All across the country and here in KELOLAND, cities have had to make decisions about how to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Tuesday morning on Facebook in response to a question about why a mask mandate isn’t taking place, Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr wrote “we are scared of the governor.” This afternoon he told KELOLAND News he stands by that and clarified that by “we” he means city government overall.
“I think there are a number of reasons that we have failed to act,” Starr said. “We have been waiting for leadership both at the state and the city level, and it’s not coming. And it’s time to no longer be scared, it’s time to take the action to mitigate the situation.”
Starr does support some kind of mask mandate.
“I think we’re scared of maybe offending not only our leadership, but we’re scared to offend a small portion of our community that’s not willing to act,” Starr said.
Starr’s fellow city councilor Marshall Selberg says he isn’t yet convinced of the need for a mask mandate. But he does support wearing them.
“I know it’s a broken record, but again that’s a part of it,” Selberg said. “Stay vigilant, wear your masks, keep your distance.”
But on the point of being scared of the governor, he strongly disagrees with Starr.
Dan Santella: I’m wondering if you think a fear of Gov. Noem is a reason why the Sioux Falls City Council would not support some kind of a mask mandate?
“I disagree completely with that statement, and I believe the councilor you’re referencing is running for another political office so … I’ll leave that one be,” Selberg said.
Pat Starr, a Democrat, is right now running for treasurer of Minnehaha County against Republican Kris Swanson. For this story, KELOLAND News reached out to the governor’s office for comment; Senior Advisor & Policy Director Maggie Seidel said no comment. KELOLAND News also sent the governor’s office information about this report via email, but as of 5:51 p.m. CT on Tuesday had not yet heard back.