by April Scheinoha
In his last official action as a Pennington County commissioner Tuesday, Dec. 29, Don Jensen made a motion to adjourn the County Board meeting. His fellow departing commissioner, Cody Hempel, then seconded the motion.
The meeting marked the last time that either man will be a Pennington County commissioner. “All good things have to come to an end,” Jensen said.
Jensen lost his latest reelection bid to Seth Nelson in November, and Hempel decided not to seek reelection. Jensen had served District 1 since January 1989. Hempel had served District 2 since January 2011. Both men were presented with commemorative clocks in honor of their service.
Throughout the meeting, county staff thanked both men for their service. County Coordinator Kevin Erickson said both men faithfully served and worked in the best interest of county residents.
Toward the end of the meeting, Commissioner Neil Peterson said he enjoyed working with both commissioners, but especially Jensen. It was his last time to give a playful dig to Hempel although Peterson noted that Peterson and Jensen had spent a lot of time together on the road as commissioners.
Jensen and Hempel fondly looked back on their time as commissioners. Jensen said it was a pleasure to serve District 1 and county residents.
For his part, Hempel said he often uses County Board as an example of people being able to disagree respectfully and in a positive way. He added that he has had nothing but great experiences while serving on County Board.
However, Hempel recalled how former commissioner Oliver “Skip” Swanson and some others tried to pull a fast one on him at the start of his tenure on County Board. Swanson told Hempel that the District 2 commissioner provides rolls for the commissioners’ road and bridge tour. It wasn’t until he spoke to several other commissioners before he realized he was getting initiated.