Eight Republicans running for three seats on FRC Commission

Edgemont’s Trudy Dibble withdraws from race


HOT SPRINGS – The primary election is slated to take place on Tuesday, June 2, which is when area registered voters will decide a number of races, including filling three seats on the Fall River County Commission, three District 30 Legislature positions, one seat on the Hot Springs City Council and one seat on the Hot Springs School Board.

As a way to help educate Fall River County voters about their voting options on the primary ballot in all of the races, the Fall River County Herald-Star is featuring profiles of each candidate over the next few weeks.

This week, all eight of the Fall River County Commissioner candidates are profiled. All of the candidates are Republican, so there will be no Democrats on the primary ballot. Voters will select three of the eight candidates running.

Trudy Dibble was the ninth candidate for Fall River County Commission and will be on ballots, however, she has since withdrawn from the race following the sudden passing of her husband Jerry Dibble, who was the Edgemont Mayor.

This week, May 7, profiles for each of the eight candidates for the Fall River County Commission are featured. The following week, on May 14, will be the two candidates for the District 30 State Senate, and the three candidates for the District 30 House of Representatives.

Last week, the two Ward 4 candidates for the Hot Springs City Council and the two candidates for Hot Springs School board were featured. If you are interested in seeing those profiles, please go to the newspaper’s website at www.FRCHeraldStar.com

All eight Fall River County Commission candidates were recently sent questionnaires.

The candidates were first asked to tell a little about themselves, and then answer the following two questions:

1) What skills or talents would you bring to the Fall River County Commission?

2) What are the top two issues that concern you regarding Fall River County and how do you plan to address them if elected?

Following are each of the candidates' responses:


Joe Allen (incumbent)

Age: 72

Occupation: Retired NPS, USFS, BLM and Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Current Ag producer and campground owner.

Lifelong Fall River County resident.

Contact info: 13013 Fall River Road, Hot Springs, SD 57747, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I am a native of the Hot Springs, living on my ranch along Fall River. I graduated from Hot Springs High School in 1965, and immediately served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam. I served 33 years working for the federal government involved in law enforcement, fire and resource management. I also have spent my life working in agriculture, along with the tourism industry the past several years.

1) I have the experience to continue as your commissioner, to assist Fall River County in meeting the challenges that lie ahead. This experience along with a positive constructive attitude and a common sense approach toward problem solving is important to move the county forward. I am grateful that Fall River County has been my lifelong home and I appreciate the opportunity to give something back.

2) Issues I feel that are important would be continued protection of our quality of life, air and water along with continued rural water development. Agriculture and Tourism are our leading industries in our state and county. Continuing to safe-guard and preserve our farm and ranch communities and promoting our community as a tourist destination are equally important. Future challenges facing our county would include preparing for the influx of new growth. Fall River County has been discovered as a popular retirement community, based on our clean air, pure water, climate, and great people. Balancing this growth is a challenge in large to the county, which is minus a comprehensive management plan.

Safe growth in our county, an active economic development organization, and making sound decisions for our future is imperative. Our county belongs to all of us.

Thank-you, Fall River County, for allowing me to serve as your commissioner, I appreciate your support on June 5th.

Les Cope

Age: 59

Occupation: Rancher

56 years as resident Fall River County resident.

Contact info: 605-441-4960, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I am a life-long resident of Fall River County. I am a second-generation rancher on the homestead south of Oelrichs - 38 years as a self-employed rancher, caring for the land, animals, and resources. I have 3 grown children (all attended Fall River County schools) and 6 grandchildren. I am a past Oelrichs School Board member/president, former board member/secretary of the Fall River Water’s Users District, past member of Harmony Township, former member/president of Pioneer Grazing District, a past member/president of the Oelrichs Rodeo Association, and current member of the Oelrichs Volunteer Fire Department. My interests include fishing, golfing, and hunting.

1) I will bring a conservative view to the Board. I have experience with budgets, both personal in ranching and while serving on various past boards. Being self-employed, I have seen firsthand how hard taxes are on the American way of life.

2) County Roads – I am concerned about the condition of the county roads. I understand having to wait your turn on road work but with all that rain last year, there are many soft spots in the roads, sides of roads are washed out, and the new gravel that has been put down is not quality gravel. We need to be watchful on how the taxpayers’ money is being spent while still providing beneficial upkeep to the roads. I am lucky in the fact that the road into my home is acceptable at this time, that cannot be said for other roads.

Taxes – It is a cliché to say that I will cut taxes, but we taxpayers need someone that is committed to addressing all property tax. There was a large increase last year and we probably must live with that but no more increases! The County needs to live within its means and the increases need to stop and stop now.

I am asking for your vote in the upcoming June Commissioners’ election and would be proud to serve as your conservative Fall River County Commissioner.

