Rollyn H. Samp is a Flandreau, SD native with multiple business and professional interests including law, writing, lecturing, politics, and communications. He holds a degree in political science/communications from Augustana College and a Juris Doctorate from the University of South Dakota. While at Augustana, Samp was a member of the National Champion College Debate Team. He was selected for the Sen. Francis Case Leadership Award and Sen. Robert Taft Award, among other honors. He and his wife, Karen were the Argus Leaders newlywed “Couple of the Year” in 1964.
Samp served six years heading the South Dakota field staff of U.S. Rep. Ben Reifel (M.C.); the first Plains Native American elected to the U.S. Congress.
At age 25, he became Chief of Staff to SD Governor Frank Farrar. He began his private legal practice in Sioux Falls in 1971. While practicing law for over 40 years, Rolly has earned the respect of his peers with the highest independent rating an attorney can achieve. (A.V. Martindale – Hubbell) It is his hard work for families, farmers and small business owners that earned him a reputation of fighting for people and taking on cases others refused; winning the tough ones.
He is credited with authoring the state’s economic development tax incentive, drafted SD’s original homeschool legislation, South Dakota’s administrative procedure amendments, and Rural Ambulance District laws together with local tax option legislation.
Among his civic activities; Samp organized South Dakotans to successfully authorize and fund a four-year medical school for the state. In 1976, he helped lead a statewide fight to repeal a dairy marketing law which had artificially set low milk prices. He successfully fought for the authorization of private college student funding in 1976. In 1977, Samp was one of the leaders who helped end the 40-year ban on championship high school football playoffs in the state.
He was a founder of the South Dakota Teenage Republican (TAR) summer camp. His political consulting firm has handled over 500 campaigns winning 92% of the contests. He has been elected Republican Precinct Committeeman since 1964.
He served as a delegate to the “South Dakota Futures Convention” representing the state’s largest county and was on the Minnehaha County Bicentennial Committee. He also served on the Siouxland Library Board and was the Chairman of an Ambulance Study Committee for the County in 1993.
He was the founding member of the Governor’s Task Force on trust reform which led to successfully revising the state’s surety and trust laws. He co-authored a USD Law Review article in 1999 on the “Negligent Situs of Trusts.”
Samp served eight years as Chief Tribal Judge for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. He has been active in Native American law with his work for the Hon. Ben Reifel (M.C.) (former Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs). His leadership included successfully defeating a referendum which would have allowed state jurisdiction over Indian reservations. He also assisted the organization of the United Sioux Tribes. He and Karen have helped raise several Native American foster children. In 1986, United Sioux Tribes gave him their highest honor with a blessed peace pipe as a thank you for his decades of service to Native American people. He is also a member of the Northern Plains Tribal Judge’s Association.
In 1985, he was the founder of “South Dakotan’s to Save Our Lakes” and served as its president from 1987 to 1991. He has been the editor of “The Lake News” since 1991. For many years Samp was the president of the Dakota Chapter, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the founder of Cystic Fibrosis clinics in the state. At the state fair in 1995, Samp helped honor South Dakota World War II veterans producing “South Dakota Remembers” for the WWII golden anniversary celebration. He also produced the state’s Capitol show in 2001 unveiling the World War II memorial on Capitol Lake.
He authored and coordinated the publication of “The Governors of South Dakota.” His weekly newspaper column “What’s the Law?” has approximately 400,000 readers. He is a monthly columnist for FYI-E-letter. He has appeared in several national publications including Communicating for Agriculture, Farm Journal, Outdoor Life and Conservation Digest. He was a special consultant for Dan Rather-CBS News South Dakota “Farm Crisis” week-long television special in 1987.
Rolly was a volunteer youth basketball coach for 18 years and spent five years as a Scout leader. In 1989, he was the recipient of the “Friend of 4H” award and received their Humanitarian of the Year award. In 1991, he was given a special achievement award by the SD Hall of Fame.
Rolly worked 19 years as Risk Manager for the National Football League at Super Bowls, as well as the Ford 100th Anniversary and NCAA Final Four. He has helped complete $6.4 billion in financing on Wall Street and assisted over 5,000 families and 800 business entities during his legal career. He is the president of Sioux Falls Environmental Access (SFEA); a nonprofit housing entity serving thousands for low-income families in South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska.
He served as the vice president/president of Hope Lutheran Church and several years as a delegate to the Dakota Crossroads Conference and the South Dakota ELCA State Convention. He served on the Augustana College Fellows Cabinet. Samp is the founder of the “The Fellowship of Christian Estate Planners.” He is Secretary/Director of the USS Battleship South Dakota Memorial; active in preserving the legacy of World War II’s most decorated battleship and crew.
He authored the “Final Tithe-A Christian Approach to Estate Planning,” and “If You Like the 50s, You’ll Like These Stories”. Rolly and Karen have four children; Michael, Matthew, Rebecca and Elizabeth plus three grandchildren, Jacob (Jake,) Margaret (Maggie), Peter, and Scarlett along with serving as foster parents for 70 youth.