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Posted on November 13, 2020 at 11:29 AM by Bryan Obenchain
It’s something of a relief when the political season comes to an end, locally, statewide, and nationally. The campaigns last for months, and it’s easy to let yourself be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information that is disseminated leading up election day. But the election results will soon be certified, which means the real work begins for those elected.
I want to congratulate everyone who was elected to office. You have chosen to be a public servant, a commendable decision that carries with it both great responsibility and sizable sacrifice. Soon your personal time will quickly be filled with the daily details of the position you’ve been elected to, from county commissioner to state legislator to state office holder to representing North Dakota at the federal level. But there is also much personal satisfaction that comes with a public service position, and with being part of a collaborative effort to serve our communities and our state.
The races for president, U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives often get most of the recognition and national press coverage for months, and in some cases longer. It’s understandable, given the responsibility those positions carry, but we must never disregard the impact that state and local politicians have on our daily lives.
Our representatives in the North Dakota Legislature and those who hold state positions like insurance commissioner or superintendent of public instruction make decisions that often have direct implications for our families, our businesses, and our communities. And that’s as it should be – those closest to the issues should be the ones with the most influence. As often as possible, local issues should be decided locally.
In North Dakota, we’re fortunate to have relatively easy access to our elected officials, even at the state level or the federal level. Our residents expect lawmakers and other elected officials to respond to our concerns and questions; whether we agree with their responses is another discussion, but residents have every right to expect a thoughtful, timely answer to questions that are posed with respect.
As voters, we support the candidates we feel will best represent. We also have a duty and a responsibility to hold candidates responsible for their performance when they’re in office, and it’s up to us to share our thoughts with them when we approve of their decisions and when we disagree. If voters aren’t engaged before, during, and after the election, the system does not work to its fullest possibilities.
While the responsibilities and duties of elected officials vary greatly – the job of a city council members differs greatly from a state representative or the state treasurer – all elected officials share one common thread; we ultimately answer to the voters. We’d all be wise to remember that as we perform our duties, and as we consider decisions that could potentially impact the lives of those we serve.
Again, congratulations to everyone elected on Nov. 3. There has been much hard work throughout the campaign to reach this point. Now, the real work you signed up for begins. Let’s get busy. Our communities are counting on us.
Sincerely, City Hall.
You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.