Hey, Governor Daugaard! What’s that you said about liberal arts majors not being able to find good paying jobs? Kennedy Noem is a senior at South Dakota State University majoring in political science and minoring in economics. She hasn’t even finished her liberal arts degree, and she’s already doing a job that makes over forty grand a year… working for her mom’s transition team.
According to Open.SD.Gov, for helping “develop policy proposals for the upcoming legislative session, prepare Governor-elect Noem’s budget proposal, and identify and screen candidates for the Governor’s Cabinet and Staff,” Kennedy Noem is getting an annual salary of $40,716. That shows you what a liberal arts education will get you!
Or wait: maybe this is just more evidence that one doesn’t need a degree to get a good job in South Dakota… just connections with Republicans.
Kennedy Noem is on the low end of well-connected-Republican pay. Noem’s campaign scheduler, now transition scheduler Megan Goltz, is getting $45,000 per year from the state. Noem deputy campaign manager Herb Jones, former legislator and local figurehead for Big Tobacco’s successful vanquishing of IM 25 Steve Westra, and lobbyist and transition chair Matt McCaulley are each getting paid at a $96,000 annual rate for their transition labors. Fellow transitioner Liza Clark is getting $121,111.91 in her current position as commission of the Bureau of Finance and Management—given the work we expect for that salary level, it’s hard to imagine she has much time to contribute to the Noem transition. Open.SD.Gov does not list a salary for inauguration coordinator Beth Hollatz.
Those transition team members can all duke it out for the position of chief of staff, currently held by Tonnis Venhuizen. We pay Venhuizen $146,578.69 for his sage advice to Governor Daugaard, who, remarkably, only takes $113,560.73 a year. But the Governor also gets a nice house… which Governor-Elect Noem doesn’t plan to live in.