Governor Noem shakes up top staff

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Gov Kristi Noem Headshot

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem announced changes in several top spots on her staff Monday evening.

Joshua Shields is leaving as her Chief of Staff. Emily Kiel is leaving as her Communications Director.

Maggie Seidel is joining as policy director and senior adviser. She previously was vice president of public affairs and policy communications for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association.

Other experience included the Charles Koch Institute, Consumer Bankers Association and the staffs of conservative members of Congress from Nebraska, Virginia, Texas and New Jersey.

Noem, a Republican former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, won election for governor in November 2018 and took office January 5.

Also returning on a temporary basis will be Tony Venhuizen. He served eight years on the senior staff for the prior governor, Dennis Daugaard, including the final four years as chief of staff.

Venhuizen, who is married to one of Daugaard’s daughters, was on Noem’s staff during the 2019 legislative session and will hold those duties again.

Shields’ annual salary was listed at $140,375. That is the same amount now listed for Seidel.

Kiel’s salary was shown at $76,875. Venhuizen didn’t have a salary listed for his new post. He is a member of the Redstone law firm in Sioux Falls led by former legislator Matthew McCaulley.

Redstone has five contracts with various agencies in state government for the current fiscal year that total $277,775. A previous state salary for Venhuizen was listed at $127,459.74.

The announcement came on a day when the governor had granted administrative leave for the Christmas holiday and didn’t say where Shields and Kiel were going for their next jobs.

“During the transition, Seidel will assist with the day-to-day management of the communications team,” the announcement said. 

Shields moved up to Chief of Staff October 1, succeeding Herb Jones. Shields previously was chief of communications and policy development.

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