District 7 elections for sheriff and county commissioner Nov. 8


Zachary Simon, Reporter

Brookings County has two main elections on the ballot Nov. 8: the race for Brookings County sheriff and Brookings County commissioner.

Two candidates are running for the sheriff position, while five candidates are on the ballot for commissioner. Here is a little information about each candidate and their plans if they are elected.


County Sheriff Candidates

Martin “Marty” Stanwick (I):

Incumbent Martin Stanwick was born in Minnesota and moved to Brookings County at the age of four. He graduated from Brookings High School in 1971, and attended a two-year college in Saint Paul, Minnesota, for law enforcement.

After completing school, Stanwick worked as a security manager for the Kmart Corporation, and in 1977 was hired as a South Dakota State University patrol officer. One year later he left the department with the rank of patrol lieutenant and joined the Brookings Police Department. In 1998, he was elected as the Brookings sheriff. 

If re-elected, Stanwick wants to prioritize mental health training for deputies and correctional officers. This would help them recognize individuals having a mental crisis and get them help if needed. 

He also intends to create a re-entry program for the detention center to “offer inmate education on personal finances, resume writing and help with applying and interviewing for job placement.”

He added he wanted to help inmates become “productive citizens” after they are released.

“I love my job serving all the residents of Brookings County,” Stanwick said. “In these ever-changing times, I feel it is important to keep experience in the Sheriff’s Office. I will continue to bring leadership, dedication and fiscal responsibility. I am humbled and grateful for your support for the past 23 years.”

Jeff Kollars (R):

Jeff Kollars was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and moved to Brookings in 2003 to attend SDSU. He majored in microbiology before transferring to the University of South Dakota and graduating with a degree in criminal justice. 

“I only claim SDSU,” Kollars said. “I am a Jack through and through.”

During school, Kollars worked as a Brookings correctional officer and in 2005 joined the South Dakota Highway Patrol as a trooper. In this position, he focused primarily on being a traffic crash reconstructionist. In 2013, he settled into his current position as a special agent with the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, where he is assigned as a special crimes investigator.

If elected, Kollars intends on creating a more proactive approach in deterring methamphetamines from Brookings. He also wants to improve relations with the public and other professionals, implement technology to prevent and solve crimes, and improve recruitment and retention of employees.

“My competitor has done a good job in the past and built a good base,” Kollars said. “I want to build off that base for our future success … What I offer is a fresh set of experienced eyes for the same problems we have been facing and a new level of energy to face tomorrow’s problems.”


County Commissioner Candidates

Timothy Bauer (I):

Bauer was born in the Elkton area, about 14 miles east of Brookings, and has lived in the region his entire life.

He has served on the Elkton School Board for 18 years and on the Brookings County Weed and Pest Board for the past 12 years.

If elected, Bauer intends to prioritize keeping the county safe and operating efficiently.

“I think with my experience, I can help the county run smoothly,” he said. “I want the county to be represented by people that live throughout the county.

Jarry Jensen (I):

Incumbent Larry Jensen is seeking re-election for his third term. Jensen has served as a Brookings County Highway Superintendent, a member of the White City Council and as a volunteer firefighter. Jensen also manages a family farm in Brookings County.

If elected, Jensen will prioritize leading Brookings with fiscal responsibility and common sense.

Shawn Hostler (R):

Hostler was born in Blunt, South Dakota, and graduated from Western Dakota Technical Institute with a degree in law enforcement.

In 2000 he moved to Brookings to attend SDSU and worked with the Brookings County Sheriff’s Office. He is currently self-employed in the insurance industry working with small businesses.

“What I want to focus on is making sure that the residents of Brookings County know who their elected officials are and know that they can reach out and voice their concerns and actually be heard,” he said. 

​​Gretchen Weible (R):

Weible was born in Minnesota and served as a reservist for her local police department, as well as on her city’s planning commission board.

She moved to Brookings in 2018 as her son was attending SDSU, and settled in Elkton in 2020.

If elected, Weible intends to protect property rights, and also be more present in the community and increase accountability for the county commissioners.

I will bring a fresh perspective to the commission board…” she said. “I want to be the residents’ ears and eyes on the board; to be your voice.”

Kelly VanderWal (R):

VanderWal graduated from Lake Area Technical Institute with a degree in agricultural production.

He has served on the Volga City Council, was a Deacon/Elder for the First Reformed Church in Volga and a volunteer firefighter with the Volga Fire Department. He has also worked as the general manager for Volga Ag. Center Inc.