Where to Contact Us:

Codington County Republicans
P.O. Box 1445
Watertown, SD 57201

E-Mail: info@codingtoncountyrepublicans.org

What's New


Codington County Caucus for National Delegate Selection

April 19th noon

Suite B

312 9th Ave SE

ANZA offices







Codington County Lincoln Day Dinner


Friday, April 26th 2024


2nd Street Station - Watertown, SD


Elected Officials and Candidates schedules to speak!



Contace Eventbrite for ticets or bretholien@gmail.com or text 881-9124






Codington County Elected Officials

Codington County Commissioner Biographies

Myron Johnson grew up on a dairy farm in Brookings Co. after graduating from White (Deubrook) H. S. he served four years in the U.S. Navy. He then returned to S.D. And completed his post-secondary education at LATC and SDSU. He worked at LATC for thirty-five years as director of the Agriculture Department and Business and Industry Training. He retired in June of 2008. Myron is married to his wife (Sue) they have two adult children and five grandchildren. Myron is completing his third four-year term and looking forward to serving another four-year term. In addition to his commission duties, he serves on the SD Retirement system as a trustee and several boards and committees Commission related Thank you for the opportunity to serve and for your continued support.

"Donald “Lee” Gabel, is in his third term as a county commissioner. As commissioner, Lee has focused on justice, public safety, efficiency and transparency. He leads the effort to cost-effectively fix the problems of aging justice facilities. Notably, he led the county’s effort which added a much-needed courtroom, security checkpoint and fire control sprinkler system, with no increase in taxes.  This allows continued public use of our historic courthouse for years to come.  Lee also works with the community to maximize appropriate alternatives to jail. He also initiated an ongoing statewide effort to make counties less dependent on property tax to fund infrastructure projects. In his third term, Lee is working to address the problems with our aging county jail to provide a safe and up-to-date facility to keep our community safe. Before being elected, he retired from the U.S. Army at the rank of colonel after over 27 years of military service. He currently assists the U.S. Army and NATO as a defense consultant. He and his wife, Anne, serve with the Association of Christian Conferences Teaching and Services; a non-profit military ministry. Gabel holds a BA degree, two Master’s Degrees, and the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. His marriage in 1985 to his wife, Anne, established a permanent tie to Codington County. After retiring from the Army, he and his family settled in Watertown in 2012. Lee and Anne, have five children."

Harlan ‘Charlie’ Waterman was born in 1951 in Willmar Minnesota.  He attended grades 1-8 in Prinsburg, Minnesota and then graduated from Clara City High School.  Then he attended Anoka Vocational College and enlisted in the Minnesota Nation Guard, later transferring to the South Dakota National Guard and serving over 9 years with an honorable discharge.  He married his wife Betty in 1973 and they have two children and two grandchildren. After moving to South Dakota, he worked in Mobridge at an IH dealer and farmed close to Glenham, South Dakota.  He is a longtime Codington County resident and business owner of Charlie’s Pawn.  He is a member of St. Martins Lutheran Church, the American Legion, and the Kampeska Coin Club. They reside in the rural Watertown-Florence area. Charlie is looking forward to continue listening and serving you as your District 2 County Commissioner.

Troy VanDusen and his wife, Carol, are proud to call Codington County home. The VanDusen's have two daughters, Megan and Lauren. Megan is a paramedic in Sioux Falls and Lauren is a student at Lake Area Tech. Troy was first elected to the County Commission in 2012 and re-elected to his second term in 2019 representing District 4. He is the county liaison for the Highway Department, Director of Equalization County Treasurers Office and the Coroner. Troy has dedicated his life to public service, retiring from the Watertown Police Department after 24 years of service in 2019. After retiring he did a two-year stint as the News Director at KXLG Radio. In 2021, Troy returned to public service as the director of the Watertown Area Regional 911 Center where he oversees day-to-day operations within the center. Troy remains active in the community, serving on several different committees and boards both on the local and state level including the South Dakota Law Enforcement Standards and Training Commission. VanDusen holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and is a graduate of the distinguished FBI National Academy in Quantico Virginia. In addition to his duties with 911, Troy also continues to patrol the streets of Watertown as the Reserve Police Chief. Troy, Carol, Lauren and Megan are all active members of the Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Watertown. VanDusen said, "I would like to thank you for allowing me to serve as your District 4 Commissioner.”

Randy Schweer was born and raised in Milbank, SD on his family's dairy farm. Shortly after graduating from high school, he began his career working at Watertown Holsteins. Twenty years later, Randy and Diane purchased the dairy operation in 2002 where they still reside and contribute to the agricultural industry. Randy and Diane raised five daughters and a son and are now proud grandparents of 7 grandchildren. Presently, Randy serves as a county commissioner. 

