Dear Minot cropped

Dear Minot

Dear Minot

A message from your government about the most topical and relevant information currently circulating throughout the community. 

Mar 09

How do you deal with change?

Posted on March 9, 2023 at 2:46 PM by Bryan Obenchain

Dear Minot:

We’ve often heard the old saying that the only things certain in this world are death and taxes. Well, I would like to add one more thing that’s certain – change. 

Change is inevitable. It happens whether we want it to or not, and it’s not always in our control. What we can control how we respond to change, and how we conduct ourselves to influence change to work to our benefit.

Over the remainder of my term as mayor, there will be changes. You can count on it. Do I believe everyone will agree with the changes that will happen? Absolutely not. I've been your mayor for more than eight months. One significant lesson I learned early on is that it's impossible to please everyone. But by using the philosophy of “together,” we can make decisions and changes that will be reflect the needs and the wants of our community. 

Moving a community forward with changes does not mean what we currently have is broken. It doesn't mean what our predecessors did was wrong. It may just mean times have changed, and needs have changed.

I look at it like this: Today as a community, we are reaping the benefits of investments made in the past, in both our public and private sectors. We can all sit back and look at the projects, buildings, facilities, and programs that were started or constructed years ago, and we may take them for granted. But when you stop and think, you can almost always say “I'm glad they did this, or built that, or started this.”

Are there exceptions to that? Sure. Not every decision made in our past turned out to be the best one, but it’s impossible to govern through hindsight alone. Think of the decisions made by our predecessors that have helped shape our community. The Northwest Area Water Supply project. The Minot State University Dome. A second public high school. These are just a few of the important decisions made by Minot residents that have influence our city’s future in a positive manner. And the list is endless.

The investments made in our community by those who came before us continue to impact us today. Those are the investments my parents made in our community. They are the investments your parents and grandparents made in Minot. We must never forget that. But we must also take a page from their book and look at what those dividends teach us about tomorrow, and what these investments teach us about our children and grandchildren.

What will Minot look like in 10 years? Fifteen years? How about 20 years down the road? We surely don’t want Minot to look the same as it does now. If Minot looks the same 10 years from now, we will have failed as a community.

Of course,   we can’t propose changes just for the sake of changing. Change must be relevant, and it must be forward-thinking. You could also argue that, as a community, if we’re not moving forward, we’re moving backwards. Standing still is truly not an option.

As elected officials, we face many types of challenges. Change is one of those challenges. We must ask ourselves this question: What legacy do we want to leave? Will our legacy be one of change that weighs the risk/reward options and moves forward in the best interests of our entire community?

Or will our legacy be one of sitting idly on our hands, as change continues to happen without us actively participating?

I choose the first option. Change is necessary, and it’s a valuable tool to ensure the long-term sustainability and survival of communities like Minot. We must continue to embrace change, not fear it. As elected officials, we have pledged to do that as part of our responsibility.

As residents of Minot, you, too, can help move our community forward. Engage in the process. Engage in your government. Engage in your community. Engage in our future.

You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.

Feb 24

Telling Minot's story at the Legislature

Posted on February 24, 2023 at 10:06 AM by Bryan Obenchain

Dear Minot:

As you read this, the North Dakota Legislative session has reached its halfway point.

This past week, legislators in both houses were able to hold hearings on a record number of bills. Their commitment and hard work has been fun to witness and take part in. I have to give credit to all of our Minot neighbors, City of Minot team members, and City Council members who have stepped up to let their voices be heard. The respectful testimony and individual insight has helped legislators from across the state make well-informed decisions to move our state forward.

Looking at the second half of the session, there are a couple of items that top my list of interest:

  • SB2020 relates to our Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection project, notably providing a steady stream of funding to get flood protection completed in significantly less time, which would save taxpayers and the state upwards of $50 million in construction costs and interest payments. The Senate approved $76.1 million for flood protection, and approximately $47.8 million for the Northwest Area Water Supply project. The bill will now be considered by the House.
  • Another project on our radar is in conjunction with the Minot Area Chamber EDC and Minot Air Force Base. Preparations are under way to get ready for a $3.2 billion construction project coming to our backyard, as the missile system at Minot Air Force Base will be replaced in the coming years. As City leaders, we have worked with Chamber EDC and Task Force 21 along with teams in Fargo and Grand Forks to help pull this bill across the finish line.  

There are many other bills and resolutions that the team from Minot is closely watching as the Legislature hits the halfway point. We can help these bills be successful by openly communicating our needs in a respectful manner that helps get our message across to our state lawmakers.  

This is my first legislative session as your mayor. I’m extremely proud to be in Bismarck talking to legislators from across the state, as well as leaders from numerous government agencies about what is happening in our community. It's been an education to be part of this important process, which just goes to show you that there are opportunities to learn new things every day.

I have confidence that all of our hard work will pay off with some wonderful announcements at the end of the session. I want to thank all of the legislators, especially the ones from the Minot area, who have been working through hundreds of bills as they strive to guide our state forward.

I also want to thank our residents, many of whom have provided testimony on behalf of or against bills of great importance to our community and our state. Thanks to City of Minot staff members for your tireless work in researching issues and providing me and our legislators with facts and figures that help explain the City’s positions on key issues.

There has been a lot of work done by both houses of the North Dakota Legislature, but there is much work remaining. As elected leaders, it’s our job to continue to tell Minot’s story in Bismarck and across the state. I’m looking forward to the second half of the Legislature.

You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.

Feb 09

It's your community - get involved

Posted on February 9, 2023 at 3:30 PM by Bryan Obenchain

Dear Minot:

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 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 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. 

You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.