Brookings City Council posts open; election set for April 13

Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson

Two current city council members and SDSU’s dean of the College of General Studies will compete for two open city council positions on April 13.

Julie Whaley, Jael Thorpe and Keith Corbett are competing for the two positions, which last three years. Polling locations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on April 13, and absentee voting began on March 25.

City council members are elected to office the second Tuesday in April and take office at the first city council meeting in May.

Meetings are held every two weeks, and to make informed decisions, members must do background research and reading.

“We receive a packet before the meeting,” said Whaley, a current member. “We take the information and scope it out to make a logical decision about the issue.”

Listening to the residents of Brookings is another aspect of the job.

“We meet with a lot of people,” said Thorpe, also a current city council member. “We travel to a couple conventions dealing with city government. Every day is a bit different, and there is a lot of research.”

In addition, city council candidates said college students are important to the process.

“We need to get the students out to vote,” said Corbett, dean of the College of General Studies. “They can do a lot in the community.”


Julie Whaley

Occupation: Self-employedHometown: Brookings, S.D.

Goals: We have had some issues on the table for a few years, and I hope to get some of them resolved and crossed off. For the future, I just want to make sure that the public is well aware of what’s going on. We want to have an open-government feel to city council.

How long have you been on the council, and what made you interested in it?: I am on my seventh year. There were a couple issues going on then, and I figured the only way to do anything about it was to get involved. Is there an issue that you like or dislike dealing with? Every issue is interesting. Some are good and some bad, but you work your way through them. Do some investigating and talk to others about it and see the best option.

Why I should be elected: I have been on the council for the past seven years. I have been involved in issues, and I may have more knowledge of them. When I started, there were three of us that were new members. If new people come in, they may not know about the issues, and then we have to get everyone up to speed.

Keith Corbett

Occupation: Dean of the College of General Studies at SDSUHometown: I am from Watertown, but I got my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SDSU. I have lived here for a while now, and it’s a good community.

Goals: Spending with a purpose, cultivate the Brookings’ experience by increasing quality of life and fiscal responsibility.

What made you interested in running for city council?: There are a lot of decisions to be made right now, and I want to get involved in the process.

What I will do if elected: We need to spend money wisely and increase quality of life in Brookings. We should make land shovel-ready, so it is identified for building and economic development. I also want to create good jobs for graduates.

Why I should be elected: I am a strategic thinker. We would set the policies for strategic plan and development. I have a doctorate in strategic leadership, and it was also my job in the Army. I can bring a new approach to things. I have been living in Brookings for a while now, so I am familiar with everything. There are great ideas, and we need to follow through on them.

Jael Thorpe

Occupation: Business ownerHometown: I am from Gary, S.D., and came to SDSU. I then opened my business and have been here for about eight years.

Goals: I would continue with things I have been trying to do over the past year. I am trying to increase involvement with Brookings residents by seeking more citizen input on projects. I want to try to encourage college students to be entrepreneurs and to stay in Brookings. I would like to add more indoor recreation, such as pools, etc. They are available on campus but not as much to the community. We have been encouraging people to fill out the census to get our population up. What we are trying to do is make sure students claim that they live in Brookings. It is quite lower numbers for the city if they don’t.

How long have you been on the council, and what made you interested in it?: I have been on the council for a year. I ran last spring and lost by about 20 votes. I was appointed to the council when Mayor Tim Reed was elected, so I finished his term. Brookings is a diverse town in the sense that we have a lot of college students, families and elderly. I thought that the council could be more focused on that.

Is there an issue that you like or dislike dealing with?: The past year has been non-controversial. I did have an editorial in The Collegian about the $9 million expansion to the Swiftel Center. There are other things that would be better for the city and that would be used more by families and students, such as recreation and retail. These projects would maybe do more to retain SDSU graduates and make Brookings more entertainment-friendly so that people don’t move to Sioux Falls for that. Why I should be elected: I think it’s important to keep someone with a younger perspective on the council. More college students and young professionals have gotten interested in issues. I will be an advocate for younger people.