Suzanne Davidson

Age: 51

Occupation: Rancher/Homeschool Mom/Small Business Owner

11 year resident Fall River County resident.

Contact info: 605-535-2212, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

My husband, Jeff, and I have been married 25 years and I am a mother to four children ranging in age from 22 to 12. Our family operates a commercial Black Angus ranch and homeschools ten miles south of Oelrichs on property we have owned for 20 years. I was born and raised in Washington state but spent time in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota along the way. After high school I earned a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry from Central Washington University. Soon after graduation I headed to Wyoming to work on a ranch and that is where Jeff and I eventually got married. From there we moved to Southern California where Jeff completed his Steamfitter Apprenticeship and I worked for a mechanical contractor as Plant Manager. Our time in California was always goal oriented towards saving money to buy our ranch in South Dakota where we could raise our family and Black Angus cattle. We made our dream come true and love living in Fall River County.

Currently I am the leader of the Happy Hustlers 4-H Club and have also previously served on the Dawes Co. Executive Council. I am active in my church, Southern Hills Evangelical Free Church. We are members of the American Angus Association, R-Calf, SD Stock growers Association, Homeschool Legal Defense Association and the NRA.

I enjoy: organic gardening, home canning, raising chickens, milking my dairy cows, cooking, homeschooling and various crafts

1) I am a middle aged female with both Ag and professional Business backgrounds; I can bring fresh perspective on issues; I am honest, hardworking and have a servant’s heart; I am committed to giving back to my community and making it a better place for ALL our residents.

2) Fair and balanced taxation: ensuring that OUR tax dollars are being managed well, spent wisely and used efficiently without raising taxes! First, I would look at doing a zero based budget and then stay in budget .Work to eliminate wasteful spending.

Infrastructure: our safety and success hinge on this because Ag products, residents and tourists need to move safely and easily in our county. Let’s make informed, common sense choices about this.

Troy Goettsch

Age: N/A

Occupation: Small Business Owner (Dew Drop Inn Cafe)

4 year resident Fall River County resident.

Contact info: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Grew up in Northern Wyoming with a single parent. Learned self-reliance and responsibility at an early age. Joined the National Guard in 1978 and became a full-time employee in Cheyenne in 1988. Earned Bachelor’s Degree and Masters of Business Degree during this period. Deployed to two combat tours (OEF and OIF) and retired in 2010. My wife and I bought the Dew Drop Inn Café in 2016, opened it in 2017. Business model designed around local populace where reputation and success is built on value. Support National Wild Turkey Federation (including Jake’s Day), Pheasants Forever, life-time American Legion and VFW member as are my brothers and was my father. Very much support our local police department and help raise funds for the Reserve Officer Program.

1) Education in Business Management and experience in military taught me to look at everything with reasoning and do not accept the “norm” based on the fact that “it’s always been done that way”. Assumptions are expensive and all resources are limited. I have training and experience in Emergency Management, exercise development and Operations. Many years in leadership and supervisory positions taught me compassion and fairness. These are skill sets this Commission very much needs. 

2) Top issue is fiscal responsibility – One of the Republican Planks is to “Limit the Growth of Government”. That is one of the NORMS that I do not blindly accept as a starting point. County wide we need to justify expenditures as if we were beginning each budget session with zero resources. This is true for employees as well as purchases such as road-graders, trucks, gravel and bridges. Demand is built on proof of need not desire. As a commissioner I will make sure needs are met, not desires. 

Second issue is accountability – Commissioners must interact with the communities and residents served. We must elicit input from residents, experts and outside resources wherever possible. No one of us lives the lives of all residents thus input from residents is crucial for service and performance. Experts provide the details and standards for those areas where we not subject matter experts. I will not be a sit-at-home commissioner; I will be out in the field, I will be developing contacts and I will be learning every day. Waiting for things is not my style.

Heath Greenough (incumbent)

Age: 48

Occupation: Rancher

44 years as a Fall River County resident.

Contact info: P.O. Box 214, Oelrichs, SD 57763, 605-890-9488

I have lived in rural Fall River County, near Oelrichs. For the past 48 Years running the family ranch with my parents. I graduated from Oelrichs High School in 1991 and attended Mitchell Votech for electrical construction and maintenance. I knew that I wanted to stay in Fall River County and ranch with my family but believed I need to have a background in some other field in case things did not work out. In 2013 I married my wife Berline. I love Fall River County and believe it is a great place to live, work, and raise a family,

1) I have served on many boards. Wich include the Oelrichs School board, Black Hills Specials Services board of directors, Oelrichs fire and ambulance as well as serve on the fire and ambulance departments, Fall River County weed board. I feel I have learned greatly from serving on these boards and have given me the knowledge to serve as Fall River County Commissioner.

