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OUR VIEW: Work group needs more pheasant belt representatives

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has announced the people who will serve on his Pheasant Habitat Work Group, and 13 South Dakotans will tackle this hot-button issue beginning in February.

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It’s a good first step, and it shows that the process is moving forward following the governor’s habitat summit last month in Huron.

Just one problem: The governor missed the mark when he failed to fully represent the Mitchell region — and south-central South Dakota in general — on the board.

Among the 13 selectees is Steve Halverson, who owns Halverson Hunts in Kennebec. Great choice.

Halverson’s guide service has been doing business since the mid-1980s, and his background speaks for itself. His location is perfect.

Halverson is an entrepreneur and, at least on paper, appears to be a boots-on-the-ground representative.

For the most part, that’s unique on this newly appointed board, which is mostly comprised of people who are currently or have been employed by the state, or are in an elected or appointed state position. And Halverson is the only person who could be considered a resident of the state’s true pheasant belt, which in our opinion runs roughly from Howard to Winner, and from the Nebraska border to Wessington Springs.

This board needs a few bureaucrats and government insiders. Those are people who can get things done. A few elected officials are good, too, for the same reason.

But this board needs more representation from everyday folks who hail from Ground Zero.

Deciding to move forward with this task force was a good idea, and one that we hope will be followed by action.

But it wasn’t a good idea to overload it with government insiders, and it was a terrible idea to exclude more representation from the pheasant belt.