Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect that there is a fourth candidate for Brookings County Commission, independent Tim Bauer of Elkton. Bauer is not listed on the South Dakota Secretary of State's 2020 Candidate List, but the Brookings County Finance Office confirms that Bauer has filed his nominating petitions and is a candidate in the commission race. The two winners of the June 2 Republican primary for county commission will join Bauer on the November general election ballot, with the three candidates competing for two Brookings County Commission seats.
This is the second in a series of three stories that will appear in The Brookings Register this week, featuring Republican candidates for Brookings County Commission.
BROOKINGS – Candidate Shawn Hostler wants to bring his public service experience and no-nonsense mentality to Brookings County as he runs for a seat on the County Commission.
Hostler is one of three Republicans running for two available commission seats in the June 2 primary election. Also running are incumbents Mike Bartley and Ryan Krogman.
The two winners of the Republican primary will face independent candidate Tim Bauer of Elkton in the November general election, with the three competing for two seats.
Hostler grew up in Blunt and went to school at West River Dakota Tech, eventually making his way to Brookings in 2000. He had finished his associate’s degree in law enforcement technology and then earned his degree in public recreation from South Dakota State University. Soon after he was hired on as a patrol deputy and K-9 dog handler for Brookings County in 2001.
“I’m pretty familiar with Brookings County for being a part of the sheriff’s office for so long,” Hostler said.
In 2015, Hostler “took a leap of faith and retirement from the law enforcement field” to pursue a career working for Aflac Inc. so he would be able to be with his family more often. He is now a district sales coordinator and works with large corporations across the Midwest.
Hostler said that he wanted to get back into public service and figured, since he was familiar with Brookings County and its policies, he should throw his hat into the ring for county commissioner.
“My approach to the commission is a common-sense approach. No nonsense. Listen to the individuals, listen to the citizens of Brookings County and find out what their concerns are, you know if they have any gripes or if they’re upset with anything or if they want some changes made,” Hostler said. “Really listen to them and educate yourself on the issues, and then with my core values I’d vote accordingly.”
Hostler said he will remain impartial to personal preference on how policies are set and what ordinances are passed, because he has no “skin in the game” that would be affected.
“I just want to try and be the best that I can be in the public service aspect,” Hostler said, “and really be a voice for people and lead Brookings County in that direction to make it where people really want to come and live, work and play and be in Brookings because it’s such a great community.”
Hostler said the jail was often exceeding capacity back when he worked for the sheriff’s office, and it needed expansion then. He said the jail has needed the renovations for many years and is disappointed with the Brookings City Council’s appeal of the jail expansion lawsuit to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
“Now … I’m spending tax dollars for the city and I’m spending tax dollars for the county to fight each other,” Hostler said. “I don’t think that’s the wisest use of money, and I don’t know if a lot of our elected officials are really listening to the community on what they want.”
Hostler also said he respects how county officials have been handling the COVID-19 pandemic without pursuing government overreach.
“The last thing we need is the government telling us how to run our lives, and I am a firm believer in that,” Hostler said. “The less government the better, but we really need to be the voice of the people and especially in the pandemic, we need to listen to our constituents and really make these decisions on their input and our ideals and ideologies.”
Contact Matthew Rhodes at [email protected]