Ahlers selected as SD Democratic Party executive director
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The South Dakota Democratic Party has hired Dan Ahlers as their new executive director.
Ahlers is a small business owner from the Dell Rapids area. He and his wife, Amy, share two children.
Ahlers previously served in the South Dakota State Legislature, representing District 25 in the House of Representatives from 2007-2008 and then in the Senate from 2009-2010, and then he returned to the House from 2017 to 2018.
In 2018, Ahlers narrowly lost his reelection bid to Republican Tom Pischke.
In 2020, Ahlers was selected as the Democratic nominee to run against U.S. Senator Mike Rounds for his seat in Congress, but Ahlers was unsuccessful.
Ahlers said he would like to see the South Dakota Democratic Party grow.
“I think it presents a real unique opportunity in where the state party is at as far as an organization, its potential for growth. I’ve done a lot of work with nonprofits in the past, with our chamber, before and after school programs. I love being a part of those organizations, helping them to grow and achieve their fullest potential. I think there’s a lot the South Dakota Democratic Party can do here,” said Ahlers.
Seeing more people connect with state politics is also something Ahlers would like to see.
“I think there’s a real disconnect between elected officials and policies they promote and what the people of South Dakota want,” said Ahlers.
Ahlers said the South Dakota Democratic Party has also been underestimated, and democrats need to do a better job at defining themselves in the state.
“Often, we get defined by our opponents. We get defined by national media. The South Dakota Democratic Party is much more than that. When you look at all the issues that we passed here in South Dakota over the last few years, minimum wage, campaign finance reform, medicaid expansion, these have all been democratic priorities that our elected officials have fought for at all levels of government,” said Ahlers.
Ahlers joins Democratic State Chair Jennifer Slaight Hansen in leadership for the party.
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