Petitions yet to be filed for four Mitchell City Council seats up for election in June

The council members whose seats will be on the June 6 ballot are Steve Rice, John Doescher, Dan Allen and Susan Tjarks

The Mitchell City Council holds a meeting in March 2020 in the Corn Palace during the pandemic.
Republic file photo

MITCHELL — Four seats on the Mitchell City Council are up for election in June, but petitions for each seat have yet to be filed.

The council members whose seats will be on the June 6 ballot are Steve Rice, John Doescher, Dan Allen and Susan Tjarks.

While no petitions were filed as of Monday, Michelle Bathke, Mitchell’s finance officer, said three petitions have been taken out to begin collecting signatures.

Council members Susan Tjarks and John Doescher have both taken out petitions with the intent to run for re-election. Doescher represents ward 2, while Tjarks represents ward 4. Don Everson, a former Mitchell detective with the Mitchell Police Department, has taken out a petition for ward 4.

The window for nominating petitions to be taken out for the four city council seats began March 1. For residents interested in running for the city council seats, nominating petitions must be picked up at City Hall and returned with enough valid signatures by 5 p.m. on March 28. Petitions must be returned to the city’s finance officer at City Hall.


Among the four council members up for election in June, Allen is the longest serving elected official on the eight-person governing body. Allen has represented ward 3 – the northeast portion of the city – for just under two decades. He currently serves as the vice president of the council.

Mitchell Councilman Dan Allen, left, speaks during a City Council meeting.
Republic file photo

Tjarks, who is eyeing another term, has served on the council since 2013. She was also a member of the Mitchell Board of Education before joining the council. Ward 4 entails the northern portion of the city, including Lake Mitchell — an area that’s been a hot topic among the council as dredging talks have heated up over the past year.

Mitchell Councilwoman Susan Tjarks.
Mitchell Councilwoman Susan Tjarks speaks during a council meeting.
Republic file photo

Doescher has served two three-year terms on the council representing ward 2 and is vying to secure a third term in June. He’s the council liaison for the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Prior to serving on the council, Doescher spent his professional life in the business sector. Ward 2 entails the southeastern territory of the city.

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Mitchell City Councilman John Doescher, right, chats with Councilmen Kevin McCardle, center, and Marty Barington, right, during a meeting.
Republic file photo

Rice has represented ward 1 – the southwest portion of Mitchell – since 2012. Rice served on the Mitchell Board of Education before transitioning to the city council. He is also the council liaison for the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce, which is a position that entails communicating to the council about work being performed by the nonprofit organization.

Steve Rice
Mitchell City Councilman Steve Rice speaks at a 2015 City Council meeting.
Mitchell Republic file photo

Each term on the June 6 ballot runs for three years. Residents seeking to run for a council seat must reside in the ward they are vying to represent.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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