Gideon Oakes was raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the shadow of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. For his 14th birthday, he received a web design software package. This one single birthday present can be identified as the catalyst that would define his path in life. He soon developed a passion for information technology and graphic design. One thing led to another, and his parents reluctantly watched as he “dropped out” of high school his sophomore year to run an internet company he started in his free time during the summer months.
After selling his business (and eventually rejoining his classmates, much to his mother’s relief), Gideon went on to graduate magna cum laude from Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and a minor in political science and cultural studies. One beautiful spring day during senior year, he found himself craving a great sandwich. This craving ultimately led him to open Teddy’s Deli upon graduating, which he owned and operated for nine summers, accruing regional acclaim and a mention in Food Network Magazine. Riding on the coattails of notoriety, he also decided to open a coffee shop and a fine-dining restaurant, both of which taught him expensive lessons about not overextending himself. To pay for this education, he went to work for a third-party logistics company, eventually serving as their Director of Business Development.
Having been a political junkie since before he could talk — and not appreciating how his tax dollars were being spent — he ran for office in 2012 and was elected to two consecutive terms as a town council member in his hometown. Somewhere in between running three dining establishments, holding elected office and serving on numerous nonprofit boards, he was also able to convince the most amazing woman in the world to not only go on a date, but to ultimately marry him and start a family (an accomplishment he considers his greatest).
After closing down the restaurant and getting a pink slip from his day job all in the same year, Gideon used his new-found free time to earn his South Dakota real estate license and run for state legislature. He and his campaign team were honored to achieve the highest percentage of any Libertarian in a three-party state senate race in the 2018 election cycle, and second highest in the history of the party.
Now that things are a little “quieter”, Gideon remains a part-time REALTOR®, serves as state chairman of the Libertarian Party of South Dakota, and is positively giddy that he gets to use his degree and training to help advance the liberty movement.