It’s been two years since the voters of Minot approved a change in government and based on the what we’re all experiencing in this election spring, it’s officially fair to call the #MakeMinot initiative a resounding success.
I know there are those of you grumblers out there who wanted to attach your values to the #MakeMinot movement. Perhaps you voted for it because you thought it would fix the parking garages, or maybe you thought it was the ticket to lower taxes. I bet there were even a few who thought it deliver fresh eggs from your backyard-raised-hens directly to your breakfast table.
Sorry to break it to you, #MakeMinot wasn’t about any of those things. Going back to the beginning and throughout the campaign, #MakeMinot was about three things: choice, accountability, and breaking the cycle of apathy.
Our old system of government — without intention or conspiracy — slowly and insidiously robbed citizens of authority. Can we really call it an election when there is only one box to check?
It was like saying you can have anything you want for lunch so long as it’s a hamburger. Don’t get me wrong, I love hamburgers, but tacos are good too. So is pizza. So is having a choice when you go to vote for our local elected leaders.
In our City elections coming up on June 12, you have six City Council candidates; you get to choose three who will serve as Alderman. You also have three Mayoral candidates; you get to choose one who will set the leadership tone and style for Minot’s next four years.
Which ideas, which leadership styles will win? Which will shape Minot’s future? That depends on us because Minot’s government is ours again. We the voters have authority again. Elections are a competition of ideas; they are a competition of ability. And yes, elections are a referendum on past decisions. That’s accountability in government. When you go vote on June 12, you’ll experience what it feels like.
But perhaps the most exciting result of Minot’s democratic renaissance is the awakening we’re experiencing across the community. Looking up and down the ballot this June, you’ll find lots of hard choices for School Board, Park Board, and Municipal Judge. Even some of our legislative seats have primary challengers. Plus, at the Candidate forums in May the crowd turnouts were extraordinary. Not only do we have candidates to choose from, but we have citizens hungry to learn about those candidates!
Four years ago the Mayoral race drew just 2,360 votes. Two years ago, the government reform election drove out 6,303 voters. And I’ll bet you a beer that this year’s voter turnout delivers another step in the right direction as we cast off our apathy and take control of our future.
From my view, these are all signs that great things are happening in Minot, and I believe firmly that the #MakeMinot initiative and the hard work of all those behind it were the sparks that lit the fires of enthusiasm and optimism that are starting to catch oxygen now.
Where do we go from here? That’s up to you and the choices you make on June 12 — as it should be.