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Mayor takes questions from Kenmare third-graders

Mayor for a Day took on a whole new meaning Wednesday for Kenmare third-graders who had a special visitor in their classroom.

2/07/17 (Tue)

Mayor visits . . . Kenmare Mayor Dwight Flygare speaks to Kenmare third-graders Wednesday about the responsibilities of the mayor’s office and of local government. Through an essay contest, one of those third-graders will take Flygare’s place in March and be Mayor for a Day.     

By Marvin Baker

Mayor for a Day took on a whole new meaning Wednesday for Kenmare third-graders who had a special visitor in their classroom.

Kenmare Mayor Dwight Flygare spoke to the group of 28 students  and their teachers Marla Jensen and Tracey Houck to help promote a contest through the North Dakota League of Cities called “Mayor for a Day.”

Third-grade students and seventh-grade students across North Dakota are asked to write an essay that answers three questions; Why is your city great? What would you do to improve your city if you were Mayor for a Day? And, essays may deal with community issues.

One seventh-grade student and one third-grade student will become mayor of their city for a day after a decision is made during the League of Cities convention in March.

Last year’s third-grade winner was Isabelle Sateren of McVille.

In addition, Kenmare City Hall announced it will have a local Mayor for a Day contest.

“We’re also picking a city winner, so one of you will be mayor,” said city auditor Marki Ellis. “The winner will get two free tickets to the theater and $20 in Kenmare bucks.”

Ellis said original essays must be in Bismarck by Feb. 15 and a winner will be announced in March.

Flygare talked about the responsibilities of the mayor and that any one of the students he met with could handle his job for a day.

“It’s my honor to be your mayor,” Flygare said. “The most important responsibility is safety of the citizens. Another is to listen to concerns of the citizens.”

Flygare told the students he promotes Kenmare for exactly what it is, a great place to live, work and play.

He then asked the students why they think Kenmare is a great place. Some of the answers he received were; it has great citizens and businesses, it has two good schools, it has a hospital and a town square.

“Here are some things to think about,” Flygare said. “As mayor I have the privilege of presiding over the city council who are elected and those six people actually govern the city.”

Flygare, who became mayor in June of last year, said being mayor isn’t a hard job because he is surrounded by the right people who work well together, which makes it all go better.

“My favorite part of the job is to go out and talk to the people and listen to their concerns,” the mayor said. “Then, they begin to trust you and that is very important.”

Flygare said he wanted to take a moment and talk about the students and that he hopes in the years ahead they will step forward and take part in public service.

For right now, however, one of the most important things the students can do in order for them to become Mayor for a Day is to take pride in their community and be respectful of others, according to Flygare.

He suggested the kids work very hard on their essays because that would make it more likely for a Kenmare third-grader to win the contest.

Flygare then opened the floor up to questions and he was flooded with hands in the air. They ranged from why did you become mayor to what was your favorite subject in school.

“I thought about it and said I would only do this if I have time,” Flygare said about why he became mayor. “You have to have the time and it will help you do a better job. I chose to be mayor so I could start helping people.”

And, after telling the kids his favorite subject was history, the mayor suggested that anyone who is interested in taking part in local politics should sit in on city council meetings to get an idea of where the problems are and how they get solved.

Flygare told the students he doesn’t have a physical office and that he works out of his home.

One student then asked him for his phone number and Jensen said she didn’t think the mayor would want 28 third-grade students calling him.

She said if their parents need to get hold of Flygare, they will either already know his number or see him on the street and talk to him about an issue.

Right now the important thing is to have the students working on their essays because Feb. 15 is approaching quickly.

Jensen said her students have already done rough drafts and they were set to review them after Flygare’s visit.

The mayor was clearly enjoying his first public presentation outside the city council chambers.

“This is the first time I have met with you,” Flygare said. “It’s my first presentation and it’s to you.”

Flygare was given a generous round of applause and waved to the children as he and Ellis said goodbye. 

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