By Haleigh Bebbington
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard received a standing ovation from a pumped-up crowd of Girls State delegates before his speech even began on Friday morning in Aalfs Auditorium Slagle Hall.
Daugaard spoke with the delegates about what it means to find grit and the importance of staying in South Dakota government.
“Girls State is a great opportunity for you to learn about local government — city, county, state government,” Daugaard said. “It’s a great way to be immersed in how government works at all levels.”
Daugaard said watching his two daughters go through the Girls State process helped him see what a good opportunity it was for young women interested in government.
Daugaard also talked about how important it is to be a working part of the government and stay informed.
“That’s something we need in America. There are too many people that do not follow, do not pay attention to the way governments are created and how they work,” Duagaard said.
Cleveland delegate Adrian Hoisington said she believes this statement is less true in South Dakota, but that it is still relevant to the rest of America
“I think in other areas people are just too caught up in their job and in their families,” Hoisington said.
Duagaard also said he feels that many Americans do not fully appreciate the rights that come from a democracy. He said being able to choose our government officials and to elect new ones when people disagree with their ideas is a great honor.
“That’s something not all countries in the world have that we should value and appreciate,” he said.
Cleveland delegate Marya Mclaughlin said she agrees with Daugaard in that we need to value democracy.
“There’s some countries where they’re less fortunate, and America, I definitely think, takes that for granted a little bit,” Mclaughlin said.
Daugaard stressed the importance of leaders having what he calls “true grit,” especially in the face of failures.
He said a true leader is someone who will always persevere and that he gains inspiration from his wife, Linda.
“Linda is one of twelve children,” Daugaard said. “She’s not the oldest among them… but I really think she’s among the leaders of the family. Maybe she’s the leader.”
Daugaard said someone who has true grit is someone who doesn’t give up, even if they fail multiple times. He used several people such as George Ferris (inventor of the ferris wheel), and Gustave Eiffel (whose company built the Eiffel Tower) to show that failure happens even to the best people.
“We must believe that failure is not a permanent condition.”
Daugaard concluded his speech by telling Girls State delegates why they should not only stay involved in government, but should stay involved in South Dakota government, too.
“We need leaders like you in South Dakota,” Daugaard said.