Sebert out, Claggett and Tracy are in race for mayorCity Councilman Ken Tracy tossed his hat into the ring Monday, as did Davison County Commission Chairman John Claggett.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
Mayor Lou Sebert is out and two other local politicians are in.
Sebert said Monday he has made up his mind: He will not seek a third term.
But City Councilman Ken Tracy tossed his hat into the ring Monday, as did Davison County Commission Chairman John Claggett.
The city election is set for Tuesday, June 5. City voters will choose one councilman from each of the four city wards in addition to a mayor. A vote on a council decision to convert three one-way streets to two-way traffic will also be on the ballot.
Thursday is the first day candidates can file petitions for mayor. They need the signatures of at least 50 registered voters.
The last day to file for office is March 27.
Tracy, who represents Ward 1, said Monday he is running for mayor this year after weighing a run for the office before.
“I have considered running and it didn’t seem like it was the right time,” he said. “Now, it works for me and it’s the right time and I hope it works for everybody.”
Tracy said he feels the Corn Palace will dominate political discussion in Mitchell in the next several months.
“I would like to have a strong voice in what we do there,” he said.
Tracy said spending $35 million on a remodel and expansion is “out of the question” in his view, so the next step is to find a cost-effective way to improve the facility.
He said adding 1,000 seats and installing glass and a viewing tower will also have to be ruled out. But Tracy said he favors other improvements on the building, if a reasonable cost can be figured out.
“I just don’t think spending millions and millions of dollars will accomplish that,” he said. Tracy recently turned 65. He is a retired South Dakota Department of Revenue agent
He was appointed to the commission to complete the last two years of a term and then won two terms on his own.
After losing a race for his council seat in 2008 when he admitted he didn’t campaign for the office, he was elected without opposition in 2011.
Claggett said he wants to remain on the commission if he is elected mayor.
“I’d like to do the mayor piece as well as stay on as county commissioner,” he said.
He said friends were enthusiastic with his decision to seek the office.
His mother, Alice Claggett, was mayor before Sebert and is the only female mayor in the city’s history, serving from 1998 to 2006.
John Claggett said he plans to discuss his decision with his fellow commissioners today.
Claggett said he checked with state Attorney General Marty Jackley and Secretary of State Jason Gant and both said there are no legal prohibitions against running for both offices.
“I’ve worked with Lou (Sebert) a lot on city-county things and I’ve always had an interest in that,” he said.
Claggett said increased citycounty cooperation will be necessary in the future.
“We’ve got housing, infrastructure and manpower issues,” he said.
Claggett said he also works on industrial development and with the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We’ll see how it all works out,” he said.
Sebert said late last year he didn’t plan to seek re-election, then said a few weeks later that he was considering another try for the office.
But on Monday, after at first saying he was “98 percent sure” he wouldn’t run again, the mayor said he would not be a candidate in the June 5 election.
“I don’t think I’m going to run,” Sebert said. “I will not be a candidate. I’ve had six years of it.”
He said he wants to have time to enjoy his family.
Sebert, 76, also noted that he would turn 80 after the end of the next mayoral term and said that was just too old to serve the city properly.
“I don’t think the city needs an 80-year-old mayor,” he said. Councilman Dan Allen had also considered a run for mayor but bowed out on Friday.
Former councilman Jerry Toomey has said he may run for the office. Toomey was unavailable for comment Monday.
Ross Dolan contributed to this report.