Women In Politics


While she’s the first in a runoff election, Jolene Loetscher isn’t the first woman on the ballot. 20 years ago, Anne Hajek was the first woman to run for the city’s highest office.  Since then a handful of other women have followed her lead. KELOLAND News sat down with her to talk about running for office as a woman.

Back in 1998, Anne Hajek was fighting for the title of Sioux Falls mayor. While her race was unsuccessful, she doesn’t think it’s a sign women can’t do the job now. 

“I guess even to this day, I don’t think of my gender as one of the issues out there. I of course thought, oh golly it would be nice to be the first female mayor. But I didn’t see that as an issue,” said Hajek. 

Hajek says she spent the last few decades serving in several different positions with the city, and didn’t face too much backlash for being a woman.

One obstacle she admits for herself is she doesn’t think she would have been mayor if she had young kids at the time. However, changing times are changing her mind. 

“I am delighted to see the way men have picked up that daddy role and are willing to take over and understand that it’s a two-way street,” said Hajek.

Hajek believes young women who want to go after leadership positions should find mentors, and then leave the nay-sayers behind. 

“If someone says to you, you shouldn’t. Ignore them. Ignore them. Because if you want to do it and you feel you have that energy and that drive. Good for you. Thankful as a citizen that you’re willing to do it,” said Hajek. 

Hajek says she thinks the MeToo movement is also creating more opportunities for women in politics and the workforce.

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