South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chairman Chris Nelson has been elected to a new term on the panel that regulates grain warehouses and natural gas, electric and telephone utilities in the state.
The 48-year-old Republican defeated Democratic challenger Nick Nemec, a 54-year-old farmer and former state lawmaker from Holabird, for a four-year term on the commission.
Nelson is a former secretary of state who was appointed nearly two years ago to fill a vacancy on the PUC.
Nemec had criticized Nelson and other members of the PUC for not doing enough to protect farmers who lost money when they sold sunflowers to a failed grain-buying company that cannot pay them. Nelson countered that the commission did everything it could under current law to protect those farmers.
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