Since being elected as your mayor in June 2022, I’ve learned a great many things. I’ve learned there is a lot going on in Minot that involves the mayor. I’ve learned residents want their voices heard. And I’ve learned that no matter how much I learn, there is always something new around the corner.
But perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that municipal government works best when members of the community are actively involved. In fact, it’s the only way local government can be successful.
There are a multitude of ways to get involved in what’s happening in Minot and in the state of North Dakota.
One of those opportunities took place just this week, with our annual State of the City event. First, let me say thank you to those who attended the event in person, and to those who joined us on the City’s social media platforms. It’s important that we schedule time to gather as a community, and to provide another avenue to present information to our residents. I wanted to highlight the success stories of the past year, while also recognizing that we face ongoing challenges as a city in 2023 and beyond. I think we accomplished that. I want to thank everyone at the City of Minot and our community partners for helping make my vision of the event become reality.
The 2023 Legislature is in full swing, and the decisions made by our elected lawmakers in Bismarck will have lasting and real effects on all of our lives. There will be hundreds of bills introduced in the House and the Senate, and obviously not all of them will be approved and become law. Our Legislature is one of the most transparent in the nation, and every bill gets a hearing. Every bill, no matter how many people it affects or what the bill’s impact might be, is given a public hearing before a legislative committee and must be publicly voted on by the committee.
There are a host of ways to be involved with what’s happening at the Legislature. You can attend committee hearings in person, or you can watch testimony online. You can submit written testimony, and you can submit testimony by appearing in person before a committee. Check out www.ndlegis.gov to find more information.
Don’t have time to travel to Bismarck? During the session, our local lawmakers take part in legislative forums held Saturdays at the State Fair Center. The question-and-answer sessions begin at 9 a.m. on Saturdays, and offer a great opportunity to meet and interact with your elected leaders on a one-on-one basis.
On a more local level, you can be part of the Minot City Council meetings in a variety of ways, too. You can attend the public meetings in person. You can watch the meetings on the City of Minot’s social media platforms or on local cable channel 19. You can submit written comments through the City’s online public comment portal at www.minotnd.org. Contact information for me and all of the members of the Council is available on that web page, too.
I will continue to repeat the message of my campaign because I think it’s that important: Together, we can accomplish anything.
But the “together” in that sentence must come from you, the members of the public. We need and value your input on all decisions we make as a mayor and as a City Council. But you must also remember that if we make a decision different than your opinion, that doesn’t mean we’re ignoring your input. We absolutely do value your opinions, but we’re tasked with making decisions we think are best for all of Minot. Often, that puts us at odds with those who speak at a Council meeting or someone who has sent us a comment online.
Everyone’s input matters. It’s up to us to filter through all of the comments, suggestions, and opinions before we make our final decision. That’s what we signed up for when we ran for public office. Civil disagreement is healthy, and we must all remember that.