Tuesday, 9 June 2020

The New Guy

I don't keep up with American politics outside of the news coverage that CNN and Canadian news stations show on their networks. I know enough about things that are shaping the federal political narrative, but the stories from individual states and cities regarding elections and political campaigns are completely foreign to me. Well, except for one. The mayoral race in Grand Forks, North Dakota is one I've been keeping an eye on through local news because of the man to the left who once starred for the University of North Dakota, the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators in the NHL, and Barys Astana in the KHL. That man is, of course, Mr. Brandon Bochenski.

I had written previously about Bochenski's foray into politics in Grand Forks when it seems he was caught up in some political hijinks, but today was the big day when Grand Forks citizens made their voices heard in the election as the voting booths were open for them to cast their ballots!

Bochenski was running against the incumbent Mike Brown who had held the mayoral seat for two decades, Robin David who was unwittingly dragged into those politic hijinks mentioned above, and write-in contender Art Bakken who had sat on the Grand Forks city council. With social distancing in effect, the normal routine of handshakes, knocking on doors, and meeting people in person had taken a backseat to social media campaigns and lawn signs, so would it be enough for Grand Forks citizens to take a chance on Bochenski?

According to the Grand Forks Herald, "[v]ote totals as of 7:30 p.m. gave Bochenski 5,663 votes, or 49.62%. Brown had 3,360, or 31.81%, and David had 1,989, or 17.43%. Write-in candidates, including Art Bakken, had 131 votes."

Ladies and gentlemen, your new mayor of Grand Forks is none other than former hockey star Brandon Bochenski!

The Herald also noted this passage.
"Bochenski's victory means a seismic shift in Grand Forks politics, away from Brown's centrist style and more toward a free-market philosophy. During his campaign, Bochenski promised to focus less on downtown development, beautification and the arts, and more on slashing taxes and growing the workforce and local economy. He won the backing of many local conservatives, even drawing a letter of support from the local Republican Party."
While I reserve some judgment to allow Bochenski to actually get into office and do the job, we've seen a pretty awful job done by Republicans at the federal and state levels in recent years, so let's hope that Brandon isn't sliding too far to the right. That being said, if he can promote business in the Grand Forks area once more, perhaps the city will grow and thrive. Whatever the case may be, I'm hopeful that Bochenski can find some balance between the economic growth of the city and the arts scene which was promoted by Brown during his tenure.

Wednesday sees a new day in the North Dakota city, and with that new day comes a new mayor who begins his first day on the new job. This new work won't be as easy as playing alongside Nigel Dawes and Dustin Boyd while racking up points for Astana, but he should look for his spots on the political landscape where he can find success just as he did on the ice. The job won't be easy, but I suspect that Bochenski will do fine if he remembers that the mayoral office and city council runs as a team just like he was part of a team.

As mayor, he's captain of said city council "team", and just as he was in Astana he'll need to earn the trust and respect of his team in order to be an effective leader. Here's hoping that Brandon Bochenski can be as successful as the Mayor of Grand Forks as he was on the ice in his hockey career!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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