Register of Deeds Biography

Ann Rasmussen has been a resident of Watertown since 1971. She is a graduate of Watertown High School and also attended the University of South Dakota, the home of her birthplace. Her life has been blessed with two sons, Nathan and Jason. In July of 2009, Nathan’s life was cut short due to a tragic car accident. Ann relishes the time spent with Nathan's daughter, Sloan, who just turned 16. Jason and his wife, Shanna, and children Selah (5) and Sylas (1) live in Sioux Falls. Ann began working in the Register of Deeds Office in 1996. She was appointed as acting Register of Deeds in 2005. She was elected to her first term in 2006 and recently ran unopposed for her fifth term in 2022. "I am honored to have been elected as your Register of Deeds, and I would like to thank everybody for their support in allowing me to continue to let my experience work for you in the Register of Deeds Office.”

County Auditor Biography

Brenda Hanten was born in Clear Lake and grew up on a farm near Altamont.  She graduated from Clear Lake High School.  She previously served as the Deuel County Register of Deeds. She has seven children and seven grandchildren.  Brenda previously served twelve years as a Codington County Commissioner, three of which she served as the Chair. Brenda is serving her fourth year on the National Association of Counties Community, Economic and Workforce Development Policy Steering Committee, is Chair of the Planning and Zoning Board, Vice Chair of the Codington County Republican Party, Treasurer on the Community Transit of Watertown/Sisseton Inc. She is a board member on the LEPC Board, 911 Advisory Board, Interlakes Community Action Partnership Board, and attends the Watertown Government Affairs Board meetings. Brenda is a member of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce and Watertown Rotary Club. "I am truly enjoying serving as your Codington County Auditor and am honored to have been given this opportunity. Thank you for your continued support!”

District 4 House and Senate Biographies

District 4 Senator John Wiik was born in Ortonville, MN and raised in Big Stone City, SD.   John spent 24 years on air as a radio broadcaster in Milbank, Fargo, ND, and 14 years in Watertown.  In those years in Watertown, John met and married Chelsey Brenden of Henry, SD and the couple have two sons.  In 2009, the family moved to Big Stone City to rejoin John’s Family’s Business as Parts Manager.  While in Watertown, John was active in Republican Party politics and volunteered for many organizations, and is currently the Chairman of the Grant County Republican Party, and in January 2023 was elected Chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party.   John is serving his fourth term in the South Dakota Senate, and greatly appreciates the solid support of the Codington County Republican Party.

Dr. Fred Deutsch and his wife Dr. Kathleen are both retired chiropractors. Married 39 years, they have four daughters and six grandchildren. Fred is a former nine-year Watertown School Board Member and has served on many community and state boards, including President of the Watertown Boys and Girls Club Board, President of South Dakota Right to Life, and Watertown United Way board. Fred is currently serving his third term in the legislature representing District 4 – Grant, Deuel, rural Codington and rural Brookings counties. He serves on the Military and Veteran’s Affairs Committee, the Education Committee, and the Health and Human Services Committee.  Fred enjoys the outdoors, bicycling and gardening. He is a member of Immaculate Conception Church and in his free time enjoys playing with his grandchildren.

Stephanie Sauder is in her first term in the House of Representatives for District 4. She serves on the Education, Ag/Natural Resources and Military/Veterans Affairs Committees. She will be a member of education-related committees in the interim. “I thoroughly enjoyed my first legislative session,” says Rep. Sauder. “Working as a team with the other citizen legislators and Governor Noem for District 4 and the state of South Dakota is a great honor.”  She and her husband Jerry live on their farm near Bryant and have two sons and one grandson. A fifth-generation South Dakota farmer, Stephanie was a K-12 educator for 30 years and former publisher and editor of the Bryant Dakotan newspaper. She served as mayor of Bryant and charter director of the Bryant Cinema Board in addition to several offices during her teaching career. Sauder is an ITC board member and a member of the Codington County Republican Women and Mothers of Peace Officers organizations. She and her family belong to New Hope Lutheran Church of rural Hayti where she serves as pianist/organist and is part of the WNALC. She is a community volunteer, including the Bryant Cinema, Parkview Assisted Living Auxiliary and part-time accompanist for the St. Dysmas choir at the SD State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.

District 5 House and Senate Biographies

Lee Schoenbeck and his wife Donna have been married for over 30 years and have raised four children here in Watertown. Lee is a graduate of Augustana College and USD School of law. Lee and Donna are members of Holy Name of Jesus parish. He is a member of Rotary, Ikes and many outdoors and hunting groups. Lee Schoenbeck is the President Pro Temp of the State Senate, its chief executive officer. He served six terms in the state senate, including previously serving as the leader of that body, and one term in the House. Lee practices trial law in northeast South Dakota. Lee is on the board of the Immaculate Conception School Foundation and is the past chairman of the Catholic Community Foundation for Eastern South Dakota.

Hugh Bartels, Speaker of the House has lived in Watertown for 42 years and for all except one year he has been a community banker. He served 9 years on the Watertown School Board. He has been actively involved in several community activities and charities, from the Chairman of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce to Loaned Executive for United Way, Boys and Girls Club Capital Campaign, and Watertown Development Campaigns. Hugh has also been Chairman of the South Dakota Investment Council and served on both statewide banking association boards and served for seven years on national banking committees. He is active in Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer having served as Treasurer and a member of the church council. Bartels is currently a board member of Reliabank, Joy Ranch of South Dakota and the Village at Harmony Hill. Representative Bartels is the Speaker of the House, Chair of the Executive Board of the Legislature, Chair of the Retirement Laws, Chair of Legislative Procedure and a member of House State Affairs.

