SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In about five and a half months, Sioux Falls voters will go to the polls to pick a mayor. KELOLAND News has brought you reports on two people, current Mayor Paul TenHaken and lawyer Taneeza Islam, who are vying for the office. Another candidate is one voters may recognize if they follow Sioux Falls City Council meetings: David Zokaites.
Zokaites often gives his input at city council meetings, and he also attempted to run for mayor in 2018. He’s now thrown his hat into the ring for the 2022 race. Asked why he’s running for mayor, he says he’s not happy with what’s happening in the world, including corruption and greed.
“The people who should protect our civil rights are the ones who violate them the most,” Zokaites said. “We need a homeless shelter because there’s too many alcoholics that wander around town and we could do better for them, and affordable housing is a big issue.”
The 60-year-old says he doesn’t have a regular full-time job at the moment, but is studying.
“I’m basically going to school, independent study, for practical American government,” Zokaites said. “I’ve been doing that for a couple of years.”
His daughter Sarah Zokaites talked with KELOLAND News via video chat Monday afternoon.
“His biggest strength, I think, is his analytical mindset, and he enjoys problem-solving,” Sarah Zokaites said. “So he’ll approach a problem, gather the evidence, ask questions, and then come up with an evidence-based solution.”
“I’ve spent years analyzing issues, figuring out what we could do better, and I’ve written it all down and given 130 PowerPoints at city council meetings,” Zokaites said.
In 2018, six candidates received votes to become mayor of Sioux Falls, but Zokaites was not one of them. He sees this now as a good thing.
“I didn’t quite get enough signatures to get on the ballot, and that turned out to be actually a fortuitous event because it made sure that I would be readier for this go-around,” Zokaites said.