Pennington County Commission candidates discuss leadership in forum

RAPID CITY, S.D. – With Election Day just three weeks away, state and local candidates are doing all they can to stump for votes.

On Tuesday night, the candidates for the Pennington County Commission were all in one place with the same goal.

Candidates for the Pennington County Commission take questions in a forum on October 16.

The five candidates are vying for two open spots on the commission. Four of them answered questions about a wide swath of topics from leadership to dealing with angry constituents. District 1 candidate Howard Euneau wasn’t able to attend.

The other four candidates talked about increasing public input and making sure the county’s rural voices are heard.

“There’s specific concerns for rural people that may be different than those that live in town,” said District 5 candidate Gary Drewes. “You need to be able to go out and reach them.”

They also discussed making sure the county’s Native American population is represented, something some have previously raised concerns about during mining ordinance hearings.

“We need to integrate with each other,” said District 1 candidate Ron Rossknecht. “They need to understand us; we need to understand them. We need to do more together. I could attend a powwow; they could attend a function the commission has put on.”

On Monday’s regular commission meeting, the county treasurer came forward with racy voicemails from constituents. And the question was posed – how would the candidates deal with potentially angry constituents?

“I think it’s a matter of being able to educate people about the process,” said District 1 candidate Keryn Rowland. “It’s about making people feel valued and helping people understand that when these attacks happen, it is not personal.”

They also talked about retaining county employees and helping them grow in their roles.

Categories: Local News, Politics & Elections, South Dakota News