Brad Johnson of Watertown has been an effective voice for clean water in South Dakota as chairman for the state Board of Water and Natural Resources.
He seemed like a logical choice when he was appointed in 2012 to the Legislature’s new regional watershed task force.
The appointment was made by then-Rep. Val Rausch, R-Big Stone City, in his role at the time as speaker for the House of Representatives.
Johnson, who makes his living as a real estate appraiser, understands the economic value of clean water in lakes and streams.
He also understands the economic significance of lakes that don’t dry up, and lakes that don’t flood, especially when they are surrounded by houses such as beautiful Lake Kampeska at Watertown.
Johnson felt put-upon when he wasn’t reappointed to the task force this year by Rep. Brian Gosch, R-Rapid City, the new speaker of the House.
Gosch instead kept Kim Vanneman of Ideal. She served on the task force last year while she was still a member of the House of Representatives.
Gosch appointed her to a general-public seat on the task force this year so she could continue. That decision bumped aside Johnson.
Vanneman was chairwoman for the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee during her final term as a legislator. Now she is vice chairwoman for the South Dakota Republican Party.
It seems only natural Gosch would favor keeping a former legislator. Vanneman’s committee, by the way, held a hearing last year on the legislation that created the task force.