Mayor On Getting To Know New Council Members: ‘It’ll be a fun journey.’

With the election of four new members, Sioux Falls will be seeing a turnover of half of the City Council, but that wasn’t enough to bring a large number of voters to the polls. KDLT’s Jill Johnson sat down with Mayor Mike Huether to talk about the low voter turnout and what it will be like working with so many fresh faces.

After three City Council members were term limited and another decided not to run, Huether encouraged residents in January to do some public service. That’s exactly what he got; 12 candidates vying for the positions.

“I was enamored by the bevy of folks that ultimately decided to run. I was proud of them,” said Huether.

While he was happy with the number of candidates, Huether admits that at first he didn’t know everyone running for City Council. He says more candidates means more effort in getting to know them. Perhaps that’s why we saw such a low voter turnout on Tuesday.

“I think we could have done better yesterday (Tuesday), 11 percent turnout. Not only does that disappoint me, it concerns me,” said Huether. “We should at least take 10 to 15 minutes out of our day to care about it.”

Huether also believes when things are going well, people aren’t as motivated to make their voices heard.

“There’s probably less incentive to go out there and go ‘you know what, hey, everything’s great, so they don’t need my vote,” said Huether.

With four new city council members, Huether says voting is important. City Councilors help generate policy, decide where where our tax money goes, and even check up on him. Now he looks forward to the challenge of getting to know them.

“Everybody has their own priorities. Everybody has their own thoughts on what’s the most important thing that needs to be done. Everybody has their own thoughts on where we should spend our money and this and that,” said Huether. “It just adds to the complexity.”

He also says it has it’s advantages. Huether believes in term limits and understands the value of getting some fresh perspective.

“It’s part of good government, and yeah, I look forward to it.”

He also looks forward to educating them on the good, the bad and ugly of public service.

Huether said, “It’ll be a fun journey.”

Typically in a non-mayoral election, the city sees around 15 percent of voters head to the polls. Out of the 113,264 registered voters in Sioux Falls, 12,826 actually voted.