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Sioux Falls Mayoral Candidates react to TenHaken’s State of the City Address

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 4:34 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Mayor Paul TenHaken delivered his fourth State of the City address Wednesday morning, but come April’s election, there is no guarantee he will still sit in office.

During the address, Mayor TenHaken touted the city’s continued growth and his future plans. He emphasized the community’s financial success, key infrastructure projects, and safety in the city.

“I’ve never been more proud of Sioux Falls as a community or more optimistic about the direction in which our great city is headed,” TenHaken said.

While all this is great, Taneeza Islam, who is running against Tenhaken, says the mayor missed the mark in a few areas.

“First and foremost, we’re in a pandemic and there was absolutely no acknowledgment of that,” Islam said. “We have lost lives to the pandemic (in Sioux Falls) and acknowledgment of that from the city’s mayor was really critical, I believe.”

David Zokaites, also running for mayor, says he wishes local government would show more transparency.

“We need to be more honest, caring, and practical with government,” Zokaites said. “Those issues don’t really appear much in State of the City addresses because people want to pretend that government is already honest, but it is not.”

On the other hand, Sioux Falls City Councilor Marshall Selberg thought the address was spot on.

“I thought it was a very optimistic view of our current situation in the city and where we’re going,” Selberg said.

One major concern they all see facing Sioux Falls - affordable housing.

“Affordable housing is a tremendous problem for many people and its got a couple of different origins,” Zokaites said.

TenHaken says he has partnered with various organizations to create solutions, like an initiative to build tiny homes for veterans in the state and the 2026 Housing Action Plan.

But, Taneeza wants more concrete answers.

“The Mayor talked about affordable housing but I heard no plan for what that’s going to look like,” Islam said.

Then there’s the issue of diversity.

“It’s not just about the faces that we see in our city, it’s about figuring out how to include them in the decision-making process, how to have their voices heard at the table,” Islam said.

You can hear from all the candidates in a few weeks.

Dakota News Now is teaming up with the Argus Leader to host a one-hour debate. That debate is Monday, April 4 at 5:30 at the Washington Pavilion, and is open to the public. It will also be available to view on dakotanewsnow.com and the Dakota News Now App.

The Sioux Falls General Election is on April 12. The deadline to register to vote is March 28.

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