First-term Representative Byron Callies was born in Madison, South Dakota, and graduated from Howard High School.  As a senior, he joined the National Guard and upon graduation he attended Basic Training and AIT at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.  Following a 40-year career in the South Dakota National Guard, he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.  His civilian career was spent in the electric utility industry, Northwestern Public Service and Western Area Power Administration.  During his career, he attained a BS in Applied Management and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Huron University.  Following college  graduation,  he taught Economics at Huron University and Mount Marty College in Watertown for a total of 10 years.   He became involved working with veterans through the American Legion where he eventually became State Commander in 2012-2013 and National Vice Commander in 2017-2018.  In service to his community Byron coached little league baseball, taught hunter safety to pre-teens, presented flag etiquette to third grade students, conducted bicycle safety rodeos for grade school students and was Vice-Chairman of the Home Charter Revision Committee which reviewed and revamped the governmental charter for the City of Watertown.  He spent over 25 years officiating high school sports:   basketball, volleyball and football, which culminated in officiating the SD high school football championship game in Vermillion.  He is past Chairman of the Airport Board and is currently the Chairman of the Veterans Memorial Corporation.  He is also the State Committeeman for the Codington County Republican Central Committee.   Currently, in the South Dakota Legislature, he serves on the Commerce and Energy Committee, the Education Committee, and the Military/Veterans Committee.   He is married to Kaelyn and they have three grown children, a daughter living in Castlewood and two sons living in the Rochester area. 

Codington County Sheriff Biography

Brad Howell, Codington County Sheriff is a lifelong resident of South Dakota, born and raised in Milbank. Following his graduation from the Alexandria Tech School, he began his career in law enforcement. Brad was hired by the Milbank Police department in 2002 as a police officer. In 2008, he was hired as a Deputy Sheriff for Codington County. In 2010 he was promoted to the position of Sergeant, he served in that capacity for 5 years. In 2015, Brad was promoted to Chief Deputy, and assisted with the daily operations of the Sheriff’s Office. He took office as the Codington County Sheriff on January 1st, 2017 and was elected to the Office of Sheriff in 2018. Brad serves on many local Boards and organizations, past board member on the Waverly-South Shore School Board, and Watertown Rotary and a Watertown Lions member. He also participates on the Watertown Boys and Girls Club board, LATI Advisory Board, the Northeast Tech HS advisory Board, appointed to the Council of Juvenile Services by Governor Noem and is also on the state JDAI Committee and many more. A favorite assignment is serving as a DARE instructor, to impact the youth of our community. He has instituted many new programs to the Sheriff’s Office to benefit the public, while striving to maintain fiscal responsibility and minimize taxpayer liability. “I am honored to serve the Citizens of Codington County as your Sheriff, and I am deeply committed to keeping our communities, families and property safe by providing the best, most professional law enforcement services possible at all times.” Brad also enjoys spending time with his family, wife Cheri and two daughters, Robin and Braden.

Codington County Attorney Biography

Becky Morlock Reeves, the currently elected Codington County State’s Attorney, is the daughter of Will and Pat Morlock.  Will spent his entire career with SD Game, Fish and Parks, and Pat was a seamstress, having fitted many bride’s wedding dresses.  Becky grew up in Watertown, and graduated from Watertown High School in 1990.  She earned her undergraduate degree (BA Political Science) from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and her law degree (Juris Doctor) from the University of South Dakota School of Law in Vermillion, SD.  At USD she met her husband of 25 years, Adam Reeves who is a deputy sheriff for Codington County.   In 2000, they moved back to Watertown and have two daughters, Abigail (16) and Allison (12).  For the first 17 years of her legal career Becky worked for the Watertown law firm of Wiles and Rylance with John Wiles and Ray Rylance.  In 2015, Becky accepted a position with the Codington County State’s Attorney’s office as a deputy State’s Attorney.   In 2017, Becky was appointed as the Codington County State’s Attorney.  Becky stood for election unopposed in 2018 and again in 2020. Over the years, Becky has served on the South Dakota Young Lawyers Board of Directors (including a term as President) and served as a Bar Commissioner for the South Dakota State Bar Association.  Locally, she has served on the Codington County Heritage Museum Board of Directors, the BISCO board and the Watertown Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  For many years, one of her passions was co-directing the Watertown Lions Club Ice Show.  Becky is currently active in the community serving on the Lake Area Zoological Society Board of Directors, the Watertown Figure Skating Club Board of Directors, and is a member of the Codington County Republican Women.  She is a member of the Grace Lutheran Church where she also serves on church committees.  “It has been an honor to be your elected Codington County State’s Attorney for these last six years, and I look forward to the privilege of being your State’s Attorney for the years to come.”