|35th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota|
April 19, 1993 – January 7, 1995
|Preceded by||Walter Miller|
|Succeeded by||Carole Hillard|
Steven Thomas Kirby
March 26, 1952
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S.
|Alma mater||Arizona State University (BS)|
University of South Dakota (JD)
Kirby graduated with a bachelor of science degree in political science from Arizona State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of South Dakota School of Law. He married Suzette Hustead and became the father of a son and two daughters.
Kirby worked for Western Surety Company from 1977-92 as corporate secretary and senior claim counsel. He was a founding partner in South Dakota's largest venture capital firm, Bluestem Capital Company, which was established in 1992. After serving as Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota from 1993 to 1995, Kirby ran for the Republican nomination for Governor of South Dakota in 2002.
He entered the race after John Thune declared he would not run, but lost the election to Mike Rounds. It was one of South Dakota's greatest political upsets. Until late in 2001, then-Congressman Thune was the front-runner for the nomination. When Thune passed on the race in order to challenge Senator Tim Johnson, state Attorney General Mark Barnett and Kirby quickly became candidates. Rounds declared his candidacy late, in December 2001 and was out-raised and outspent ten-to-one by each of his opponents.
However, the contest between Kirby and Barnett soon became very negative and "dirty". Barnett attacked Kirby for not investing in companies based in South Dakota and for his involvement with Collagenesis, a company which removed skin from donated human cadavers and processed them for use. It became the subject of a massive scandal when it was revealed that the company was using the skins for much more lucrative cosmetic surgery like lip and penis enhancements while burn victims "lie waiting in hospitals as nurses scour the country for skin to cover their wounds, even though skin is in plentiful supply for plastic surgeons". Kirby invested in the company after the scandal broke and Barnett attacked him for it in television advertisements.
However, the advertisements backfired because "the claims were so outlandish, that people thought for sure that they were exaggerated or completely fabricated."
As the two front-runners concentrated on attacking each other, Rounds insisted on running a positive campaign and was not attacked by his opponents. Rounds' positive image and extensive knowledge of state government won him many supporters who were alienated by the front-runners. On the day of the primary election, Rounds won a stunning victory, with 44.3% of the vote to Barnett's 29.5% and Kirby's 26.1%.
| Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota
Categories: 1952 births | Arizona State University alumni | Lieutenant Governors of South Dakota | Living people | Politicians from Sioux Falls, South Dakota | South Dakota Republicans | University of South Dakota alumni