PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Republican Rep. Jess Olson, of Rapid City, announced Monday that she has resigned from her South Dakota House seat effective immediately, citing unspecified ongoing health issues.
“It has been my platform to support children and families and address workforce issues across South Dakota,” Olson said in a Facebook post. “While we have more work to do, I am proud of the legislation we have been able to pass supporting adoptive and foster families and increasing access to employment opportunities.”
Olson has represented District 34 since 2019. She helped enact legislation this year to clean up references in South Dakota statutes and the state Constitution that referred to the governor as a “he,” to reflect that South Dakota has its first woman governor.
“We have a long history of strong female leaders in South Dakota,” Olson said in a statement at the time. “It’s time for our laws and Constitution to reflect the leaders that the people of South Dakota have elected to represent them.”
Olson was among a minority of representatives this year to vote against a bill limiting several forms of gender-affirming medical care for minors. She also broke with fellow Republicans in voting against a bill to restrict drag shows. Last year she voted against a bill to limit teaching on critical race theory. She sponsored legislation that became law this year to protect women from being held criminally liable if they get an abortion.
Olson did not specify her health problems but said she’d been managing them “for some time,” and that her focus for now needs to be on her health care and family.
“A break is not easy but necessary, and I look forward to the possibility of returning to public service in the future,” she wrote.
Gov. Kristi Noem wished her a speedy recovery and requested public input on filling her vacant seat.
Those wishing to be considered 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. Nomination materials are due by Dec. 5.