The National Journal featured the city of Sioux Falls in a weeklong series in July 2013, and part of that series included an interview with Mike Huether. Below, you’ll find an excerpt of that article. Please read the full article here.
It’s true that many of the other towns we’ve visited are struggling with blighted neighborhoods or high poverty rates. It’s harder to identify the challenges here. But the issue of workforce availability and readiness is definitely real.
It’s a challenge the whole state is facing. The governor just went to the Mall of America and set up a booth to let all of Minnesota know that if you need a good job and quality of life, we’ve got it in South Dakota. We need 500 welders in Mitchell, S.D. We’ve got 1,000 job openings in Aberdeen. You name the town, we’re trying to find people to work. There’s no oil, no fracking anywhere. You’ve just got a strong ag economy, high optimism and confidence.
Here’s another thing: Our city council insists we have at least 25 percent of our operating expenses in a reserve fund every year. Right now we’re at about 36 percent. Name another town in America that is repairing streets, rebuilding infrastructure, tackling growth needs for a community, and adding to their city’s piggy bank. We have added to our city’s reserve every year for the last three years.
We had 30 businesses in downtown Sioux Falls that either opened or expanded last year. There is no vacancy right now for people who want to live in downtown Sioux Falls. That was one of my dreams when I moved back here from San Antonio—I wanted to create a downtown where people would want to live.
Released in the National Journal, July 2, 2013 by Amy Sullivan.