I was attending Augustana College when Bruce took over the role of president. The students got to know him as a cool guy who was fun and personable. And he was always happy to do fun stuff like play a role in the annual Vikings Varieties show. It's safe to say we all liked him immediately.
Bruce and his family quickly became a fixture around campus. He, his wife Nancy and their son Cole would regularly eat meals with the students in the Commons. We always felt that Bruce had our best interests at heart.
Bruce worked hard to financially stabilize Augie. He made hard decisions to make everything run smoothly. With the financial stability came several new building projects Augie desperately needed, most notably the upcoming new art building (replacing the old, run-down barracks they use now).
He weathered several crises among Augie's population of students. From a Fred Phelps protest that had the student body up in arms to a difficult dispute between the campus LGBT groups and some strongly conservative students.
His theatre background shows that he cares for arts and culture. The possibility of improving areas of art and culture in Sioux Falls is a big plus.
He's a non-partisan independent, so he's not seeking the mayor's office as a stepping stone to a higher political office. He's seeking the office because he actually wants to be mayor which is the way it should be.
I think those are all qualities that make for a great mayor.
From a Q&A in the Argus Leader:
Question: Why should somebody vote for you as mayor?He's the only one of the Sioux Falls mayoral candidates with the experience that matches the responsibilities of a mayor. His success at Augie shows that he can be a successful mayor.
Answer: There are several issues. First, our city needs a new nonpartisan voice to represent it. We, as you know, have had some dissension and mild upheaval in the City Council and mayor's relationship, and I think also with the rest of City Hall as well.
I'm a person whose only goal is to help the city be a finer place to live. I'm nonpartisan, I'm an independent voice for the betterment of the city.
Secondly, I'm the only candidate who really has extensive executive experience. It's one thing to be a legislator or City Council person where you make policy decisions, but you don't have to enact those, and you don't have to make sure the budget balances, and you don't have to make the day-to-day decisions.
For my entire life, I've been a person who has had to make those kinds of decisions. And now I represent an institution that has over 400 employees and a multimillion dollar budget. We have all the same kinds of issues, although not as large in terms of facilities, parking infrastructure and constituencies.
The mayor's job is not a place to have on-the-job training. Somebody needs to come in the door who understands how to make organizations work.
Thirdly, we have lots of issues in the city that need attention, whether it's the Lewis & Clark project for water, the quality of life issues in terms of maintaining the strength of downtown, the cultural life of this city, enhancing the schools, making sure we support the city employees we have and the good jobs that they do, bringing the whole quality of life together in a way that will continue to enhance the business climate and the residential climate in Sioux Falls.
Fourth, I think I'm a person who listens. I hear what the citizens say. I want to go out and find out what they say, so that we can develop a unified voice to make Sioux Falls a progressive city and continue the fine record we have.
So when you go to the polls on Tuesday, vote for the candidate who is best for Sioux Falls. Vote for Bruce Halverson.
And who could say no to those commercials with Cole saying, "Vote for my dad. He's great!"