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Ellsworth Task Force Leaders Announced

The Executive Board of the Legislature announced the Senate membership on the Ellsworth Task Force on April 23, 2024, which will explore current and future developments surrounding Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Senate members of the Ellsworth Task Force are Senator Michael Walsh (Chair) (D-35), Senator Red Dawn Foster (D-27), Senator Helene Duhamel (R-32), Senator Jean Hunhoff (R-18), and Crabtree.

The formation of this task force underscores South Dakota’s commitment to the continued success and viability of Ellsworth Air Force Base and the surrounding region.

Majority Leader Casey Crabtree expressed his confidence in the Senators selected to serve. “The Senate has made economic development in South Dakota a major priority,” said Majority Leader Crabtree. “We have the opportunity to strengthen America’s national security and grow prosperity for the surrounding region. These Senators understand the importance of Ellsworth Air Force Base to our state and nation.”

“Ellsworth Air Force Base is an integral part of the Rapid City community and a strategic location for our nation’s military,” said Task Force Chair Walsh. “I look forward to helping ensure that we as a state are doing everything possible to support the Ellsworth Air Force Base.”

Walsh was appointed to the vacant District 35 Senate seat by Governor Kristi Noem earlier this year. He is a Marine veteran, volunteers as a Key Spouse at Ellsworth Air Force Base, and is a volunteer boxing coach on the base. District 35 is home to the air base and Box Elder School District.

“I’m especially appreciative of Michael Walsh stepping up to chair the committee,” added Crabtree. “With the air base in his district along with past military service and time spent volunteering on base will help this group land the plane and stay on target.”

The Ellsworth Task Force will convene for its inaugural meeting with House members at an upcoming date. The Ellsworth Task Force plans to convene for meetings in Box Elder and Sioux Falls in the legislative interim period.


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