Ollie’s Opinion: Thank You Mayor Gander

Every week for the past few months, you have seen Mayor Steve Gander go out of his way to provide in-depth answers to your questions about everything in this wonderful city from purchasing policies to crosswalk safety. The mayor is not like most politicians that dominate the local news coverage. In my view from chatting with him multiple times both on and off the record, he embodies what I think we would all like to see more of in our public servants.

He shows up and listens, without advocating a blind partisan ideology. When researching his background, I found it really interesting that although he ran unopposed when he won he still campaigned as if he had an opponent.

In the system of governance East Grand Forks has,our mayor does not vote on any legislation. To me, he serves more in an outward facing role to demystify what government means and does for our city.

Why does this matter?

Well, he is doing a good job of explaining not only what council does but where things are in the city at-large. He is working with many people on putting together a bid for the 2021 Governor’s Fishing Opener. Should that wonderful event come here, many folks would deserve credit for this wonderful achievement, chief among them being Mayor Steve Gander.

In addition, even when he does not necessarily support expanding public funds for a project he steps up and encourages the community to rally behind something. I would like to think the new patio put in for residents at Good Samaritan here in town was in part encouraged by Mayor Gander’s call to donate to the wonderful project that will benefit so many residents in our town.

Finally, I appreciate his non-partisan honesty when it comes to issues in this town and state big and large. I asked him this week’s question because in part, Mayor Gander has been a big supporter of the growing immigrant population in East Grand Forks and has spoken at the Al-Huda Islamic Center multiple times. Beyond mere words, his administration combined with the efforts of other officials in town from Chief of EGF Police Mike Hedlund to the work of Superintendent of ISD 595 Mike Kolness has ensured a place for all people to feel welcomed and to help make their government truly accessible to those who utilize one of its services. If you have ever walked on a public sidewalk in East Grand Forks, you are one of those people.

Thank you to Mayor Steve Gander for providing transparency to the residents whom elected you to serve. You have brought the same honesty and frankness to your public life that you promised you would when running for this office and we are all better for it.

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