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Jolene Loetscher’s Bid for Sioux Falls Mayor Changes Complexion of Race [OPINION]

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Submitted photo

There’s news on the campaign to be the next mayor of Sioux Falls. Former television reporter and advocate for victims of child abuse, Jolene Loetscher, is holding a press conference on Friday to announce her bid for mayor.

It’s a bit of surprise but it’s the news has been leaking out for a week or so.

That’s certainly a new wrinkle in the race. Loetscher has not held public office in the past. But she has been involved in politics, specifically in the establishment of Jolene’s Law in South Dakota and the task force charged with studying and eradicating child sexual abuse. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, she’s been public in telling her story as a path toward awareness and prevention.

She’s the eighth candidate for the job and outside the circle of favorites who’ve already announced, including Jim Entenman, Greg Jamison and Paul Ten Haken. At first glance, here’s some points to consider going foward:

  • Most obviously, she’s the only woman in the field thus far.
  • Her work in child welfare gives her credibility to talk about the state of families in our city and what can and should be done to address economic issues.
  • Loestcher and Kenny Anderson Jr. are probably the two candidates who could be considered progressive and that may be an advantage in the first round of the election in April.
  • Entenman, Jamison and Ten Haken are all — generally speaking — white male conservatives. All three are well-known and well-connected with certain political bases from which to build. But there’s likely some vote splitting in that group and it will be interesting to see how that shakes out in coming months.
  • So, the question is, will Loetscher be able to build a coalition of interests outside that traditional Republican-esque pattern? And is there enough to make the run-off.

That’s what we’ll be finding out. Loestcher will be a guest on the Patrick Lalley Show on Friday. You can send you questions and comments to me via email or via Twitter @plalleyshow.

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