County candidates in June 3rd election

by Del Bartels

Two candidates are running for Haakon County Commissioner District IV seat, incumbent Mel Smith and Nick Konst.

District IV is also known as Precinct 19. It is that area within Haakon County that includes all residences located south of Pine Street and south of Grindstone Road; towards the east end of Pine Street, the precinct line turns south and follows South Stewart Avenue and then turns back east near Cherry Street.

The polling place will be in the community room of the Haakon County Courthouse. Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and will close at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3rd.

Since both candidates are running on the Republican ticket, the primary election will determine the winner and the candidates will not be on the national election ballot on November 4th.

In a primary election, people may vote for only candidates in their own political party. All citizens who intend to vote in that election must have been registered before May 19th. As of May 19th, there are 306 registered voters in District IV of Haakon County. A losing candidate may petition for a recount only if he or she loses by an amount not exceeding two percent of the total votes cast.

Candidacy information has been supplied by the two people running for the Haakon County Commissioner District IV seat.

Mel Smith

Family: I have been married to my wife, Beth (Schoniger) Smith, for 33 years. We raised our four children in Philip. Melan is now in Nashville, TN, Tara in Rapid City, Brock (wife Brittany) in Philip and Lana Heath in Pierre, SD. We have also been blessed with nine grandchildren. My parents, Richard and Gladys, and two of my eight siblings maintain residency in Haakon County.

How long in area: I am a life long resident of Haakon County. I was born and raised northwest of Philip, attended rural school and graduated from Philip High School in 1968. I farmed and ranched until two years ago when I started a construction business. I chose to stay in Haakon County years ago because of my passion for the area. The residents of the county have been like family, and I can't imagine living anywhere else.

Why are you the best candidate? I am proud of our legacy in Haakon County and strive with others to make it a better place to live. I am actively involved in a number of community organizations. Also, my seat as a county commissioner and business owner over the years has helped me to be fair and make educated decisions that are in the best interest of the county and its taxpayers.

What are your top strengths for this position? Experience, leadership and commitment are my top strengths. I have held various positions on the county commission and on county boards which contribute to my knowledge in the many areas of county government. I am committed to the quality of life Haakon County has to offer and want it to remain a compassionate community while still continuing to grow.

Nick Konst

Family: I have been married for two-plus years to my wife, Hallie (Schofield) Konst, and we have a son, Chevy Thomas, who is one-year-old.

How long in area: I have lived in Haakon County all my life and am a graduate of Philip High School.

Why are you the best candidate? I don't necessarily think I am the best candidate for this position, but I do feel I could make a difference as a commissioner. I hope to be able to answer questions that taxpayers have and address their concerns in a professional and timely manner. The whole point of being a commissioner is to represent the people. However, I also realize that I will never be able to make everyone happy. If I am elected as a commissioner, it is not a position I will take lightly and I will always do the best job that I can.

What are your top strengths for this position? My strength in regard to the commissioner's position has to be my experience of seven-plus years with the Haakon County Highway Department. My experience with the highway department gives me the ability to view the concerns of the taxpayers from a different angle.

Also within Haakon County, Gary Snook has filed a petition for the unopposed District II seat, to be emptied by the retiring Lawrence Schofield. Snook's grandfather, Clair Snook, was a Haakon County Commissioner from 1965 to 1984.

Patti Rhodes is the only petitioner to file for her current position as county treasurer. Jack Rush is petitioning to continue filling the position of county coroner. Ralph "Chip" Kemnitz is seeking the Haakon County State's Attorney position as well as to be one of the delegates for the Republican party convention. Gay Tollefson has a petition out in order to file her candidacy on the Independent ticket for state's attorney.

Citizens must be registered by October 20th to be able to vote in the national election.