Former Sioux Falls Mayor Gary Hanson Elected to Lead Public Utilities Commission
PIERRE, S.D. – Commissioner Gary Hanson was elected chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission at the commission’s regular meeting on January 8 in Pierre, South Dakota. This will be Hanson’s sixth time serving as the commission’s chair having previously held the position in 2014, 2013, 2011, 2008 and 2005.
“I enjoy serving the public in this role very much. It’s extremely interesting and rewarding,” said Hanson. “I am very, very proud of the work my fellow commissioners and I have done in the last year. I appreciate their confidence in me,” he stated.
Commissioner Chris Nelson was elected vice chairman. The third member of the panel is Commissioner Kristie Fiegen.
Hanson was first elected to the PUC in 2002 and was re-elected in 2008 and 2014. He represents South Dakota on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Committee on Electricity, is vice president of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference and has held many additional leadership positions with other utility organizations.
Nelson was appointed to the PUC in 2011 by Governor Dennis Daugaard. South Dakota voters elected him to continue his service for the remaining four years of his term in 2012 and elected him to a full, six-year term in 2016.
Fiegen was also appointed to the commission in 2011 by Governor Dennis Daugaard. She was elected to her first, full term in 2012 and was re-elected in 2018.
Prior to joining the PUC, all three commissioners had a long history of public service. Hanson served as the mayor of Sioux Falls from 1994 to 2002 and served as a South Dakota state senator for three terms. Nelson was South Dakota’s secretary of state from 2003 to 2011 and Fiegen was president of Junior Achievement of South Dakota for 17 years and served four terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives.