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JRWDD, Supreme Court issues on ballot

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JRWDD, Supreme Court issues on ballot
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

With six political races, including the presidential election, and seven state ballot measures to decide Tuesday, Davison County voters may need a primer on two other votes they will have the opportunity to cast on Election Day.


Those other votes are on a James River Water Development District board race and a Supreme Court retention question.

Development district

Davison County voters will help decide whether to give current James River Water Development District board member Gary Boomsma another four-year term or to give his challenger Leon Fredrichs the job.

The development district provides organizational and technical assistance, as well as funding, for projects along the James River to prevent problems with flooding and erosion, and to improve water quality. It is funded by taxpayers in the district, which includes Brown, Marshall, Spink, Beadle, Sanborn, Hanson, Davison, Hutchinson and Yankton counties, and portions of Aurora and Miner counties along the James River from the North Dakota border to Yankton.

The group is run by a nine-member board of directors who serve four-year terms, with staggered elections held every other year in line with the state general election cycle.

In Tuesday's election, voters will decide who will represent the area of the district that includes all of Sanborn and Spink counties, as well as parts of Beadle and Miner counties.

Boomsma, of rural Wolsey, is the current board member for that area. He also serves as the group's treasurer.

The Daily Republic tried unsuccessfully to contact Boomsma for this report.

Challenger Leon Fredrichs, of Forestburg, decided to run for the position, he said, because he wants to get involved in the process. Fredrichs is a lifelong resident of the area and his family has owned land on the James River for about a century, he said.

"I would like to think I know a little bit about what is going on," he said. "I don't think I would be a detriment to them."

Fredrichs only briefly mentioned the controversy this past year after a state audit of the development district found numerous improper business practices and thousands of dollars in undocumented credit card expenses, leading to the resignation of the organization's director at the time, Darrell Raschke.

"It might be time for a different perspective," Fredrichs said.

Supreme Court retention

Davison County voters will also help decide whether to keep Justice Glen A. Severson on the South Dakota Supreme Court.

Severson was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 2009 by then-Gov. Mike Rounds. Before that, Severson was a circuit judge in the state's Second Judicial Circuit, which includes Minnehaha and Lincoln counties.

Since 1980, South Dakota's Supreme Court justices have been required to stand for approval or rejection on a non-political ballot in the first general election three years after they are appointed.

State Supreme Court justices ran in contested elections prior to 1980.

A South Dakota Supreme Court justice has never been rejected by voters.