Randy Reider to join Davison County CommissionUnopposed in election, Republican will hold his first elected office.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
The “stealth commissioner” is a tag that could be hung on Randy Reider (pronounced “Rider”) who will be sworn in Jan. 8.
Reider, a 51-year-old Republican, will take over for outgoing District 2 Davison County Commissioner Jerry Fischer, a Democrat, who chose not to run for re-election. No other candidates emerged to challenge Reider’s candidacy, making the $14,003 a year job a walk-on for Reider, who works as the agency manager for BankWest Insurance in Mitchell.
It will be his first time in elected office.
“I was approached by some folks in our ward and asked to run,” said Reider, “but we stayed under the radar for a while. I’d thought about it before and I decided it was a good time to get in and to get active with the commissioners.
As a result of his unopposed status in both the primary and general elections, he had a low profile during the political season.
“I thought we’d have a contested election in the fall, but it didn’t turn out that way,” he said.
Reider’s wife Rochelle works as vice president of patient services at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital. They have three grown children: Brittany, who is married and lives in Sioux Falls; Derek, a senior at South Dakota State University; and Ashley, a junior at Augustana College.
Rieder said he is well-acquainted with the Mitchell area and with many county officials and employees . For example, he has refereed ball games with Emergency Manager Jim Montgomery and graduated from Woonsocket High School with Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg.
“It’s Mitchell. It’s a small town,” he said.
As the new guy on the commission, Reider said he has no particular agenda.
“I’d just like to bring some common sense and level-headedness to the commission,” he said. “I’ve been in business and planning for a lot of years. I know that sometimes you need to spend money and sometimes you need to be smart and save money.”
He believes some areas under the commission’s jurisdiction could be improved.
“I’d like to bring a better communication style between the commission and some of the department heads and elected officials,” he said.
“When I see arguments and throw-downs happening in the newspaper and the commission chamber, I think that some things could be handled better and much smoother, as far as making a plan that works for Davison County,” he said.
There are few who can boast a resume as varied as Reider’s .
Local sports still recall Reider as one of the finest natural athletes the area has produced.
After quarterbacking a winning football team at Woonsocket, Reider attended Augustana College, Sioux Falls, for two years on an athletic scholarship, with hopes of pursuing a career in medicine.
Those plans were put on hold when, while playing quarterback for Augie , a gang tackle ended his football and college dreams.
He takes some consolation in the fact that the best of the gang that tackled him and blew out his knee was future six-time All-Pro linebacker Karl Mecklenburg. Mecklenburg played his freshman year at Augustana, transferred to the University of Minnesota, and went on to a stellar career with the Denver Broncos.
Reider moved into the business world. He worked eight years as regional manager for the Taco John’s restaurant chain in the Twin Cities area and Aberdeen areas.
Reider returned to South Dakota in 1987 and used his experience to open Mexican Express restaurant in northern Mitchell in January 1988. He sold the business in 1996.
He then unpacked those old dreams of a career in medicine.
From 2000 to 2002 he earned his nursing degree at Dakota Wesleyan University, attending as a non-traditional student.
He worked for six and a half years as a charge nurse at Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls.
“It was great experience, but it was too far away,” he said of his time in Sioux Falls. “It was time to be back in Mitchell with our kids.”
Reider left nursing and became a member of the BankWest team. He said his medical experience has given him good insight into both the human services and financial sides of health care.
He noted the rising costs of indigent health care for both the county and the Avera system. When poor people cannot pay their medical bills in South Dakota, the bills get sent to the local county government.
“These are two good entities trying to take care of people who are trying to find a way to make their budgets work,” Reider said. “Both budgets got pinched extra hard in the financial crisis. Everybody’s got to remember we’re all working for a good cause.”
Reider said he will spend the week prior to his swearing-in familiarizing himself with county government. He plans have his new county-purchased iPad up and running in time for his first commission meeting.
“I’m looking forward to hearing from people,” he said.