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Council, Community Support Staggers Through Health Event

Kealey Bultena
Ayn Bird speaks briefly to members of the media. She is the daughter of Sioux Falls City Councilor Kermit Staggers.

The family of Kermit Staggers says they appreciate support as he heals through health challenges. The Sioux Falls city council member collapsed in September due to a heart condition. Colleagues say they support Staggers, and a family member says she appreciates encouragement from the community.

Kermit Staggers is a former South Dakota state lawmaker and current city council member in Sioux Falls. His daughter Ayn Bird says her dad is not wavering in his commitment to public service to encourage limited government and advocate for unlimited opportunity for people.

“For the last several years, he has personally knocked on the doors of 19,000+ citizens. During those visits, he listened to the citizens express their concerns over streets and infrastructure, taxing and spending, the events center, and transparency in government,” Bird says. “As my father focuses on getting well, he will continue to serve the citizens as our at-large council member.

The charter for the City of Sioux Falls dictates how many official meetings a council member can miss, but councilor Rex Rolfing says city leaders continue their work and understand Staggers’ health situation is serious.

“We’re part of a family, if you will, up there, and we support each other whenever we can. And we may get into fist fights, if you will – verbal fist fights – in the council meetings, but when we come out, we shake hands and we’re all friends,” Rolfing says.

Members of Staggers’ family do not reveal his ongoing medical needs or details about treatment for his health condition.

Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).