About Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin grew up on her family’s farm near Houghton, South Dakota. Raised in a family involved in government and public service, she attended college in Washington, D.C., earning undergraduate, graduate and law degrees from Georgetown University. During this time, she was a teaching fellow for university students and an instructor on the faculty of the law school.
After working for two federal judges and starting her legal career, she ran for Congress at the age of 31. While she was able to secure her party’s nomination in the 2002 primary election, former South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow won the general election. From there Herseth Sandlin transitioned to lead the South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation as its first executive director, working to strengthen cooperative education and enhance rural economic development.
In 2003, she taught a J-term course at Augustana as well as a course at South Dakota State University.
In 2004, she ran for Congress again and won a special election, going on to serve four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was the first woman elected to the U.S. House from South Dakota as well as the youngest woman serving in the House during that time. During her time in Congress, Herseth Sandlin specialized in developing policy important to South Dakota, including agriculture, renewable energy, veterans’ education and tribal affairs. She helped draft and enact the 2008 Farm Bill, the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010.
In 2010, she was named to TIME’s 40 Under 40 list of “New Civic Leaders.”
After leaving Congress in 2011, she became a partner in a Washington, D.C., law firm, building a public policy practice centered on bioenergy, food safety and nutrition. She also consulted for Raven Industries, a South Dakota-based, publicly-traded company. In 2012, she joined Raven as its first general counsel and vice president of corporate development. While at Raven, Herseth Sandlin has established a legal and regulatory compliance department, updated corporate policies and governance practices and negotiated the largest acquisition in the company’s history. As an executive officer for Raven, as well as a member of the CoBank Board of Directors, she is actively involved in strategic planning, budgeting, enterprise risk management and oversight of financial performance.
Herseth Sandlin and her husband, Max Sandlin, are parents to Zachary, age 8. They live in Sioux Falls and enjoy all things baseball and bluegrass.