SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Next Tuesday voters in northwest Sioux Falls will vote for their representative on the Sioux Falls City Council. They’ll choose between incumbent Greg Neitzert and challenger Julian Beaudion.
For Beaudion, a 33-year-old state law enforcement officer, the desire to represent is motivating his run for a spot on the council.
“Number one in particular is going to be representation,” Beaudion said. “And so there’s not any representation specifically towards a minority community here in Sioux Falls.”
Neitzert, a 41-year-old software engineer, is running for another four-year term.
“I want to make this a city that my daughter will want to raise a family, and so I want to improve quality of life and make it a financially affordable place to live, and I want this to be somewhere that is accessible to everyone,” Neitzert said.
Each candidate brings up the pandemic when asked what their presence on the Council would mean.
“It’s going to be about focusing on the priorities, which are going to be roads, quality of life, keeping our city financially strong, particularly through this pandemic, and the issues that we face with that,” Neitzert said. “And then public safety. Public safety is so important- we have to continue to hire police officers.”
“One of the main priorities that I’ve been speaking to a lot of individuals not only in the district about but in Sioux Falls as a whole about is workplace safety and the safety of our workers in general,” Beaudion said. “COVID-19 has really brought up some things that we didn’t know were there prior to this, in particular the disproportionate health care system that we have.”
When it comes to the balance between economic and health concerns during this pandemic, the candidates link these concerns.
“If it wasn’t for the people, our economy would be shot anyways,” Beaudion said. “And so I truly believe that the people hold the best value and the most value in our community. We are each other’s strongest asset, and we should treat each other that way.”
“The economy is not just something that exists in a vacuum- it’s made up of people, and people with lives and jobs, and people are hurting right now,” Neitzert said. “So as policy makers, we have to make measured decisions, knowing that our decisions are also having negative consequences: of suicide, substance abuse, depression, job loss.”
Part of the job of a city councilor can be to face an issue that might have passionate support behind it.
“You listen to all sides, take all of the input, and try to make the best decision for the long-term interests of the city,” Neitzert said. “And whenever I do that, I can look myself in the mirror, knowing that I made a decision that I thought was best for the city and the citizens as a whole.”
“For me, I encourage voices to come to the table, I encourage people to be loud about their opinions, because we don’t get stuff changed unless we hear those voices,” Beaudion said.
There’s a lot to take into account when considering what will impact the city’s present and future.
“I say we can’t effectively police a community until we effectively understand that community,” Beaudion said. “And so I believe the same thing happens when you’re creating policy in Sioux Falls. We cannot effectively, politically change the nature of Sioux Falls until we have an effective understanding of our community. And so effectively listening, but then also ensuring that those participants have a part in the policy-making decision, in the policy writing.”
“I always try to make decisions based on doing my due diligence, listening to all the facts, and making a very measured, sober decision and not making emotional decisions,” Neitzert said.
Four of the eight city councilors have terms expiring this year; Pat Starr and Marshall Selberg are running for reelection unopposed, and Theresa Stehly is running for reelection against challenger Alex Jensen.