DFP Endorses Black, Remily, Olson for Aberdeen City Council

Mark Remily and campaigners, posted to FB, 2017.06.05.
Mark Remily and campaigners, posted to FB, 2017.06.05.

I saw Mark Remily at the bank this morning. He was running an errand before returning to knocking on doors to remind people to get out and vote in tomorrow’s Aberdeen City Council election… and, preferably, to vote for him.

I don’t get to vote for Mark; he’s councilman for the northeast district—east of Main downtown, east of State north of the tracks—and I’m in the northwest. I would vote for Mark, though, as I would vote for Mike Olson if we’d stayed in the southeast district, and as I will vote tomorrow for northwest district candidate Tom Black.

Why would I endorse those three out of ten men running in four separate races?

  1. They know their stuff (see, most impressively, how Tom Black refuted a false question about crime by reading statistics that he got from Aberdeen’s police chief).
  2. They focus on practical city governance (with something more than the inconsistencies I hear from other candidates whose tired regurgitations of Reagany/Trumpy formulas don’t have much to do with the practical business of running a city government).
  3. They talked to me.
Tom Black, screen cap from campaign video, 2017.05.12.
Tom Black, screen cap from campaign video, 2017.05.12.

I invited every candidate on the ballot to appear on the Dakota Free Press Podcast. Twenty minutes or more, no gotcha questions, no editing answers down to 15-second soundbites, just a chance to speak at length about their policy agendas.

Black, Remily, and Olson took me up on the offer and provided intelligent, spirited answers to my and co-host Spencer Dobson’s questions. Black, Remily, and Olson all acquitted themselves well in our podcasts, talking about water, infrastructure, workforce, and other practical aspects of making Aberdeen a welcoming, functioning community.

The other seven candidates avoided the opportunity to express their views on the podcast. Given a month to reply to my invitations, six of the seven candidates didn’t even respond. Only Mike Olson’s opponent, Tim Prater, bothered to reply with as much as a “respectfully decline.”

Dennis "Mike" Olson, Aberdeen City Council. Photo by Spencer Dobson, 2017.05.24.
Mike Olson at the mic. Photo by Spencer Dobson, 2017.05.24.

When citizens call with questions, I expect city councillors to call back. Even if I won’t like the answer, I want an answer. If you serve in elected office or are asking to serve in elected office, you owe citizens an answer. If you don’t have time to talk to me when you are asking for power, you give me cause to worry that you won’t make time to talk to me when you have power.

To ignore requests for comment from the media is all the more irresponsible. Dakota Free Press was the only media outlet that offered candidates the opportunity to have the mic to themselves. KSDN’s Don Briscoe invited all ten city council candidates to his radio show, but those were group interviews. When a local media outlet offers you a microphone all to yourself, to produce content that will be freely available and sharable online throughout the campaign, you take that mic and sell your candidacy for as long as the interviewers will allow.

It wasn’t just my blog that got the cold shoulder. Southeast district candidate Kaleb Weis refused to appear The Don Briscoe Show as well. Briscoe’s feelings about candidates who won’t talk to the public via mass media match mine:

If you’re gonna run, I want you to come out and tell me why I should vote for you. And if Kaleb decided he didn’t want to come out here and tell you why you should vote for him, I guess I wouldn’t be voting for him [Don Briscoe, radio broadcast, 2017.05.19].

I can go through my policy and delivery notes from the May 6 League of Women Voters Forum to offer more detailed guidance on candidates. But in a nonpartisan race, in a small town where we all have to live with each other, I feel comfortable putting conversation and openness first. I want city councillors who will talk to me. Tom Black, Mark Remily, and Mike Olson have talked to me. Tom Black, Mark Remily, and Mike Olson are the best choices for the Aberdeen City Council.

6 Responses to DFP Endorses Black, Remily, Olson for Aberdeen City Council

  1. Cory… Though I appreciate the work you did on covering these candidates Dakota Broadcasting featured all 10 of the candidates for city council in a one-on-one sit down interview. All of which can be found at our web site. We also featured all but one of the school board candidates and the only reason we missed him was because he did not get back to us.

    Thanks again for all the reading material.

  2. Sorry to have missed those archived audio interviews, Adam! I appreciate your effort to inform the voters.

    I found the joint Prater-Weis interview; did you do separate interviews with each of them earlier?

  3. No they requested to be interviewed at the same time. I offered them their own slot and they declined.

  4. Interesting that two city council candidates would push the media around so much just to push their teamwork narrative… and interesting that no other candidates felt the need to impose such demands on the media.

  5. Why on god’s green earth would you decline?

    Despite me disagreeing with you on just about every thing you talk about, when I run for office, I would appear on your podcast or answer whatever question you have. Which is why I told Mrs Wise to appear on your show. I shake my head. HELL even Rep Dennert appeared on your program.

    My mom asked me who to vote for in the SE Dist…and Prater and Weis were not who I told her to vote for.

  6. DR, when will you be running for office? Would you like to announce your political intentions on our next podcast?

    I agree that candidates should almost never turn down a chance to talk to the press.

    And thanks, DR, for giving your mom good advice!