Rick Weiland is a 2014 Democratic candidate for the United States Senate and small business owner in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He was previously the CEO of the International Code Council (ICC), a Clinton appointee to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), South Dakota State Director for AARP, and Senior Advisor to former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle.
Rick, a fifth generation South Dakotan, was born in Madison, South Dakota to Terry and Donald “Bud” Weiland. Rick’s family owned and operated a funeral chapel and ran the local ambulance service, serving Madison and the surrounding communities. Rick graduated from Madison High School in 1976, where he first met his wife of 32 years, Stacy Newcomb, and graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1980 with a degree in communications and political science.
Rick and Stacy are small business owners in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Together they have raised five children and they became grandparents last year.
Early Career: Time with Tom Daschle
He began his career during college by working on Tom Daschle’s first Congressional campaign in 1978. He joined Daschle’s South Dakota Congressional staff in 1980. During the early ‘80s he served as a field director and later as Daschle’s first West River Director. He became Daschle’s National Finance Director during the 1986 South Dakota Senate race. He capped off his service as a Senior Adviser and State Director.
1996 Congressional Campaign
In 1996, Rick was the Democratic nominee for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rick was unsuccessful in the general election against current U.S. Senator John Thune.
Time as Regional Director of FEMA
In 1997, Rick was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as the Region VIII Director for FEMA. The region includes South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.
As Regional Director he was responsible for all federal disaster response in Region VIII. Rick supervised the Federal recovery response to flooding in North Dakota and South Dakota; wild fires in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota; tornadoes in Spencer, SD as well as on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. During his tenure at FEMA he was called upon to provide support to local law enforcement during the Columbine tragedy.
In addition to Federal disaster response, Rick lead a “historic” conference for 28 tribal nations within Region VIII. At the conference, Rick and FEMA worked to establish more effective emergency management coordination and to improve services to underserved communities on tribal reservations. The conference established the Tribal Emergency Management Coordination Council.
Time as State Director of AARP
In 2002, after an unsuccessful primary election to Congress, Rick took over as the State Director for the AARP. He advocated on behalf of South Dakota seniors and for the protection of Social Security and Medicare. Rick was responsible for 85,000 members, developed and implemented numerous successful statewide campaigns to increase membership, participation, value to members, awareness and advocacy, including the establishment of a Senior Bill of Rights.
Work with the International Code Council (ICC)
In 2003, Rick became the COO, and later the CEO, for the ICC, which is the nation’s leading advocate for uniform building codes and building safety with an annual operating budget of $50 million and a staff of 300.
As CEO, Rick spearheaded efforts to create the nation’s first green construction code for commercial buildings and a standard for residential structures. This code was published in 2012 and has already been adopted in several states and communities. Rick traveled extensively to promote responsible and sustainable building codes and practices. He spoke with numerous municipalities and other governmental agencies all over the United States and the world. He was invited by the Chinese government to speak to officials regarding the implementation of safer and more sustainable building codes. In Haiti, Rick worked with government officials following the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Small Business Owners
In 2009, Rick and Stacy purchased and renovated a historic building and began operating a downtown Sioux Falls restaurant. It is a family venture, with all seven family members working in the business over the years.
In 2011, they became partners in a second downtown Sioux Falls business.