Stephanie Herseth Sandlin

Former U.S. Representative (June 2004 - January 2011)

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Why She Matters

Herseth Sandlin, South Dakota's only House member, was among the youngest female members of Congress and the first woman elected to the House from her state. In Congress she led the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of deficit-hawk Democrats committed to fiscal responsibility and strong national security.

Sandlin is married to former Texas Rep. Max Sandlin (D), whom she met when he served as a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee appointed mentor during her unsuccessful run for Congress in 2002. Herseth Sandlin was elected co-chairwoman of the moderate Democratic Blue Dog Coalition for the 110th Congress. The the group tried to reign in any agenda with a high price tag.

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At a Glance

  • Career History: Former Co-Chair, Blue Dog Coalition (2008 - January 2011); Executive Director, South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation (2003); Unsuccessful candidate for Congress (2002); Practicing attorney (2000 to 2001); Clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals (1999 to 2000)
  • Birthday: December 3, 1970
  • Hometown: Houghton, S.D.
  • Alma Mater: Georgetown University, B.A., 1993; M.A., 1996; J.D., 1997
  • Spouse: Former Texas Rep. Max Sandlin (D)
  • Religion: Lutheran
  • DC Office: 331 Cannon House Office Building, 202-225-2801
  • District Office: Sioux Falls, 605-367-8371, 866-371-8747; Rapid City, 605-394-5280; Aberdeen, 605-626-3440
  • Web site

Path to Power

Herseth Sandlin was born Dec. 3, 1970, and grew up on a ranch near Houghton, S.D.; she comes from a family that has been called the Kennedys of South Dakota.

Her grandfather, Ralph Herseth, was the state's governor; her grandmother, Lorna, was South Dakota's secretary of state; Herseth Sandlin's father, Lars, served in the state legislature for 20 years and in 1986 lost a close race for governor. "Growing up in a family committed to public service instilled in me at an early age a desire to follow in the same path," Herseth Sandlin has said.

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The Issues

Herseth Sandlin tends to be fiscally conservative but has voted with the majority of House Democrats in the House 91.6 percent of the time in the 111th Congress.

The Economy

In fall 2008, Herseth Sandlin opposed the $700 billion financial $700 bailout package. "We could well find ourselves in the very near future - $700 billion later - in an even deeper economic hole, with fewer options, and with requests that we spend even more," she said.

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The Network

Herseth Sandlin undoubtedly seeks counsel from her husband Max Sandlin, who represented Texas's 1st district from 1997 to 2005. He subsequently became a co-chair of the government relations department at Fleishman-Hilliard and has since helped the firm recruit other former congressmen.

In Congress, she is tight with the other leaders of the Blue Dogs, including Reps. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.).

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Additional Resources

  1. http://hersethsandlin.house.gov/about_stephanie_herseth.html
  2. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll681.xml
  3. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/vote2002/races/sd_herseth.html
  4. http://hersethsandlin.house.gov/press/2008/press_100308_financial.htm
  5. http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/h001037/
  6. http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081020/UPDATES/81020010
  7. CNN. "Election Center: The States: South Dakota." 2010.
  8. http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/12/08/janklow.trial.ap/
  9. http://hersethsandlin.house.gov/press/2008/press_111908_bluedogs.htm
  10. http://www.nationaljournal.com/almanac/2008/people/sd/rep_sd01.php
  11. http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-11-21-sanchez-expecting_N.htm?csp=34
  12. http://www.fleishman.com/point-of-view%5Cnews%5Cpr032107.html
  13. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=H001037