BROOKINGS – Brookings County Commissioner Larry Jensen is the first to file for one of the three Brookings County Commission seats up for election this November.
The three spots on the commission are now held by Jensen, Stephne Miller and Lee Ann Pierce. County commissioners serve four-year terms.
“I enjoy working with the residents and officials in the Brookings County area. I hope I’m making good, common-sense decisions and encourage development and economic and population growth,” he said.
Jensen, who has filed as an independent, runs a cow and calf operation on his farm and has 23 years of experience in county work with roads and bridges.
“I’ve been a resident of Brookings County my whole life. I know the county like the back of my hand. … I know when we get a big rain up in the northeast part of the county, I know what happens when the flooding comes, what roads are impacted,” Jensen said. He added, “I listen to people, and that’s one of the big things that people don’t realize. You have to listen to everybody’s concerns and both sides. When you make a decision, you should be able to explain why you made that decision.”
And there are plenty of decisions for the county commission to make. One of the ongoing issues for the county is the operation of the Brookings County Outdoor Adventure Center. He wants to see it continue to expand programming options there for youth and adults. Partnerships with groups like South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks are helpful in that regard.
The other big issue the county faces is seeing through the expansion of the Brookings County Detention Center. Jensen serves as a member of the jail expansion committee.
“We’re kind of in the middle of that, and we’re moving forward. We’re not moving forward as fast as I’d personally like, but we’re making progress. I’d like to see that through to the end, too,” he said.
With the jail also comes county concerns regarding mental health and having adequate resources available to address mental health in the county.
One way the county is trying to stay proactive in county mental health issues has been by forming a mental health task force, he said.
He said he’s happy to have had the chance to help find solutions to people’s problems.
“Tell you the truth, I truly enjoy doing it, being involved for the community and where I grew up.”
Petitions for county and legislative races began circulating in January, with the petition deadline for Republicans and Democrats on March 27. For those running as independents, the deadline for submitting petitions is April 24.
Also opening at the county level are register of deeds and sheriff with four-year terms and state’s attorney for two years. On the legislative level, there are six spots between District 4 and District 7 up for election, all on two-year terms.
Petitions for county or legislative races can be picked up at the Brookings County Finance Office or printed from the South Dakota secretary of state’s website at www.sdsos.gov.
If there are any primaries for these races, they would be held on June 5. The general election takes place Nov. 6.
Contact Eric Sandbulte at [email protected]