State Representative Dan Dryden has died after a battle with cancer. Dryden represented District 34, which encompasses part of Rapid City. Colleagues remember Dryden as a good listener and a great lawmaker.
Governor Dennis Daugaard says Representative Dan Dryden’s background as a business manager for Rapid City schools made him an education finance expert.
Dryden was first elected to the state Legislature in 2011. He rose through the ranks and served as the vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
Representative Justin Cronin was a close friend. Cronin describes Dryden as a statesman.
“He made a lot of decisions that were not necessarily popular, they were not necessarily along party lines. But Dan knew threw his work and with working with others that those decisions were the best decisions for the state of South Dakota.
“When you take a look through Dan’s eyes and get to know him well enough, you realize he makes decisions, not only on his gut," Cronin says. "But his past financial background of working with Rapid City Schools and business for thirty plus years, and also that it was just the right decision to make,” Cronin says.
Dryden was among Republican lawmakers who voted in favor of the teacher pay increase earlier this year.
He was up for reelection in District 34, against Democratic candidate Steve Stenson. The deadline to withdraw from a legislative race has passed. Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says Dryden’s name remains on the ballot, since early voting starts in a few weeks.
“If he wins, what would happen then is that the governor would end up, by state law, appointing a replacement, and that replacement would not be able to be done until after the canvas, the official election canvas, which is a week after the general election,” Krebs says. “At that time the governor would then be able to appoint for Dan Dryden’s replacement.”
Dryden was 72 years old. Dryden’s funeral is set for Friday in Rapid City. Governor Daugaard says flags will fly at half-staff that day.