversee the communications team and continue to serve on the governor’s executive team.

“After session, we assessed our staffing needs and determined that another communications professional was needed to help round out the team and ensure we can deliver on Governor Noem’s commitment to be the most connected governor our state’s ever had,” Shields said in an email.

He continued, “Emily has been doing great work at GF&P so we’re excited that she’ll be bringing her talents to the Governor’s Office”

Shields said Kristin Wileman will remain the primary point of contact for media. He said Kiel will help on some of the larger communications initiatives and oversee constituent correspondence.

Kiel’s current salary at GFP is $68,734.55. Wileman’s current salary at the governor’s office is $60,000. Shields is paid $135,000.

Kiel recently helped coordinate the habitat summit that Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kelly Hepler hosted. The governor spoke at the event and answered participants’ questions.

Chris Hull, a member of the department’s communications office, will handle news media contacts during the interim, according to Kiel. Hull’s salary is $59,710.43.

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