Election 2018 is heating up and Thursday Billy Sutton announced his running mate in the race for the South Dakota's governor's office. Sutton announced that Sioux Falls business woman Michelle Lavallee will join his campaign as candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

“Michelle brings balance and bipartisanship to our campaign. She’s an urban, fiscally conservative, business leader with years of experience in South Dakota’s private and public sector,” Sutton said in a statement. “She’s not a career politician but instead is a successful, well-respected business woman with deep-rooted South Dakota values who has the background and experience to help drive my plan to build a stronger South Dakota economy.”

The gubernatorial candidate says that Lavallee has executive level experience in energy, higher education, healthcare, ag manufacturing, financial services, business strategy, and branding. She has held management roles at Raven Industries, Avera McKennan Hospital, and the University of South Dakota. The campaign adds that she has served on many state-wide, civic, and nonprofit boards and committees including the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce, and Washington Pavilion Arts & Sciences.

Michelle Lavallee


Lavallee hails from a four-generation farming and ranching family and earned her MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Business. She and her husband of 34 years, Paul Lavallee, reside in Sioux Falls and Huron. A longtime Republican, Lavallee recently changed her party affiliation in order to join Sutton’s ticket.

“Billie’s authenticity, genuine passion for making South Dakota stronger, and push to change business as usual in state government drew me to consider this move from the private sector to public service,” Lavallee said in a statement.  “I’ve been a Republican most of my life, but I realize Billie’s beliefs and values are South Dakota values I also share. South Dakota is ready to break from the status quo and politics as usual, regardless of political affiliation.”

The former professional rodeo rider and South Dakota Senate Minority Leader, is facing off against Republican Kristi Noem in the race for Governor of South Dakota in the general election on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.


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