In 5 months, Sioux Falls will hold it's mayoral election. So far, just two people have their hats in the ring: current mayor Mike Huether and city councilman Greg Jamison. We spent time with both this week. Both were candid about the race ahead. Jamison was candid about his feelings towards Huether. Huether was candid about the job itself.
They are strong words...."You cant hold your breath and plug your nose that long...you have to do something and you can either step aside and watch this train wreck unfold or you can stand up and say enough is enough." Greg Jamison says he is running for mayor because Mike Huether's managerial style is too strong and too impersonal. "We do not get along because of our style. and our approach to working together as team members." And Jamison tells me he believes Mike Huether is too focused on ....Mike Huether. "He knows he is leveraging himself to be this propped up kind of a stronger type leader and that doesn't fare well with everybody."
"I would love everyone to like me. I would. but it's not gonna happen." Mike Huether knows what people say about him. That he is too intense. That he can be hard to work with and work for. But he says the job of getting things done can be one that ends up with people feeling rubbed the wrong way. "You realize very very quickly that every decision that you make there are folks out there who are going to be very very upset at you."
You can count Greg Jamison among those who is very upset. "Keep our focus on the citizens. I think what we've seen lately in the last few years is a focus on the administrator." Jamison tells me, if elected his style would be similar to those of previous mayors Dave Munson and Gary Hanson: hands on with a focus on the people of Sioux Falls. Jamison is open in saying he believes Mayor Huether attempts to take personal credit for the good things happening in Sioux Falls right now; the arena, record construction permits, housing starts, business growth. "One thing I want to make sure that people get across is that I am not Santa Claus and I am not going to pretend to be Santa Claus. The things that happen in this community are going to happen because of the people in this community."
"I'm not out there trying to get credit but I'm out there trying to rally for more." Huether rejects those claims entirely.....saying he's not looking for glory. He tells me he is trying to create as many opportunities for the city as he can. "My style is I am going to take the day and I am going to be as positive as I can be. I am going to try and rally people around me. Motivate others and try to make a positive difference."
"There's a lot of times where you will see a big press release or a news conference occur and that is how the council learns about it." Greg Jamison tells me, in the time Mike Huether has been mayor, there has been a disconnect between the Mayor's office and the City Council; one where the Council is sometimes kept in the dark about announcements coming from the Mayor's office. Jamison says that needs to change....and that is fundamentally why he is running for mayor....to take the mayor's office out of the spotlight and put it back on what the larger City Council can do for the people of Sioux Falls. "We let the Mayor do it...and we probably go a little too far and just let him run with it...and this guy really runs with it....but he just completely forgets about the efforts of the Council and the public." Jamison says in the coming months, his campaign team will reveal it's policy agenda should he be elected mayor.
"There's more to do....there's more to accomplish...there's more people to serve...there's more things to get done." Mike Huether says what was happened during his first term he will attempt to continue during his second term: more growth, more new businesses and more new jobs. And as far as his style, he says it's in his nature to go 110 miles per hour all the time, to try and get as much done as possible. He's not going to apologize for that. "We are getting things done for the people of Sioux falls. That's ultimately I think what people care about. That is exactly what we are doing."
The Sioux Falls mayoral election is this coming April. The differences between Mike Huether and Greg Jamison are stark ones. Where they are in agreement: both say it will ultimately be the people of Sioux Falls who will decide if they are satisfied with the direction the city is going...or if what Jamison calls a "correction" needs to be made.
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