The Senate Education committee gaveled in for the first time on Thursday.
The education-centric committee, which held an introductory meeting to meet Secretary of Education Melody Schoop and learn about the Department of Education, will hold much of ASBSD’s committee focus during session.
To understand the inner-workings of the committee, let’s get to know a little bit about the members.
Senate Education (convenes on Tuesday and Thursday at 7:45 a.m.)
A new Chair was appointed to the committee. Sen. Deb Soholot, who was a committee member last year, will replace former Sen. Mark Johnston.
The seven-member committee also added three new members in Senators Blake Curd, Chuck Jones and Chuck Welke. The trio replaces former Sen. Mark Johnston, who resigned from the legislature after last year’s session, and Senators Angie Buhl O’Donnell and Tim Rave, who were assigned to new committees this year.
Sen. Deb Soholt (District 14) enters her second year in the legislature ready to head the committee. Soholt, a registered nurse, chaired the 2013 interim study on domestic abuse.
Sen. Ryan Maher (District 28) is the committee’s Vice Chair. Sen. Maher, the Majority Whip for the Republican Party, is in his eighth year in the legislature.
Sen. Blake Curd (District 12), an orthopedic surgeon, was appointed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard last year to replace former Sen. Johnston. Sen Curd previously served one term in the legislature in 2008 and 2009.
Sen. Phil Jensen (District 33) makes 2014 his sixth in the legislature. Sen. Jensen is a small business owner from Rapid City.
Sen. Chuck Jones (District) is a governor appointee to replace former Sen. Russell Olson. Sen. Jones is the manager of Royal River Casino in Flandreau and also served previously as the Flandreau City Administrator.
Sen. Bruce Rampelberg (District 30) returns for the second year of his second term in the House. Rampelberg is a retiree from Rapid City.
Sen. Chuck Welke (District 2) comes to Pierre for his second year as a legislator. Sen. Welke is a retired educator who spent many years in the Warner School District.