State-Tribal Relations committee names new members, Bordeaux left out

State Rep. Shawn Bordeaux (D-Mission) has been removed from the State-Tribal Relations committee by Speaker Spencer Gosch after the two sparred over leadership positions on the committee.
South Dakota State Legislature at the Capitol building in Pierre, S.D.
South Dakota State Legislature at the Capitol building in Pierre, S.D.(KOTA)
Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 12:07 PM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota State-Tribal Relations committee has officially been assigned new members, and the former co-chair of that committee will no longer be a part of it.

However, the committee is not just moving forward with new leadership, but removing former Committee Co-Chairman, State Rep. Shawn Bordeaux (D-Mission), all together.

The decision to remove Bordeaux from the committee by Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham) comes after the two argued over if Bordeaux was still the co-chair of the committee, and by extension, if he was still able to scheduled committee hearings.

When asked about the decision by Gosch to remove him from the committee, Bordeaux said that the decision had to do with more ”institutional racism.”

“I’ll bring legislation to remove those (appointment) powers, and give appointments to the Executive Committee,” Bordeaux continued.

“South Dakota is a unique state in that we have multiple sovereign nations within our borders,” Gosch said in a statement. “We need to work together in moving forward with what’s right for all of South Dakota. I am confident that the new members of the State-Tribal Relations committee share that goal and will do some great things for our people.”

State Rep. Oren Lesmeister (D-Parade) will take Bordeaux’s place on the committee. He will be joined by State Reps. Steve Haugaard (R-Sioux Falls), Tony Randolph (R-Rapid City), Peri Pourier (D-Pine Ridge), and Co-Chair Tamara St. John (R-Sisseton). State Sen. Troy Heinert (D-Mission) will be the co-chair from the Senate. All five senators who previously served on the committee will stay the same.

Bordeaux becomes one of two tribal members not serving on the State-Tribal Relations committee. Currently, there are not any committee meetings scheduled with the new leadership in place.