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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019                             
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

Hanson elected to lead PUC

PIERRE, S.D. – Commissioner Gary Hanson was elected chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission at the commission’s regular meeting on Jan. 8, 2019, in Pierre, South Dakota. This will be Hanson’s sixth time serving as the commission’s chair, having previously held the position in 2014, 2013, 2011, 2008 and 2005. Commissioner Chris Nelson was elected vice chairman. The third member of the panel is Commissioner Kristie Fiegen.

“I enjoy serving the public in this role very much. It’s extremely interesting and rewarding,” said Hanson. “I am very, very proud of the work my fellow commissioners and I have done in the last year. I appreciate their confidence in me,” he stated.

Hanson, currently serving his third, six-year term on the commission, was first elected to the PUC in 2002 and was re-elected in 2008 and 2014. He represents South Dakota on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Committee on Electricity, is vice president of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference and has held many additional leadership positions with other utility organizations.

Nelson was appointed to the PUC in 2011 by Gov. Dennis Daugaard. South Dakota voters elected him to continue his service for the remaining four years of his term in 2012 and elected him to a full, six-year term in 2016. Nelson served as the commission’s chairman in 2012, 2015 and 2016. He is on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the National Regulatory Research Institute and was appointed to the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service by the Federal Communications Commission.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to serve South Dakotans alongside Commissioners Hanson and Fiegen. I’m excited about the opportunity for us to do good work for the people of our state,” said Nelson.

Fiegen was also appointed to the commission in 2011 by Gov. Dennis Daugaard. She was elected to her first, full term in 2012 and was re-elected in 2018. Fiegen, who was the commission chair in 2017 and 2018, currently serves as secretary/treasurer of the Southwest Power Pool's Regional State Committee and serves on several committees relating to natural gas and public safety.

Fiegen reflected on Hanson’s experience and contributions to the commission. “Not only does he bring a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to the commission, but he has earned the respect of South Dakotans by being re-elected over and over,” Fiegen stated. “It is a delight to work with this team,” she concluded.

Prior to joining the PUC, all three commissioners had a long history of public service. Hanson served as the mayor of Sioux Falls from 1994 to 2002 and served as a South Dakota state senator for three terms. Nelson was South Dakota’s secretary of state from 2003 to 2011 and Fiegen was president of Junior Achievement of South Dakota for 17 years and served four terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives.


MEDIA NOTE: Download photos of PUC Commissioners at