Tomorrow, Mayor Tom Ross will deliver the State of the City address. In its sixth year, Minot’s State of the City is a relatively new event, but the tradition is a good one. An annual check-in is important. Maybe more important than we realize.
Of course, Minot didn’t invent the idea. We copied it from other cities. Other cities copied it from states. And states copied it from the Federal government. The requirement to conduct the State of the Union is in our Constitution – Article II, Section 3.
“He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;”
Our founding fathers were smart guys. They gave us the framework for an accountable government. They gave us the framework for a government that could earn trust through that accountability. They gave us a framework that would help us overcome our collective challenges. They gave us a framework that would help us achieve our collective goals.
And what better way than to gather up annually, lay it on the table, and say it out loud? It’s such a good idea; it’s hard to figure out why it took us so long to copy it. The Federal government’s good State-of-the-Union idea was 97 years old when Minot boomed to life back in 1887. 130 years later, we copied it.
That’s a lesson we can learn from – we need to be on the lookout for outside ideas that can serve Minot’s needs in some form. And when it comes to the State of the City, Fargo has their nose on a good one. They’ve adapted the ‘state of the city’ idea and updated it with the ‘State of the Cities.’ It includes Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, Horace, and Dilworth.
Did you notice the iteration, the extension of the idea? Instead of one place acting alone, now they’re a group of places acting together. It’s a lesson in intentional inclusivity that we should copy in Minot.
In our region, Minot is the big kid in the lunchroom. And when you’re the biggest and strongest, it’s easy to be a bully without ever meaning to be. But it’s also an opportunity. A little humble, intentional inclusivity – as the biggest and the strongest – can have a powerful impact.
So whether it’s through a State of the Cities 2024 or in some other form or forum, it’s time to copy Fargo’s good idea. It’s time for Minot to become a bit more inclusive of those outside our city limits. It’s time to bring in the Bertholds and Burlingtons. It’s time to go out to the Surreys and Sawyers and all the other places whose names don’t alliterate. It’s time to be the humble big kid and start including our small-town neighbors in our vision for Minot and the region.