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Pennington County Democrats Elect New Officers, Charge Forth in Happy Unity

I don’t know what all the sturm und drang is in Minnehaha County, but the Pennington County Democrats seem have conducted their election of new party officers with comity, enthusiasm, and hope. The Penn Dems got together last week and elected the following officers:

  • Chair: Leon Fenhaus
  • Vice-Chair: Holly Perli
  • Secretary: Katrina Wilke
  • Treasurer: Mary Kelley
  • State Committeewoman: Silvia Christen
  • State Commiteeeman: Tom Katus

That sounds like a nice mix of friendly West River Democrats, well-equipped to recruit voters and candidates to break the GOP stranglehold on Black Hills Legislative seats.

The Penn Dems offer this assessment of their pleasant little election:

“Pennington County Democrats will be in excellent hands with Leon and Holly providing new energy, enthusiasm, and leadership,” [outgoing chair Mike] Wilson said. “I hope they are successful in continuing to build a two-party system in this county.”

Fenhaus expressed his gratitude to Wilson for his work in strengthening the Pennington County Democrats during his tenure. “With the help of the Penn Dems, I plan to continue his efforts to end single party control and restore the democratic process by harnessing the post 2014 election energy through education, voter registration, candidate recruitment and support of the referendum and initiative processes,” he said.

Former State Senator Tom Katus said he is “pleased that two SD Progress leaders were candidates for secretary of the Pennington County Democrats. In a close race, Katrina Wilke was elected, closely followed by MRC Miller. It is great to see SDP’s young leadership being acknowledged and supported by the county Democrats. As secretary, among other duties, Ms. Wilke will coordinate communications for the Penn Dems. Thus, she will be a leading voice of the second largest county party in the state.”

…Ritchie Nordstrom, Rapid City Alderman for Ward 2, said “I’m looking forward to working with Leon and helping him grow the county party. Jokingly, my Republican friends tell me about the Party meeting in such a small place. Perhaps Leon can help us move to a larger room.”

Pennington County Democrats meet the fourth Tuesday of each month from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at the Downtown Rapid City Public Library. All are welcome to attend. Interested individuals can contact the Pennington County Democratic Party via email at, or on Facebook [Pennington County Democrats, press release, 2015.04.11].

Old guard getting along with vanguard, party establishment getting along with new organization South Dakota Progress—gee, getting along and focusing on our common goal of defending democracy and the general welfare isn’t that hard, is it?



  1. Darleen 2015-04-12 12:33

    The next big step is a West River Democrats quarterly meeting. The untapped opportunity from coordinating the county parties out here can make the difference between winning and losing races in West River. Voter registration drive coordination? Call Bank syncs? So much potential…

  2. Curt 2015-04-12 19:37

    Not a real flattering review of the Minnehaha Co Dems by Mr Ellis. Anyone else care to take a shot at objective analysis or commentary?

  3. larry kurtz 2015-04-12 19:44

    $20 says Ellis is bound for Colorado very shortly.

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