In 2021, the Legislature passed a law requiring the Attorney General’s office to hire a specialist to focus on the problem of missing and murdered indigenous people. Killer Jason Ravnsborg ignored that law for over a year. Attorney General Mark Vargo needed five months to get around to hiring an MMIP coordinator:
Allison Morrisette assumed her duties as the state’s inaugural Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Coordinator on Monday, Nov. 28. An enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe, Morrisette last served as Adult Diversion Coordinator for the Pennington County State’s Attorney. “I am excited to begin this work,” said Morrisette. “A lot of my relatives feel they are overlooked. My job with the Attorney General’s Office is to ensure that is not true. In my culture we live by the words, Mitakuye Oyasin, which means ‘all my relations’ or ‘we are all related.’ I carry that belief with me into this new role” [Office of the Attorney General, press release, 2022.11.30].
A.G. Vargo also announced the hiring of Mary Beth Holzwarth as the state Human Trafficking Coordinator (hmmm… might want to add “Prevention” to that title, just to make sure Republican yucks don’t get confused and start calling for hookups). Vargo also gives space in his official press release to let A.G.-Elect Marty Jackley express his approval of these hires:
Attorney General-elect Marty Jackley agreed: “Allison Morrisette’s proven ability to work with different law enforcement agencies and Native communities will be a powerful asset furthering our commitment to serving all South Dakotans,” he said. “Mary Beth Holzwarth’s long track record of advocating for children will be a needed and powerful tool in our fight against human trafficking” [Office of the A.G., 2022.11.30].
Nice to see the current A.G. follows the law better than the previous one, and nice to see that short-termer Vargo is helping the new0old guy transition smoothly back into the office.