Noem chooses Sanderson, Polak for cabinet

Capitol News Bureau
KELO SD capitol winter snow Pierre

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem announced Wednesday that her administration’s new secretary of education will be Tiffany Sanderson, while Lorraine Polak will be the new executive director for the South Dakota Housing Development Authority.

Sanderson will replace Education Secretary Ben Jones, who takes over December 9 as state historian and executive director for the South Dakota State Historical Society. Jones succeeds Jay Vogt, who is retiring. The historical society post is under the education secretary.

Polak will succeed Mark Lauseng, who retires January 8 as head of the housing authority. She currently is director of rental housing development there.

Sanderson has been a senior policy advisor to the governor, with a focus on K-12, higher education and workforce development. She is married to Nathan Sanderson, president for the South Dakota Retailers Association, who was a top aide in the previous Daugaard administration.

The governor also recently announced the coming retirement of Kelly Hepler as head of the state Game, Fish and Parks Department. She named deputy secretary Kevin Robling as interim secretary.

A similar change recently took place at the state Department of Transportation after the medical-related retirement of Darin Bergquist. Noem chose deputy secretary Joel Jundt as interim secretary.

She made similar moves when her administration took office January 2019, with interim tags applying temporarily to Jones, Human Services Secretary Shawnie Rechtenbaugh and others.

A look at the governor’s cabinet before the recent changes is here.

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