Steve Harding Biography
A firm handshake, a look dead in the eye, and a broad smile: you’ve just met Commissioner Steve Harding. Understand why it’s important to him that he shake your hand, and you’ll understand him completely.
Commissioner Steve Harding has spent his entire life in Pierre. College and the military called him away for times, but Pierre has always been home. Steve has been a student of the community for many years, both in private business and as a state employee.
After graduating from Black Hills State University with a B.S. in Education, Steve joined his father at Harding Motor Company in Pierre where he developed a strong belief in the importance of customer service and hometown courtesy.
He later applied those beliefs working in the South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development and most recently at the South Dakota Department of the Military where he currently serves as deputy secretary.
Commissioner Harding’s military service played a significant role in developing his leadership skills. Colonel Harding served in the South Dakota Army National Guard and recently retired following 34 years of service. His service record includes graduation from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and Command of the Officer Training Corps at Fort Meade.
A Desire to Serve the Community
But there has always been an abiding desire to serve his local community. “Several people in the community had approached me about running while I was still active in the National Guard but I didn't feel that I had the time that it takes to do a good job,” said Harding. “But after retiring from the Guard, I felt I had the time and experience to help the city move forward.”
It’s the contact with people in the community that Commissioner Harding values most.
“I like the grass roots level of local government, where you are right there with the people of your community. I like helping people, solving problems, and moving things forward. I believe in dealing with all issues in city government with a positive attitude and in a professional manner,” says Harding.
Open Communication is a Must
Harding says one of the most important duties of any commissioner is to communicate with people, both staff and the public.
“Open communications is a must at the local level of government. You must listen to the concerns of all the people of the community and deal with their concerns openly, fairly, and honestly. You must explain why decisions are made the way they are and realize that not everyone is happy with all decisions made. However, decisions must be made in the interest of the community as a whole and not as a single interest. Everyone's concerns are important.”
Commissioner Harding’s handshake is more than just a greeting, it’s a promise of open, fair, and honest communication. Understand that, and you’ll completely understand Steve Harding.
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