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Sioux Falls Mayoral Race comes to a head, election on Tuesday

Screenshot 2022-04-08 145826.jpg
Argus Leader Media
Mayoral candidates David Zokaites and Taneeza Islam and Mayor Paul TenHaken participate in a debate ahead of the election, moderated by Argus Leader's Trevor Mitchell and Dakota News Now's Brian Allen on Monday, April 4, 2022, at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls.

The Sioux Falls Mayoral Race is coming to a head as the municipal election is on Tuesday. The incumbent Mayor, Paul TenHaken has two challengers: Taneeza Islam and David Zokaites.

Incumbent Mayor Paul Tenhaken was elected in 2018. He worked as a tech-based CEO before serving as mayor. He holds a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing.

TenHaken says being the incumbent is a blessing and a curse. He points to his track record as Mayor as reason to re-elect him.

“And yet here we sit today in 2022 with 19% year over year sales tax growth, 1.8% unemployment, we have a police force that’s nearly fully staffed and an authorized strength with crime decrease in almost every category this past year. And we have a city that's shown incredible resilience.”

Challenging TenHaken is Taneeza Islam. She is a first-generation American Muslim whose parents immigrated from Bangladesh. Islam attended college, graduate school and law school in Michigan. She works as an immigration lawyer and a nonprofit executive director. Islam has lived in Sioux Falls since 2012.

Islam says she worked tirelessly to support the diverse community of Sioux Falls in previous legislative sessions. She says her work in the legal profession has prepared her for the job.

“I have a track record of bringing the right people together to solve our most pressing issues. I never complained, I never said I didn't sign up for this. This is the type of mayor that Sioux Falls deserves, and I know I'm the right person to lead.”

The final challenger for Sioux Falls mayor is David Zokaites, who ran for the position in 2018. He works in political analysis and civil rights. Throughout his life he has held many careers and says that offers him a unique perspective. According to his website he loves people, pets and the natural world.

Zokaites says he wants to make the world a better place. He says communication between the government and citizens is paramount.

“If we could push this stuff out of the way, if we could have honest government, then we've got tremendous capabilities and we can resolve affordable housing. We can reduce crime, we can reduce addiction. But it all starts with actually caring about what the people want and caring about honest, practical, open government.”

The Mayoral election for Sioux Falls is Tuesday, April 12th. Early voting has already begun.