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Public input sought for replacement of SD Republican Senator

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Kristi Noem is asking for public input on naming a replacement for Republican Sen. Jessica Castleberry, who resigned on Thursday, August 17, 2023

In a news release Friday, Noem’s office asked for nomination materials to be submitted by September 18.

“Those wishing to be considered for the Senate vacancy, or to offer nominations, should email Ben Koisti at [email protected]. Nominations should include the candidate’s name, current physical address, resume, cover letter and letters of recommendation,” Noem’s news release said.

Castleberry was appointed by Noem to fill the term of Lyndi DiSanto who resigned in 2019. Castleberry’s appointment became effective on January 1, 2020, and she served during the 2020 session. She was formally elected in November 2020 and re-elected in 2022.

She became the center of controversy when it was learned that she had received COVID-19 financial assistance for her pre-school business after the 2020 South Dakota Supreme Court advisory warned state lawmakers that it is unconstitutional for them to accept federal pandemic funding.

Last week, Attorney General Marty Jackley announced a resolution has been reached with Castleberry. He said an agreement has been reached for her to repay just over $499,000 of the COVID-19 funds that went to her business, Little Nest Preschool, along with interest. Another portion of the funds, about $100,000, went directly to families in need and won’t be sought to be repaid by the state, Jackley said.

Minutes after the news conference ended, Castleberry, who represented District 35 in eastern Rapid City, announced her resignation.

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