Sioux Falls residents will have a clear choice when they select a mayor on Tuesday.
City Councilor Greg Jamison is challenging Mayor Mike Huether.The two men joined me for a one-hour forum this week to share their vision for the city.
I listened carefully throughout the discussion. Both men engaged me very candidly on a host of issues from their personal leadership styles and religious values to crime, growth and public transportation in the city.
One thing struck me very clearly.
Greg Jamison had a lot of ideas for involving the community in discussion. He spoke about putting a panel together on crime. He spoke about soliciting opinions from a dozen agencies on Paratransit. He presented a few specific plans of action, such as hiring more police officers, but it was clear to me that Greg's plans involve a lot of discussion with the community.
It occurred to me that Sioux Falls recently had another mayor who liked seeking community input.
Mayor Dave Munson talked at length about a new events center. He commissioned two task forces on the issue. We talked about where to build a new events center. We talked about how large to build a new events center. We talked and we talked and we talked about a new events center. Eight years later the city still had no new events center.
Enter Mike Huether.
Huether's campaign did extensive polling and found significant community support for a new events center. Huether promised that if he were elected, he would put together a plan and present it to the public for a vote. That's exactly what he did.
And guess what? It passed.
Now, only a few years later, the city is a few months away from opening the Denny Sanford Premier Center.
Huether also promised a new events center would operate in the black. I have scoffed at that promise on the air many times.
But do you know what Mike Huether did?
He rallied his team and they solicited over $2 million in annual sponsorships. That's enough to cover the new center's estimated operating costs each year.
I'm not scoffing anymore.
Huether promised to repair the crumbling roads that had been neglected by hispredecessor.
And guess what? He did.
The reality is that some people talk about problems. Others solve them. Mike Huether is a problem solver.
I didn't vote for Mike Huether in the last mayoral election.However, Mike has worked tremendously hard these past four years to earn my vote.
On Tuesday, he's got it.
Greg Belfrage ( @belfrageshow ) is heard 6am-9am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.