Press Release: Sam Kooiker announces for Rapid City mayor
From a release issued today:
Rapid City Alderman Sam Kooiker today announced his candidacy for Mayor in the June 5 city elections. In a prepared statement Kooiker said as mayor he would focus on managing city affairs. “It is time for a Mayor who minds the store."
During his three terms on the City Council, Kooiker has been a tireless fighter for Rapid City taxpayers. He believes public officials should be held accountable for their actions. Since he was elected to the council, Kooiker stood against all five city budgets because he believes "the taxpayers deserve more respect than to have city hall automatically include property tax increases in the budget without a separate vote or discussion." Sam also led the effort to implement a water and sewer master plan so the City would have a better idea of the city’s infrastructure needs.
Kooiker says “Being a Mayor involves more than just performing ceremonial duties.” Sam believes storm water drainage issues and the Jackson Springs water supply are two of the biggest issues facing Rapid City in the next 10 years. “The current administration has been focused on skyboxes and skating rinks. It is time for a mayor who seeks something beyond the thirty-second sound bite on the evening news. It’s time we have a mayor who seeks and gets results.”
Responsiveness to his constituents has been one of Kooiker’s priorities. He assisted in securing funding to clean up the East Meade drainage channel and worked to repair numerous streets throughout Rapid City. He is focused on the old and failing water and sewer lines city leadership has neglected for years. While he advocates maintaining older areas of town, Kooiker also enthusiastically supports growth with reasonable expectations.
The city government needs to work harder to facilitate more high paying jobs in the Black Hills, Kooiker said. “Growth will not happen simply through osmosis.”
“Open, honest government” is more than just an election year slogan, said Kooiker. He opposed the scandalous “lease-leaseback” which would have put tax ownership of Rapid City public utilities in the hands of offshore investors. Kooiker opposed the Mayor’s self-authorized pay increase in 2003, and the casual use of city travel funds by the current administration.
Kooiker also worked with other council members to help Rapid City become the first community in South Dakota to put the audio of council meetings on the Internet. “The light of day is the best antiseptic for what currently ails City Hall,” he said.
Kooiker also has been an advocate for people with disabilities and represents an under-represented constituency at city hall. His advocacy has resulted in the city taking significant steps to update its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition plan to insure all city buildings are accessible. Kooiker, who was born with Cerebral Palsy, takes working for people with disabilities to heart. “I’m not a fancy dancer, but I get the job done”.
"A good mayor must be able to manage and be accountable to the people." Kooiker has the training many cities seek in managers. His educational qualifications, his private sector management experience and his five years on the city council make him uniquely qualified to be Rapid City’s new mayor.
Kooiker, 33, has a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice/Psychology and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of South Dakota. He is employed as an operations manager for a local telecommunications firm. He lives in Robbinsdale with his wife, Jennifer, and daughters, Abigail, age 5, Elizabeth, age 4 and Aubrianna, 3 months.