2) The county roads seem to be a hot topic since I have been on the board. I feel that we as a board need to find unity on the board. The roads in Fall River County are for the most part in pretty decent roads. I am not saying they are perfect there are issues in places and we are working to make them better. We need to come together on the roads and bring resolve so we can move onto other important issues in the county such as taxes. That being the other hot topic I do not believe we can ever lower taxes, they are a necessity to run the county, but the commissioners need to be very diligent in holding a line on spending while also looking for ways to generate more revenue without increasing tax levels. Please feel free to call me with any questions or comments on any county issue.

Paul Nabholz (incumbent)

Age: 63

Occupation: County Commissioner 

26 years as a Fall River County resident.

Contact info: 605-745-3749, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I was raised in Clovis, NM, have a BSME from Univ. of NM, and am a Professional Engineer in SD.  My lovely and very tolerant wife of 29 years, Debbie, and I have two kids. Jon is a Lieutenant on a nuclear sub and Laura an Assistant Lab Tech at Monument Health. I worked at TVA in Tennessee and at Los Alamos Scientific Lab to pay for college.  After graduation I worked in international offshore oil, was a Drilling Engineer on Geologic Research Vessel working for the National Science Foundation worldwide, and finished up doing engineering design/project management of offshore drilling rigs. 

1) I am good at math and approach problems objectively. My project management skills apply readily to county finances and operations. Since 2011 my efforts to improve county money handling have netted taxpayers over $500,000 in tax savings. It is amazing what purchasing treasuries and long-term CDs in place of 1-yr CDs, savings and checking accounts can do.

2) Our highway and Sheriff/jail/States Attorney departments are expensive to operate and hard to oversee. We need commissioners willing to educate themselves and actually supervise these departments.

Taking a businesslike approach to county business is vital. I discovered unrepaired, known faults in the collapsed Ardmore Bridge, found repeated problems with purchasing substandard gravel, and proposed solutions. I look forward to a new commission where we can implement good gravel bid requests, promptly replace condemned bridges with cost efficient solutions (a bypass), and eliminate government obstructions. I refused to sign off on gravel purchases without test results that met specs, promoted (years ago) the Chilson bypass solution over a slow, grossly expensive replacement bridge, saved ratepayers over $100,000 on the Custer-Fall River landfill board, and took over the reins to get the Lookout Solar (up to 500,000 panels) project greenlighted. 

I am looking forward to Lance Russell as States Attorney. He ran a tight, $30,000-less-per-year department. His insight may allow further cost savings. Also: we do not need a new jail.

Lyle L. Rudloff

Age: N/A

Occupation: Retired, self-employed weldor and machinist 

8 year resident Fall River County resident.

Contact info: P.O. Box 273, Edgemont, S.D. 57735, Phone: 662-7171

Katherine and I moved here from Rhode Island 8 years ago. After raising our children on the east coast, we looked for a place to live that would be more to our liking and have found it here.

My interests are quite varied. I like to hear and read about local history and I volunteer at the Trains, Trails and Pioneers Museum and have recently become Vice President of the museum. I do some volunteer work at the Edgemont Senior Center and I helped organize a pop-up restaurant there. I am also a ham radio operator.

1) As a concerned citizen I have attended many commissioners meetings and always try to keep up on what is happening in the county.

As a self-employed weldor and machinist for more than 20 years, I needed to research processes and techniques and I constantly learned new things. Running a small shop on the east coast was quite competitive so there was always a cost benefit analysis in the decisions I made.

I am very interested in educating myself on gravel road material processes and equipment. I would make a sincere effort to work with the highway superintendent.

2) The issue of taxes is always present. I would make every effort to see that all taxpayers are taxed fairly and their money is spent wisely.

As a conservative republican I would want to conserve what we have. I have lived where there is progress and growth at the expense of the many and the benefit of the few. I am not running against anyone. I am running for Fall River County and I would appreciate your vote.

Ben Tubbs

Age: 65

Occupation: Retired

Lifelong Fall River County resident.

Contact info: 605-745-6636 (after 10 a.m.)

I have lived in Fall River County for my entire life and attended Edgemont and Hot Springs Schools, graduating from Hot Springs High School. I am married to Patricia who is originally from Oelrichs. Having worked for the Burlington Northern Railroad for 39 years, I have longstanding understanding of Fall River County and its needs.

1) Having been a property owner and County taxpayer for decades, I believe I have the common sense necessary to protect the taxpayers of this county.

2) My number one goal is to control spending, property taxes and keep the growth of government in check. The number of county buildings and employees continue to grow and it will be my goal to have only the number of employees necessary to perform essential government services to taxpayers.

I believe Fall River County must efficiently and effectively allocate existing resources to maintain and repair county infrastructure to make certain that the taxpayers have good roads, bridges and existing buildings.

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
HOT SPRINGS OFFICE: 334 S. Chicago St.  Hot Springs, SD 57747 | 605.745.3930
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