Daugaard taps Vern Larson for School & Public Lands (UPDATED)

Gov. Dennis Daugaard picked veteran government official Vern Larson to fill the remainder of Jarrod Johnson’s term as commissioner of School and Public Lands when Johnson resigns this August.

Larson, 64, has been elected to statewide office seven eight times, including five six terms as state auditor and two terms as state treasurer.

But Larson says he’ll just be a placeholder commissioner and won’t seek a full term in the 2014 election.

"I am not going to be a candidate," Larson said. "There are already people that were expressing interest in the job. I don’t think it’s my place to run for the job in (a situation) like that."

State Rep. Jim Bolin is the only announced candidate for the school and public lands position in 2014, though several other people are rumored to be interested.

Bolin said Daugaard “made an excellent choice” with Larson, whom he called “very competent. He also applauded the choice of someone who wouldn’t seek reelection.

"It’s the right move to pick someone who’s not going to run in the future, who wouldn’t use it as a springboard," Bolin said.

Johnson previously announced he would resign late this summer to spend more time with his family.

Larson said it was “an easy decision” to accept Daugaard’s offer to be the commissioner of school and public lands, the third constitutional office Larson will have filled.

He said his experience as auditor and treasurer will help him hit the ground running when he takes over from Johnson. Historically there have been several attempts to combine the offices of Treasurer and School and Public Lands.