Sam Parkinson, Executive Director

Sam headshotSam took over as Executive Director in June of 2017. Previously Sam had served as Finance & Events Director for the state party. Sam joined the staff in the summer of 2015 following his graduation from the University of South Dakota where he earned a degree in Political Science. Sam has been involved with the SDDP since the winter of 2014, serving as an intern in Pierre during the State Legislative session, and then as a YELL Fellow during the 2014 campaign cycle. Sam is a native of Rapid City and when he finds free time he enjoys playing baseball and exploring other cultures through travel.

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Ben Deverman, Field and Data Director

Prior to working for the SDDP, Ben graduated from the University pictureof South Dakota in the spring of 2016 with Bachelors of Science in Political Science and History. During his tenure at USD, he was a Research Associate at the Government Research Bureau, and he helped conduct policy analysis for various governmental entities and cities across South Dakota, including the GEAR UP program evaluation in the summer of 2015. Ben has been involved with local Democratic elections in South Dakota for several cycles, and he has helped candidates all across the State of South Dakota running for municipal and statewide elections. Ben is a native of Spearfish, and he spends his free time reading books, playing golf, and spending time outdoors. 

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Aaron Matson, Communications Director

CVC_AM (2)Before joining the SDDP, Aaron was a reporter at the Watertown Public Opinion, and a Lutheran pastor in the Watertown and Brookings area. Aaron also recently successfully defended his dissertation and will receive a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of South Dakota in December of 2017.  Aaron is a lifelong South Dakotan, and has been involved in South Dakota politics and the SDDP from a young age, attending “Teen Democrat Camps” in middle and high School, and serving as a page in the State Legislature as a high school senior. During college, Aaron interned at Senator Tim Johnson’s Aberdeen office and for the SDDP during the 2002 Legislative Session. He was also a candidate for the State Legislature that fall. In his free time, he enjoys reading, traveling with his wife, and putting to use his training as a Certified Judge in the Kansas City Barbecue Society.

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Megan Forster, Finance Director

IMG_7787Prior to working for the SDDP, Megan graduated from Vassar College in the spring of 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Political Science. During her years at Vassar, she served as the Class of 2017’s Senator of Student Affairs in the Vassar Student Association. In addition, Megan was a member of the Executive Board of Future Waitstaff of America and a student musical theater troupe. She also worked as an Resident Assistant and helped conduct independent research in the English Department. Megan is excited to be back in her home state of South Dakota after four years on the east coast. She is a native of Brandon and can be found spending her free time reading any New York Times article about American politics, scouting out her next great cup of coffee, or spending time outside.

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Cole Adams, West River Field Organizer
Cole AdamsCole Adams joins us from the Southern Plains, having grown up in Lubbock, Texas. Over the years, Cole has worked on a variety of urban city council campaigns, state house races, and with several rural congressional candidates throughout Texas. Just prior to coming on board with the SDDP, Cole was a Field Organizer in Richmond, Virginia, helping elect Ralph Northam Governor in November 2017. Cole graduated from Texas Tech University in August 2017, with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies. Outside politics, Cole is passionate about steam railroading and regularly volunteers with the Friends of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad in Antonito, Colorado.
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