BISMARCK, N.D. - Steve Bakken was elected as Bismarck mayor one year ago on Wednesday. He defeated incumbent Mike Seminary who held the position for four years. Bakken spoke to us as he reflects on his first 365 days in office.
It's been a year since Steve Bakken was elected mayor of Bismarck. And on Wednesday, he spent the afternoon handing out service awards to city employees. Fitting in a way, as he says his biggest takeaway is how great the Bismarck city employees are. He says their support has helped him through a whirlwind of a first year.
“Part of my learning curve over the last year was acquiring the patience that things just take time sometimes,” Bakken said.
He says he's most proud so far of changing how projects with the water commission are funded, taking some of the burden off taxpayers backs. Bakken says he's also excited about development along the riverfront and plans to integrate the University of Mary into the city more, with the purchase of the public health building. But he says one of the biggest wins is relationships the city built with legislators during the session.
“Our local legislators know exactly we need as a city to be successful and we can move forward with that and you know we need their help,” Bakken said.
Taking over two weeks after the election, Bakken says he doesn't see any negatives from his first year in office. He hopes to continue building a better relationship with the county,
“I would hope that under my first year of leadership that we are in a little bit better place or we're going in the right direction for making some changes for the long term viability of the city,” Bakken said.
And says he's looking forward to the next three years.
Bakken says he's excited about the strategic plans being done by the city, park and school districts, and how they will create efficiencies within Bismarck.