South Dakota’s sometimes contentious House Republican caucus has reelected most of its top leaders for another two years.
Rep. David Lust, R-Rapid City, was chosen for a second term as majority leader of the state House Saturday morning at a meeting in Pierre of the recently elected House Republicans.
The current speaker pro tempore, Rep. Brian Gosch of Rapid City, was chosen to be the new Speaker of the House, a traditional promotion for the speaker pro tempore.
UPDATE: The Speaker, of course, is chosen by the full House, but the majority party’s choice almost always carries the day — especially with Republicans holding a supermajority.
The assistant majority leader, Rep. Justin Cronin of Gettysburg, was reelected to his post. So was one of the whips — a junior leadership post — Rep. Jacqueline Sly, R-Rapid City.
Rep. Dean Wink, R-Howes, was elected as the new speaker pro tempore. He beat Rep. Hal Wick, R-Sioux Falls, a current whip who pursued the speaker pro tempore job this time.
Aside from Sly, there were three new leaders elected as whips: Rep. Scott Munsterman, R-Brookings, Rep. Kristin Conzet, R-Rapid City, and Rep. Jon Hansen, R-Sioux Falls.
Conzet has served on the Legislature’s executive board but will be a first-time whip.
Rep. Charlie Hoffman of Eureka, a current whip who won another seat in the Legislature this year, was not elected to a leadership post Saturday.
The House leadership team has a decided West River appearance. Lust, Gosch, Sly and Conzet are all from Rapid City, and Wink lives in Meade County. Cronin lives in the center of the state, and only Hansen and Munsterman live in the Interstate 29 corridor.
Lust predicted the biggest challenges facing the new House leadership team would be budgetary, as they try to grapple with new spending requirements and find money to pay for priorities.
The House Republicans were the last caucus in the South Dakota Legislature to choose their leaders, after the Senate Republicans on Monday and both Democratic caucuses Friday evening. All four caucus leaders from the last legislative session were reelected.