A respected, influential state-wide leader, Bill provides an extensive knowledge and level of experience to support client advocacy needs in South Dakota.
Bill has served in various capacities in the private, public and non-profit sectors. He brings professional expertise and experience in government relations at the local, state and federal levels of government.
Bill’s unique skill set involves organizational management, corporate and community relations, public policy research and analysis and public relations and marketing. He is deeply experienced in the legislative process, both as a former Majority Leader in the South Dakota House of Representatives, and as a business advocate before the United States Congress and state legislatures from New York to California. As an advocate, he has instigated, led and lobbied for numerous charitable causes and civic initiatives.
Bill Peterson is not licensed to practice law. His practice is limited to government relations consulting, which includes state and local lobbying.
- Elected to his first term in the South Dakota House of Representatives in 1996, was re-elected to three more terms by ever-increasing margins. He quickly rose to leadership positions, and was elected to serve as Majority Whip in his second term. Bill was elected and re-elected Majority Leader in his third and fourth terms.
- While serving in the legislature, led successful efforts to create the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship, to encourage the state’s best and brightest to continue their education in South Dakota after graduating high school.
- Led efforts to pass the first comprehensive public smoking ban in the state’s history and was recognized by the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association for his advocacy.
- Authored and advocated two successful amendments to the South Dakota Constitution.
- Co-chaired the citizens’ group “Citizens for a Modern City Government,” which successfully changed Sioux Falls city government from an outdated city commission to a full time mayor and broad-based city council charter form in 1994. Helped draft the charter and led the effort to get the charter on the ballot as well as the successful campaign to enact it.
- Twice elected to serve as South Dakota’s delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 2008 and 2012.
- In 2012, he was chosen by South Dakota Republicans to represent them on the Resolutions Committee for the National Republican Convention. Bill, along with his wife Sue, twice chaired the South Dakota Republican Convention in 2012 and 2014. He chaired and rebuilt the Republican Parties in Clay and Minnehaha Counties.
- Selected as the Master of Ceremonies for events featuring President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2004; President George H.W. Bush in 2004; and Presidential candidate Robert Dole in 1996. He has been active in campaigns for candidates for federal, state and local offices and served as a volunteer spokesman for Senators John Thune and Larry Presser.
- As Vice President of Public Affairs for CNA/Western Surety Company, developed and managed a 50-state legislative program to promote and protect surety and fidelity bonds at the federal, state and levels of government. Testified before state legislatures from New York to California, and the United States Congress to support initiative.
- Began his government affairs career with the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce in 1979. He was instrumental in the creation and development of the Chamber’s Issues Management Committee, which has guided the Chamber’s government and legislative involvement for nearly 40 years.
- Served on and was the Chair of the Surety and Fidelity Association’s Government Affairs Advisory Committee from 2001-2012. He served on the Board of Directors of several state surety associations including the Ohio Surety Federation, Texas Association of Surety Companies and the Iowa Surety Association. He served on and chaired the Board of the Association of California Surety Association from 2002-2011.
- Served on the National Notary Association “Notary Public Code of Professional Ethics” drafting committee.
Marketing and Public Relations
- While employed by the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, helped to conceive, develop and implement the Addy Award-winning “Sioux Falls – A Good Thing Going” campaign, which ultimately led to Sioux Falls being recognized as the Best Small City to Live in America by Money Magazine.
- Conceived, developed and implemented the “How to Be a Public Hero” marketing campaign promoting local license and permit bonds for CNA/Western Surety Company, which also won an Addy Award.
- Responsible for national, state and local media relations, and for coordinating media and public relations activities for the CNA/Western Surety Company.
- As Vice President of Development and Foundation for Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of South Dakota, developed and implemented a major capital campaign “Campus on East Bank,” which raised over $1.25 million, which allowed LSS to purchase the former Kilian Community College and find a permanent home for multiple LSS programs. He has worked on multiple local and statewide fundraising efforts.
- Helped lead efforts to merge two social service agencies serving developmentally disabled children and adults in South Dakota. The agencies, Children’s Care and Hospital and South Dakota Achieve, now serve clients from birth to death with seamless care.
Articles & Presentations
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
- Quoted, “Meanwhile in South Dakota,” George Will column, Washington Post, May 13, 1993
Honors & Education
- Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award, 2011
- Good People, Good Causes Award and True Advocate for Historic Preservation Recognition, South Dakota Historical Society and the South Dakota Chapter of American Fundraising Professionals, 2000
- Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award, University of South Dakota W. O. Farber Center, 2004
- Making a Difference for Young People Award, Lincoln High School World Languages Department, 2003
- South Dakota Conservation Legislator of the Year, 2003
- 29-90 Sportsman’s Club, South Dakota Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Federation, 2003
- American Cancer Society Outstanding Advocate Award, 2002
- American Cancer Society Lynn Smith Award, 2001
- American Heart Association Champion of Heart Award, 2001
- Public Relations Network PR Person of the Year Award, 1994
- Addy Award, Award of Excellence in Advertising, Multi Media/Complete Campaigns, Business to Business, Regional/National Category, South Dakota Advertising Federation, 1992
- Vice President, Development and Foundation, Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, Managed a staff of 7 with emphasis on annual fund, capital campaign, foundation management and fundraising, 2012-2018
- South Dakota Historical Society Foundation, Interim President, 2012
- Vice President of Public Affairs for CNA/Western Surety Company, 1988-2012
- Advertising Executive, Colle McVoy Advertising, 1987-1988, specialized in marketing and advertising programs for community-based banks
- Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Governor Lowell Hansen, 1984-1986
- Vice President, Marketing, Jack Rabbit Bus Lines, 1984-1986
- Vice President, Public Affairs, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce, 1983-1984
- Director of Legislation and Research, Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, 1979-1983
- Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce: Issues Management Chair 2015-2018, Public Affairs Committee Chair 1988-1990, Tax Council Chair 1988-1990
- South Dakota Historical Society Foundation, 2002-2012, Chair 2005-2012
- South Dakota Republican Convention Chair, 2012, 2014
- University of South Dakota Foundation Trustee, 2011 to present
- Sioux Council Boy Scouts of America, President 2012-2014
- Joint Merger Committee, South Dakota Achieve and Children’s Care Hospital and School (now known as Lifescape), 2013
- Children’s Care Hospital and School Foundation Board of Directors, President, 2012-2013
- Board of Directors, Downtown Sioux Falls Association, President, 2008
- Board of Directors, Shrine to Music Museum, 1994-2005
- Board of Directors, Family Services, Chair 1995-1996
- Board of Directors, Kilian Community College, Chair, 1989-1996
- State Theater Restoration Capital Campaign
- Board of Directors, Shrine to Music (now the National Music Museum) at the University of South Dakota, 1989-1996
- Republican National Convention delegate 2000, 2008; South Dakota Representative to the 2008 Resolutions Committee
- Junior Achievement, Volunteer
- O’Gorman Performing Arts Center Capital Campaign, Volunteer Fundraiser
- Sioux Empire United Way, Volunteer