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At-Large Candidates Talk Economy, Events Center

March 22, 2012, 6:05 PM by Brady Mallory

At-Large Candidates Talk Economy, Events Center
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

The election is almost just two weeks away and some candidates are ready to shake up the Sioux Falls City Council.  At a forum at the Sioux Falls Convention Center, nine out of ten candidates shared their visions for the city's future.    

Of the ten, four candidates are challenging incumbents, and three are vying for the at-large position.  Those three will have to campaign the hardest because the winner represents the entire city.

There is no doubt all of the candidates think Sioux Falls is a great city, but some do not feel the same way about city leaders.

"I don't want to say I'm mad at the city (leaders) for what they've done.  I'm pissed off!  It's more than just a little bit.  That's why I am running," at-large candidate Cory Buttemeier said.

Buttemeier does not think the current council is being open enough.

"Especially what's been going on with the council and that unfortunate firing of Debra Owen," at-large candidate Kermit Staggers said.

Staggers is just one of the heavy-hitters wanting to fill Council member Vernon Brown's soon-to-be vacant position.  A former council member and mayoral candidate, Staggers says Sioux Falls needs a transparent candidate who keeps promises.

"I've had a number of people tell me, 'You know, the city is going to start moving money around or they're going to delay projects on the Events Center to make it look like they just spent $115 million dollars,'" Staggers said.  "Well, I think we need to have someone on the council to make sure we truly spend $115 million."

Staggers is not the only at-large candidate boasting experience.  Former Council member De Knudson pointed out her involvement with several boards and committees. A supporter of the Events Center, she wants more of what she calls, 'quality projects,' to help grow the economy.

"So that we can provide more good jobs for our citizens.  We are growing by hundreds every year," Knudson said.

With recent water main breaks all over the city, if elected, Knudson wants to focus on keeping the city's infrastructure strong and up to date.

"That's a no-brainer; we obviously have to do that.  We continue to spend a lot of good taxpayers' money for working on the roads, sewer and water," Knudson said.

Without going into too much detail, Buttemeier said his goal is simple: promote Sioux Falls.  He feels he brings something unique to the table.

"I'm the outsider; I'm the common guy.  I work two jobs," Buttemeier said.

Voters go to the polls April 10.  Review a sample ballot online.

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