On January 11th, Holli, Ian, and I tripped to Pierre, SD, for the Swearing-In of the Speaker of the House. Why would we make this 4 hour drive through the frozen, South Dakota nothingness? For the Missouri River? Nope! For Val Rausch, newly-sworn Speaker of the House, of course (It is EMBARRASSING how long it took you to answer. I practically had to spell it out for you. Actually, I literally had to spell it out for you; that’s what writing is.)! It was a pretty momentous occasion for the Rausch family, and I’m really glad it worked out for us to be there. The travel could have been nicer. It was a four-hour drive up and a five-hour drive back, thanks to fussy babies, blowing snow, and meals. Still, not many people can say, “My dad is the South Dakota Speaker of the House this year!” In fact, exactly three other people can say that, which makes us an exclusive, related group.
I’ve always loved the tradition and trappings of the State Capitol. The architecture is ornate, the ceremony is thoughtful, and the people are still South Dakota friendly. We sat in the galley, at least until Ian became a little too boisterous for the company we were keeping. Then he and Holli took respite near the rotunda, so he could blow off some baby-steam. After the swearing-in, we got an exclusive pass into the Speaker of the House’s executive office, complete with granite desktop. (Gee, I wonder where he got that idea.) We also met the Speaker of the House’s secretary, took some of the Speaker of the House’s business cards, and wrote on the Speaker of the House’s whiteboard. To top it off, we got some Speaker of the House cake, which isn’t actually made from Speakers of the House (unforch).
I put the photos up on Facebook and in a Flickr album called Val Rausch – Speaker of the House – ’11 – ’12. I also put the videos up on YouTube, in a playlist called South Dakota Legislature Swearing-In.