Mayoral Candidates Randy S & Randy S Square off

Belle Fourche News Elections

 Voters in Belle Fourche will choose a mayor on April 9th when incumbent Belle Fourche mayor Randy Schmidt faces Ward 3 councilman Randy Sowers. 

   Both men are both highly qualified candidates. Both have demonstrated professionalism in government, and both Randy Schmidt and Randy Sowers are committed to serving the Belle Fourche community. 

   Randy and Randy are not strangers. In fact, Randy Schmidt happens to be Randy Sowers’ godfather. Randy Schmidt, a family friend who worked for the Sowers family for 18 years is also the younger Randy’s namesake. Despite the godfather connection and having the same first name and last initial, Randy Schmidt and Randy Sowers have discrete ideologies and goals for city governance. 

   Born and raised in Belle Fourche Randy Schmidt finds the mayoral position rewarding despite long hours and extra responsibilities. Randy Schmidt was elected mayor in 2021. Previously he served one term as a city council representative in Ward 4.

   He came to the office well prepared. For the past 28 years Randy has been with Hills Products in Belle Fourche and through dedication and hard work was promoted to the Manager’s position. In addition to supervising several employees, he also oversees plant management. Plant management has meant being familiar with state mandates, budget projections, and fiscal responsibilities, all of which has turned out to be good training for his work in city government. Although Randy considered becoming a teacher early in his career, he was drawn to jobs that paid an income on which he could raise a family. His early work experience took him on the road to the bentonite fields of Wyoming and ultimately back home to Belle Fourche. 

   Randy Schmidt is also a proud retired member of the Belle Fourche Volunteer Fire Department. Volunteering to serve the community is a way of life for him. Each of these jobs has taught him the value of hard work, teamwork and unique skills that have been useful in his role as mayor of Belle Fourche. 

  Randy who has built up quite a lot of vacation time from his job at Hills Products continues to volunteer his vacation days in increments as needed to perform many of the duties and expectations required of the mayor’s office. 

   Randy Schmidt values the city council members, and city employees. “A mayor can’t run the city without a great team.” He noted as he described that the mayor and council should work together. “Sometimes it takes time to get things done.” He elaborated on the importance of having patience and of treating city employees, city council members, and citizens with respect. 

   Regarding future projects, Randy alluded to the need for affordable housing in Belle Fourche, “To oversee our growing community and help it grow in the right directions we need to be concerned with streets, landfill, sewage, and water as well as housing.”

   Randy Schmidt cares about people. The photographs of children with Belle Fourche landscapes in the background displayed on his office wall is a warm admission of what Randy Schmidt values. “We have a great town and great people My passion and my heart are with our city.” Randy Schmidt said. And he is clearly pleased for the opportunity to give back to the community that has offered so much to him and his wife Rhonda, daughter, son and two grandchildren.

   Challenger Randy Sowers is also committed to city leadership in Belle Fourche. He has other ideas about what it means to be an effective mayor. Randy noted the mayoral role is the “hub” of city government. As such, the mayor must receive communication from citizens and be able to communicate with department heads and other entities to make the system work. 

    It is the responsibility of the mayor to communicate clearly and make sure others understand what he or she means. If the mayor fails to communicate or receive messages, the hub will be broken and the system will be rendered ineffective. 

   Randy Sowers is very serious about city government, and he notes that he is serious in general. He attributes his seriousness to a traumatic childhood event that he has worked hard to process. Although devastating and life changing, the tragic death of his brother has helped him to better empathize with others who have had also dealt with trauma. 

   Randy Sowers takes helping people seriously too.  Randy can easily be persuaded to tell a story. His stories are personal narratives related to his recovery and life experiences. Randy whose storytelling is offered as heartfelt encouragement to others clearly has a gift for motivational speaking.   

   Meanwhile, Randy is passionate about serving as mayor of his hometown. And he has expressed and demonstrated how he will go about the job. 

   Randy Sowers supports the community’s values and priorities. Transparency is crucial to him and, and as a city council representative his mission was to work openly with both city employees and the public.

   “When I make a promise, I stick to it, but I’m also open about any changes in my thinking on important issues” Randy said. 

Randy is enthusiastic about the opportunity to continue serving the community and working towards a bright future for Belle Fourche. He is proud of his record in property tax relief, wage adjustments for city workers, water improvements, pursuing the hiring of a city administrator, moving the liquor store to private ownership, and improving city finances. 

     Randy never misses training opportunities that better prepare him for his work in city government. He has attended the South Dakota Municipal League Training twice to learn how to be a more efficient and effective municipal leader. He also participates in the Leadership Belle Fourche program to learn leadership practices from industry professionals.

   Future projects Randy would like to see are improved communication, citizen driven growth, beautification, infrastructure improvements, continued property tax reductions, clear policies and community involvement. Randy believes that Belle Fourche needs to drastically improve its vision and communication. “We are a great city, but we do not communicate the things we do or the things we do well.”   

   Randy has been an active member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Belle Fourche since childhood. Currently he serves as a lector. Randy describes his faith as being essential to his identity. He and his wife Erica are the proud parents of four boys.