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Director Election 2024: Insights from the Candidates

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Welcome to our Q&A session with the candidates for the District 3 director position on Midstate Communications' board of directors. Representing the communities of Oacoma, Chamberlain, and Pukwana, incumbent Lonnie Sharping and challenger Patty Juhnke will share their visions and plans for the upcoming 3-year term. This session aims to provide you with the information needed to make an informed decision in this important election. Proxy ballots have been mailed out to all eligible voters. If you would like to vote in person, the election will be held at the the Midstate Communications office in Kimball on July 17th from 9:00 - 11:00 am.

Lonnie Sharping
District 3 Candidate

Tell us about yourself? 
I am a lifetime resident of Brule Co. Have worked and lived other places but am a “run-home Lonnie.” Why go anywhere else. All one needs can be found here, outside of maybe a giraffe! Graduated from SDSU. Taught school throughout SD and finished as 7th Grade Language Arts in Chamberlain. Some of the best people I know were my 7th, Graders. I worked for USDA/FSA, assisting local farmers/ranchers with government programs.
Currently, Town of Pukwana Finance officer and Cook’n at the Buzzard Bar n Grill downtown, historic Pukwana.

Born into the “family business,” my partner Randy and I raise a few animals. Marketing alternative livestock around the United States and to other countries. The animal business has truly allowed me to meet and communicate with all walks of life throughout the world. That said, sitting on a bench People Watching is my favorite!

Reason(s) for running for Midstate Communications Board of Directors?
South Dakota, Brule Co., Pukwana is my home. I want the best for the area. I am also human and enjoy like-minded community individuals making a community “coop” network. I also have a self-interest. We sell our birds/animals across the USA. I advertise for our small-town Buzzards Bar n Grill using Midstate internet. I want a good product to make myself successful and in-turn making our community successful.

What assests/skills do you feel you will bring to Midstate Communications as a Board Member?
Long-term community member. Small business owner. I understand hard work and not wanting to give your hard-earned dollars away. I enjoy hearing from people, understanding their point of view and somehow bringing conversation on what the Telephone/Internet industry is up against. I understand that a Multimillion project is just as significant as saving you $2.00 per month on your bill. I get it.  I get: that you need to put in the time to understand the industry.

Other (if any):
Truly enjoyed being your Midstate representative. Door is always open because God knows how hard it is to get a carpenter to replace it.

Patty Juhnke
District 3 Candidate

Tell us about yourself?
My husband, Stacey and I have two daughters, Katie (Michael) and Mandy (Nathan) and one grandson. I completed my Bachelor in Social Work degree from the University of South Dakota and my Master in Social Work from Florida State University. Upon moving to Chamberlain, I began my social work career at St Joseph Indian School as a Family Service Worker and for the past thirty-two years, I have been employed at Sanford Health.  My husband and I owned Chamberlain Locker, Inc for twenty-three years. I have been very active in the United Church of Christ of Chamberlain, presently serving as the treasurer and choir director.

I enjoy reading, singing, playing with my grandchild, baking, being on the water as well as golfing. Being able to spend time with family and friends is considered a huge reward in life.

Reason(s) for running for Midstate Communications Board of Directors?
As a consumer of the services that Midstate Communications offers, I find their vision for the future to be very interesting. As new developments occur in the communication world, remaining focused upon how to bring those services to rural South Dakota is imperative. The employees of Midstate Communications are neighbors and friends who I believe are the anchor of maintaining the quality services that we receive thus desiring to ensure that they are supported.

What assets/skills do you feel you will bring to Midstate Communications as a Board Member? 
With financial knowledge of owning a business, I believe that I can be an asset to the fiscal responsibility of the organization. The ability to listen to the concerns and needs of the customers and ensure that those are heard in regards to advancing the services provided by Midstate Communications is of essence.

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