Brown for Mayor: It’s only the beginning

This letter is paid content. “Does anyone really know what time it is?” Lyrics from the infamous band CHICAGO released music in their 1969 debut album Chicago Transit Authority. Did you know it’s time for a citywide election? The Mayor’s position is on the docket and it’s time to make a choice for a continuation of forward-looking, effective, results-oriented leadership … or not!

When Michael was first elected in 2000, who would have guessed he’d be re-elected in 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016. Those 20 short years have confirmed just about every one of his talents. His two biggest initiatives were the recovery of the downtown business area decimated by the worst flood in Grand Forks history, and the provision for the protection of the City of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks from any future threat of flooding. His leadership and negotiating skills with the US Army Corps of Engineers brought together a federal/city government team bent on success. With the FEMA dollars bringing emergency relief, Mayor Brown’s team was able to turn around a city destroyed, and rebuild a new downtown – his trademark or benchmark of getting results. From my perspective, he’s provided a ready formula of a multi-state diking system that, still to this day, eludes the Fargo community.

As we came forward in time, new issues and new problems surfaced for the City Council to work. These were not all good times either: threats gained a foothold for the Grand Forks AFB closing in 2005; the University of North Dakota budget seeing cutbacks and the battling the NCAA over the mascot name changing from Fighting Sioux to Fighting Hawks; facing deteriorating city infrastructure roads and grounds and bridges; the increase of the city sales tax and the storefront closings in the Columbia Mall; Canadian traffic reduced as the gap widened between the Canadian and US dollar. But the City Council stepped up and worked those issues and overcame many of them so that today we have a much better chance at people, business, and mission success.

Today, Grand Forks AFB is still a vibrant entity and getting stronger now that the Air Force has a UAV headquarters here. The commercial UAV business park research and development is expanding in the Grand Sky laboratories and new opportunities for multi-platform aircraft is now open for business. The UND campus will also be headed up by a former USAF Academy Staff Member. Soon we will be improved with a “cooperative working team” among the local military, commercial, and civilian sectors right along with our City Government. Dollars for building recently surpassed the billion dollar mark with the new hospital, the new UND facilities, the new water treatment plant, etc. And Mayor Michael R Brown has been in the thick of it even as everyone is hunkered down yet safer for it from this pesky viral infestation. It’s a safe bet he’ll be there when the dust settles too. He will do everything in his power to revive and restore the life blood of our community as we move into the recovery phase. He’s done it all before.

I’ve tried to promote not the politics, but the personal side of this man from my 45-year friendship, and relate to you what really stands out about our Mayor from my perspective: how much he loves, cares for, and participates in this “cool” community of ours. After all as an OB/GYN, he probably delivered over 3,000 current members by himself … and he still daily meets and greets these “family members” sometimes on a first-name basis. He never ceases to amaze me. He’s been here since 1975 and plans on being here every step of the way through the issues ahead for our fair city.

To come out of our current quandary, I would prefer NOT to have anyone else less generous, loving, caring, or participating than Mayor Michael R Brown. And as CHICAGO later played in the same debut album back in 1970 … “…it’s only just the beginning!” How fitting is that for all of us?

Dennis Almer, Grand Forks, N.D.