Raising the Questions… Some Ideas on What We Should Be Asking Those Seeking Local Office

Minot’s election season swings into full gear tonight with the first of a couple of community forums focused on getting to know our local candidates. Tonight the event is at the Auditorium and is hosted by #MakeMinot. Next Tuesday is the second chance, with the Minot Daily News and the Grand Hotel sponsoring.

And here on The Minot Voice we’ll be submitting a series of questions to candidates and give each a chance to provide a written answer — so you as voters can get a side-by-side comparison of how those seeking office would address Minot’s challenges. But that will come later.

For tonight, you’re going to get a chance for some one-on-one conversations, and you no doubt have some of your questions, but I thought I’d offer a few suggestions of my own. So here goes, if you’re not sure what to ask tonight, here are some ideas.

City of Minot Candidates

City Council Reform? The big local topic this June is City Council reform. You may be interested in their thoughts on the issue, and that’s great. But the question of City Council reform is not in their hands, but enacting it is. There are opportunities for great discussion on how — with their leadership — Minot would be shepherded through the transition process if voters approve the reform.

Funding Flood Protection? It’s now five years since the flood that tore Minot apart, and the wheels of flood protection are just starting to turn. We’ve got a significant funding shortfall. Perhaps it’s worth finding out how those seeking office plan to help us find funding for this essential infrastructure locally and at the state and federal levels.

Combining Parks & Rec? How about asking about merging the City of Minot’s recreation department into the Park District? We as taxpayers are paying for duplicate administrative services and personnel. Maybe we could save some money by rolling these services into the Park District’s operations? I’m not sure, but it’s worth asking.

Recycling in Minot? The ad-hoc committee has formed their recommendations, but those elected this June will be responsible for acting on that recommendation. Will they? It’s worth finding out.

School Board Candidates

A Second High School? Is there a need? Is it time to start planning for a second High School?

The Old Ramstad Site? It’s five years since the flood. Is it time to come up with a plan for this space? If so, perhaps those seeking office have some ideas of how it should be used.

Adaptive Curriculum? The world has changed a lot in the last 15 years. Consider the practice of teaching cursive writing to elementary students. There’s no doubt there’s value in that curriculum, but would those many hours of instruction better serve our students if they were focused on tools and technology they’re more likely to use in the future? And that’s just one example. Is it time ask if the material we’re teaching is still properly preparing students for the future they’ll encounter?

Park Board Candidates

Combining Parks & Rec? It’s a great question for Park Board Candidates too because if a merger were to take place, we’d have to see the Park District and the City of Minot work closely to accomplish the change efficiently.

Facility Needs? We’re finishing construction on a new sheet of ice, tennis courts have been refinished, we have new baseball fields, and we just finished the renovation of Radio City Park in SE Minot. What’s next? What are Minot’s most pressing facility needs?

Prioritizing the River? Are we missing an opportunity with the Souris River regarding using it as a recreational asset? Should the Park District play a role in improving access points on and off the river channel?

Ward County

What’s Next? The county is in the process of completing two substantial construction projects with the new administration building and the jail. With the completion of those projects, what should Ward County’s next priorities be?

Improving Efficiency & Transparency? Are we doing enough to make government more efficient and transparent? Where specifically can we make improvements?

A Community Questions

Retaining our Best and Brightest. Minot (and rural North Dakota) have long suffered from the out-migration of our younger people. And the sword cuts twice when their retirement-age parents follow their children to be closer to kids and grandkids. Do you have thoughts on why we continue to see this pattern and what can we do to stop the cycle?

Getting People Civically Engaged. Many of the offices being elected this spring are doing so with uncontested races. What do we have to do to get citizens more engaged in public service and the decisions that are made in our community?

Got Your Own Questions?

Use the comments below to air them out.

Josh Wolsky

Editor and Publisher of TheMinotVoice, Developer of the #ForMinot Network,  Co-Host of #GoodTalk Minot, Advocate and Friend of the Souris River, Former City Alderman, and clearly -- all things #MakeMinot. Go ahead, don't wait for permission!

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