Republican farmer Ray Martinmaas endorses Matt McGovern for South Dakota Public Utilities Commission

Saying South Dakota needs to replace members of the S.D. Public Utilities Commission (PUC) because they have failed to protect the public, Ray Martinmaas, a Republican farmer who farms near Orient, today endorsed Matt McGovern for one of the commission seats.

Martinmaas is one of the South Dakota farmers who lost a total of $2.6 million when the Anderson Seed Company in Redfield went bankrupt last month.

“If Kristie Fiegen and the other commissioners had been doing their job, this would not have happened. We need new commissioners who will protect farmers and consumers, and I’m happy to endorse Matt McGovern,” Martinmaas said. “We’ve got to clean house.”

The PUC’s Warehouse Division is responsible for oversight of public grain warehouses. State licensed grain warehouses are required to post a bond equal to one-half the value of the grain stored at all their locations. The Anderson Seed Company only had a $100,000 bond.

McGovern, a South Dakota attorney, announced last month that he is running for the PUC seat held by Kristie Fiegen, who had been appointed.

“I am running for the Public Utilities Commission because we need commissioners who will stand up for consumers and farmers, not corporations. It is time for the PUC to serve the people of South Dakota and not the companies they are supposed to regulate,” McGovern said.

“I don’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, an Independent or a member of the Tea Party, we need new commissioners on the PUC,” Martinmaas said. Matt McGovern will be an independent voice on the commission, Martinmaas said, because he doesn’t accept campaign contributions from lobbyists or the utilities the PUC regulates.

The PUC is attempting to recover the $100,000 bond that Anderson Seed Company held. “This is too little, too late. We need to reform the bonding program and elect new commissioners to make sure this never happens again,” McGovern said.

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