Recapping The KELOLAND News Mayoral Debate


One week from Tuesday, Sioux Falls will elect a new mayor. This Tuesday we brought both candidates to our KELOLAND News studio for a live debate. What the candidates shared with us during and after the debate is pointing to some of their differences.

We caught up with the candidates after the debate to ask a few extra questions. 
One was on public safety and police using precincts to help make it happen, something Jolene Loetscher supports. 

On Tuesday the Sioux Falls Police Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council released a statement saying their membership in the Sioux Falls Police Department does not support the proposal for policing based on precinct. 

Paul TenHaken also touched on his interaction with the Fraternal Order of Police.

“I took the time to get to know them and what their strategies were for reducing crime and narcotics growth; it was not around precincting, which is why you’ve heard me kind of pivot away from that. We’re not ready for that yet. We’re only 185,000 people. At some point in time, Sioux Falls will need that. It’s not today,” TenHaken said.

“As Sioux Falls grows out and we look at the trends that are leading in law enforcement, and have for decades, precinct-focused policing is part of that. And so I look forward to continuing conversations with the Union, continuing conversations with Chief Burns, about what that will look like for Sioux Falls,” Loetscher said.

Our viewers asked the candidates about their business experience, as well as the budgets and employees they’ve managed. 

“I have managed dozens of employees, and we have managed budgets in excess of a million dollars, and I am proud of that work, I am proud of the hard work, and some people may say, ‘You had a dog waste company, how does that make you qualified to be mayor,’ I say that makes me smart. Because I understand what it takes to work hard,” Loetscher said.

“We had about a $5.5 million revenue budget at the time I exited that, so you’re walking into the city’s budget with a $460 million city budget, so very important to have multi-million dollar budget experience stepping into City Hall. 36 employees at that company that I built,” TenHaken said.

After the debate, we also asked about developing growth, both downtown and in other parts of the city.

“Restoring funding in our capital improvement plan to the River Greenway Project I think is going to be very critical, because investing in that will spur a lot of spin-off growth. As well as what are we going to do in the rail yard and the Sioux Steel property. The investments that we make there have the potential to be transformative for Sioux Falls,” TenHaken said.

“We’ve advocated for public transportation improvements. The use of microbuses and improved routing software to help connect those other parts of the city to the core, and to the edges, to each other,” Loetscher said.

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