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Head of Governor's Office of Economic Development stepping down

Steve Westra (file)

The head of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development is stepping down.

Commissioner Steve Westra’s departure is effective May 22. The governor’s office made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

Westra took the job 2019 and oversaw the department through the pandemic.

“South Dakotans are building the strongest economy in America with the lowest unemployment rate of all time. Steve helped provide the level playing field to make that possible,” said Gov. Kristi Noem in a press release. “I want to thank him for his leadership on behalf of the people of South Dakota.”

Westra is the vice president of Sioux Falls Developer, Hegg Companies.

During Westra's tenure with the GOED, lawmakers moved a $200 million dollar housing program from his office into the South Dakota Housing Development Authority. 

Lawmakers have grown frustrated by the pace with which the program is getting rolled out. The rules for that program must be approved by the GOED.

Travis Dovre will serve as interim commissioner of the GOED.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.
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