SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In six weeks, the people of Sioux Falls will head to the ballot box to elect a mayor and several city councilors. There will be quite a few candidates on the ballot as well as two ballot questions as well as two ordinances to amend the city charter.
Voters will no longer vote for Sioux Falls School Board seats as that election has been cancelled. Two seats were up for election, but nobody filed to challenge Carly Reiter and Nan Baker’s seats by the February 25 deadline. Instead, Reiter and Baker will retain their seats and be sworn in at a meeting in July.
To vote in the election, you must be registered by March 28, 2022. Voters can visit the South Dakota Secretary of State’s website to find their polling location. If you are not registered to vote, you can visit the county auditor’s office in Lincoln or Minnehaha County as well as the City Clerk’s Office, City Finance Office, Driver’s License Station, public assistance agencies (SNAP, TANF, or WIC), Department of Human Services, military recruitment offices, or the Secretary of State’s office.
Voter registration forms cannot be submitted electronically.
To read more about the candidates’ campaign finance, election resources, absentee voting, and voter registration, the City of Sioux Falls has an election information page for the April election.
Who’s on the ballot?
Mayor Paul TenHaken is seeking re-election for his mayoral seat but is facing opposition from two other candidates.
Mayor TenHaken was elected as the 32nd mayor of Sioux Falls in 2018. Prior to his election, TenHaken served as the Founder/CEO of Click Rain, a marketing agency in Sioux Falls. “Since taking office, Mayor TenHaken has led with a focus on public entrepreneurship, innovation, employee culture and fiscal responsibility,” TenHaken’s website reads.
Campaign website: tenhakenformayor.com
In addition to being an immigration lawyer, Islam is also the founder and executive director for South Dakota Voices for Peace and its sister organization, South Dakota Voices for Justice. According to her campaign site, Islam will focus on inclusivity and equity to make Sioux Falls a more welcoming place through community centered policies.
Campaign website: www.taneezaforsf.com
Zokaites is a familiar face at the Sioux Falls city council meetings and ran for mayor in 2018. Zokaites lists corruption, substance abuse, infrastructure, and crime as some of the issues Sioux Falls is facing that he hopes to address as mayor.
Campaign website: davidzformayor.org
There are four City Council seats being contested in the April 2022 election with two current council members fighting to hold their seat.
At Large “A”
Cole is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Avera Health. She has served in organizations such as Churches United for the Homeless, the Greenwood Block Club, Prevent Blindness Nebraska, Rotary, and Body Basics according to her website.
Campaign website: www.sarahforsiouxfalls.com
Andera is a U.S. Air Force veteran, Laboratory Business Manager at Sanford Health, and the CEO of B Enterprises LLC.
Campaign website: bforthecity.com
Brekke currently holds the At Large seat on the City Council and is running for re-election. Brekke is an attorney and formerly served as a Minnehaha County deputy state’s attorney and as a City Attorney in the Sioux Falls City Attorney’s Office.
Campaign website: siouxfalls.org/council/members/j-brekke
At Large “B”
Cole is the executive director of the Nordland Heritage Foundation and serves on the Board of Historic Preservation. She is also the former Executive Director for the SD Democratic Party and grassroots organizer for Medicaid expansion.
Campaign website: coleforcouncil.com
Merkouris is the president of the Kingdom Capital Fund and is on the board of directors for Empower Sioux Falls, Compassion Child Care, and the Sioux Falls Hope Coalition.
Campaign website: merkourisforcouncil.com
Barranco is a Sioux Falls lawyer that has served as legal counsel for fostering children as well as drafting fiscally conservative policy, according to his website.
Campaign website: barranco.solutions
Ingle is the Board Secretary for Sioux Falls Pride and also serves as an application support specialist at the Center for Family Medicine.
Reistroffer is the project manager for Genesis Farms, Minnehaha County’s only medical marijuana dispensary.
Campaign website: voteforemmett.com
Soehl currently holds the Central District City Council seat and is seeking re-election. Soehl spent 20 years with Sioux Falls Fire and Rescue and now serves as a member of the Sports Authority Board in addition to being a city councilor.
Campaign website: curtforcouncil.com
Burzkynski serves on the All Saints Neighborhood Association in addition to being a pharmacist at Avera Health.
Campaign website: jimforsiouxfalls.com
In addition to the city council seats and mayoral candidates, two ordinances will be on the April ballot for voters to decide on.
Ordinance 160-21 would amend the language of the charter to change the mayors salary from $75,000, as established in 1995, to $165,000.
The second ballot question deals with Ordinance 161-21 which would amend 2.05 of the charter to include that “neither the city council nor any of its members shall in any manner control or demand the appointment or removal of any city administrative officer or employee whom the mayor or any subordinate is empowered to appoint.”
Another amendment to 4.03 would read that “…a legal officer of the city appointed by the mayor effective with the advice and consent of five (5) or more members of the council.” It goes on to say that a legal officer may be removed with six or more votes of the members of the council or by the mayor with consent of five or more members of the council.