Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bruce Halverson for Mayor

I think Bruce Halverson is the best candidate to be the mayor of Sioux Falls.

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?

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.
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.

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!"


Anonymous said...

I'm an Augie student too, and that's why I'm not voting for Halverson.

He may be good with budgeting, but he has no regard for people, either faculty or students. If you think he does, you were obviously never part of a program he cut.

When my first major was cut, we learned about it at the same time as the newspaper. He said that there was no room for discussion, so he didn't see the point of prolonging the process. That's fine, but he completely disregarded the fact that he was dealing with people's careers, families, and futures. He saw it as a little extra savings in the budget. We don't need someone with that kind of attitude as mayor of Sioux Falls.

Haggs said...

That's the thing about being in a position where you need to make hard decisions. Most of those decisions directly effect people on a personal level, including firings and, as you said, program cuts.

Any bureaucratic position has to deal with those situations. It's unfortunate for the people effected, but sometimes that is how it has to be. Do you know for a fact what he was thinking and feeling as he made those cuts? You see it as disregard, but he could be torn up about it inside. Though, professionally, he can't always show his true feelings to the public, so it's unfair to him to assume how he felt about this decision.

Could he have told the people who this cut effected before hand? Possibly. It could have been a mistake on his part, which is allowed because he's human too. I don't know the details of this incident so I'm not comfortable speculating too much.

I hope I'm not coming off as cold to you. I'm terribly sorry for what happened when your major was cut. I had a lot of trouble deciding on a major so I don't know what I would've done if the one I chose had to be cut. I hope everything works out for you.

Anonymous said...

(I'm anon 1...)

I think there is a balance that can be struck between focus on a budget at the expense of human beings and focus on students and faculty at the expense of a budget. There was a good reason for my program to be cut, but he could have extended us the courtesy of telling us about it so we could make other plans.

Halverson is all about the $$$ and he's the last person I'd vote for to hold any elective office.

Haggs said...

See, when it comes to a tight budget sometimes you have to be "all about the money." We elect the mayor to make those kinds of hard decisions.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like there's dissent on the Augie campus! I've heard that the Board of Regents didn't think too highly of Dr Halverson either. Apparently they gave him a vote of no confidence and told him to find another job.

It's a very basic website (incredibly basic), but you can reach the munson people there and offer to write a letter to Argus about your experiences.

Anonymous said...

The Mayorial race was five months ago but I have just discovered your blog and wanted to respond to the false statments made by "anonymous."

The comments regarding Dr. Halverson's retirement from Augustana are incorrect. As a senior member of the Augustana community, I can assure you that there were no troubles between Dr. Halverson and the Board of Regents. In fact, the Board asked to extend Halverson's contract as President, but he made the decision to leave his appointment to explore other professional opportunities, including his bid for Mayor of Sioux Falls.

Dr. Halverson's tenure as President of Augustana was exceptional. He surpassed the college's fund raising goals by 65 million dollars in a time when most non-profits were struggling to make ends meet. In addition, he left the college with the highest freshman enrollment in over a decade.

Prior to his full retirement from Augie, the Board has asked Halverson to continue with the college to help ease the transition of a new administrative team. He is currently working with Augustana in this capacity.

As a public declaration of their thanks for his outstanding success as President, the Board of Regents has named Halverson President Emeritus.

Bruce Halverson is an exceptional leader and fulfilled his duties as the President of Augustana exceptionally well. I do not know what his professional future will hold, but any organization - public or private- would be lucky to have an individual of his caliber at the helm.

Anonymous said...

Correction - The fundraising goal for Augustana under Halverson's leadership was 50 million dollars. He and his team surpassed the goal by 15 million dollars- total amount raised was 65 million.

Just want to be sure we get the facts right!