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.
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