Former gov's chief of staff appointed to board of economic devel - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Former gov's chief of staff appointed to board of economic development

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Governor Dennis Daugaard has appointed a former governor's chief of staff to the South Dakota Board of Economic Development—which is a concern for Democratic Party chair.

Rob Skjonsberg of Pierre served as Governor Mike Rounds' chief of staff in 2003 and served from 2007 to 2012 as senior vice president of public policy and corporate affairs at POET, one of the world's largest ethanol producers.

Skjonsberg, a Pierre native, is currently chief of staff at the Fischer-Rounds and Associates real estate and insurance firm, and is a partner in GSG Strategies consulting firm. Skjonsberg succeeds Mark Mickelson of Sioux Falls, who was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives.

"Rob has a wonderful mix of private sector experience and government service, and he will be a great addition on the Economic Development Board," Gov. Daugaard said in a news release.

However, South Dakota Democratic Party Chair Ben Nesselhuf sees the appointment as a problem. Nesselhuf issued a statement Thursday calling for Daugaard to rescind the appointment claiming it is merely a facade to help rounds gain a Senate seat in 2014.

"Do you believe in coincidences? The man running Gov. Mike Rounds' campaign for US Senate just got appointed by Governor Daugaard to help dole out state tax dollars for economic development," Nesselhuf said in a news release issued shortly after the governor's announcement.

If the appointment holds, Skjonsberg will take a seat at the state Board of Economic Development effective January 8.

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