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Sioux Falls Mayor ready to get back to work following re-election

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 6:14 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken has been elected to serve a second term.

The incumbent mayor won nearly 75% of the vote during Tuesday night’s election, defeating his challengers Taneeza Islam and David Zokaites.

But what comes next? Dakota News Now sat down with Mayor TenHaken Wednesday afternoon to discuss just that.

“It feels good to be to April 13th. Campaigning while you’re also trying to do the job of the mayor is a lot of work,” TenHaken said.

While the grueling task of campaigning is over, TenHaken knows the real work is just beginning.

“I think the election was a referendum on the last four years and where we’re moving as a community; I think housing, infrastructure, public safety, workforce, those are going to be four big issues that we’re going to keep focusing on,” TenHaken said.

But, he isn’t just leaving the campaign trail in the dust, instead, he’s taken notes.

“One of the big things that I learned, and will continue to focus on, is the way our community is changing and becoming diverse. One of my opponents really focused on that piece and diversity in our community, and there is real change that’s happening in Sioux Falls,” TenHaken said.

Mayor wasn’t the only public office seat determined by Tuesday’s vote, three new city councilors have been elected, including Sarah Cole, who defeated incumbent Janet Brekke.

Dakota News Now reached out to current city councilors to get their reaction to the election results as well.

“It’s really hard to beat an incumbent, so I think that’s really a surprise, and that’s a credit to what a great campaign she ran,” Sioux Falls City Councilor Greg Neitzert said about Sarah Cole when asked if any of the election results surprised him.

Two charter amendments also had their fate decided. Amendment A, sponsored by Councilor Marshall Selberg, failed. It would have risen the salaries of city councilors and the mayor.

“I was a little disappointed to see that go down, I do think we need to look at that again,” Selberg said. “When you’ve got the man at the top of the organizational chart for an organization that has 1,100 employees and a 650 million dollar budget, and when his pay ranks 21st on the chart, I think there is something that needs to be adjusted.”

Either way, with the seats filled and the people’s voices heard, it’s time to move forward.

“There’s just a whole litany of issues that, obviously, we’re going to have, so it’s going to be an exciting next couple of years,” Neitzert said.

The first active work for Mayor TenHaken and city leaders following the campaign season is Wednesday night’s city council meeting, which was postponed because of Tuesday’s election.

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