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Olson resigns District 8 Senate seat

Posted: Tuesday, Aug 20th, 2013

State Senator Russell Olson of Madison has announced plans to resign from his seat in the South Dakota State Senate. Olson, a District 8 Republican who serves as Senate Majority Leader, is resigning to accept a position as CEO of Heartland Consumer Power District.

“Senator Olson will be very much missed,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Russ has been a strong majority leader and a well-respected leader for South Dakota and his district.”

Olson has served in the state Senate since 2009, after serving one term in the state House, and has been Senate Majority Leader since 2011. Olson represents District 8, which encompasses Lake, Miner, Moody and Sanborn counties.

He is a native of Egan and he and his wife Jennie live outside Madison with their four children, Ben, Anna, Victoria and Gordon.

Olson currently serves as Heartland’s manager of community and economic development. He will officially begin his duties as general manager October 1. He succeeds Mike McDowell, who is retiring after serving as general manager for the past nine years.

He is a graduate of the University of South Dakota, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in English and Political Science. He also earned his Master of Arts degree in Public Administration.

Olson joined Heartland in 2005 with a vision of increasing new business opportunities in customer communities. He has played a key role in various economic development and customer service programs, including creation of the growth incentive program, economic development grants and the Heartland Economic development Loan Program, or HELP Fund.

His resignation from the Senate is effective Sept. 30 and will create a vacancy that will be filled by gubernatorial appointment. The Governor is asking the public to nominate candidates to fill the position. Those wishing to offer nominations should contact Patrick Weber in the Office of the Governor at 605-773-5999. Nominations should include the candidate’s name, current address, telephone number and relevant background information.

Gov. Daugaard expects to name an appointee prior to the 2014 Legislative Session.

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