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June 13, 2018 05:29 PM

Mayor TenHaken Explains Why He's Not Going To SF Pride

At least 10,000 people are expected at Sioux Falls Pride, but Mayor Paul TenHaken won't be one of them. This is the first time in several years the Sioux Falls mayor won't be at the event that celebrates the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. 

Over the years, Sioux Falls Pride has grown, as more people embrace equality for the LGBTQ community. Sioux Falls Pride president Adam Jorgensen says 90 businesses will be there. 

"They see it as a place for everybody," Jorgensen said. 

This year, members of Sioux Falls City Council will be at Pride to read a proclamation on behalf of the city. It's a change. Jorgensen says for at least the last five years, Mayor Mike Huether has done that. 

"He really had a good time. He met with people, shook hands, gave hugs and really told the community he was there for them," Jorgensen said. 

Jorgensen says the committee invited Mayor Paul TenHaken, and his opponents, long before the May 1 mayoral election. The goal was to give the winner ample time to schedule an appearance.  

"It is kind of disappointing not to have the mayor there, so we're hoping next year that he'll be there. It's the same weekend every year; the third weekend in June," Jorgensen said. 

"I take each request as they come in and look at the schedule, and sometimes I have to say no," TenHaken said. 

TenHaken says he won't be at Pride because of a scheduling conflict, planned long in advance.  

"Father's Day weekend is always a weekend we try to get away. Usually camping or lake time. Something my kids do for me every year, which I have appreciated," TenHaken said. 

TenHaken says he requested city council members go in his absence, to show support from the City. 

"I want the best Sioux Falls for the entirety of the population. That doesn't mean lifting up one group over another. That means treating everyone the same," TenHaken said. 

TenHaken says he gets several invites and requests each day, and it's impossible to say yes to everything. Jorgensen says there are no hard feelings, but hopes to work with Mayor TenHaken to get Sioux Falls Pride on his schedule in the future. He adds TenHaken is always invited. 

"He's welcome next year. He's welcome any time. He's welcome to any of our events and we hope to see him there," Jorgensen said. 

Brady Mallory: "If Sioux Falls Pride were to invite you now, would you be able to get it on your schedule and go next year?"
TenHaken: "If it works with my schedule, yeah." 

Sioux Falls Pride is this Saturday, June 16, in Terrace Park. The event itself is free. 

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