Improving in 2018

Community leaders look forward

As the new year begins today, people may consider ways in which they can improve their lives and the lives of others. The Messenger asked five Fort Dodge area community members their plans for improvement and the qualities they wish to embody in 2018.

Matt Bemrich, Fort Dodge mayor

One of my goals every year is to continue to work to improve our community and make it a better place to live, a better place to raise a family, a safer place, with a stronger economy. Almost every time the council is working towards a new project or trying to fulfill obligations of projects we have already started, we are always looking at how does this improve the lives of the people around us, because they are not only our constituents, they are our friends, our neighbors, our family.

I am always working on trying to be a more mindful person, more understanding of other people’s opinions and their perspectives of the issues we have in front of us, almost on a daily basis. In 2018, I will continue to work to be more diligent in listening to people and trying to understand the perspectives of those around me.

Charles Clayton, director of Athletics for Education and Success

AFES and myself are going to try to make more of an effort to address more social issues with kids and families. When I say social issues I mean racism, classism, sexism. It seems there’s a lot more issues with that today. Maybe part of that is social media. I don’t know if we are doing a good enough job of addressing that with our youth. We want to give them better tools to deal with some of those issues. One of those reasons it’s more prevalent today could be social media. It seems like we have more problems with racism, sexism, and classism. For improvement areas, that’s something we want to improve our approach to it and doing our part to make more of a conscious effort to talk to kids about these things in the new year.

It’s important to actually listen and hear people out rather than hear and just respond. I think we listen just to get our response ready in our head sometimes.

Dennis Plautz, CEO of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance

One thing I have always tried to do and continue to do is listen more to ideas from other people. I have found the older you get the more you realize how important that is. There are lots of good ideas and you will be better in everything you do if you listen to other people. A good listener is generally going to be a very successful person. That’s part of everything that is making our community as successful as it has been is that we are listening to each other better than we used to. I would like to see that continue. I would like to see myself and the entire office get better at it.

I think things are going very well here now. I would like to be a part of continuing that to add value to what others are doing in the community. It’s possible that I would be retired right now if working wasn’t fun and if we weren’t successful in working together like we are. I would hope that I would continue to be able to work well with all of the people that I work with in the next year. I think working relationships are just like friendships. You have to be able to feel confident and trust people you’re working with and I hope the people I am working with can have a similar trust in me and do things for the right reasons.

Jim Stubbs, Webster County sheriff

My hope is to spend as much time as possible with my family. I also want to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Webster County through the sheriff’s office and strive to do our best for the citizens of this county. That includes everything from feeling safe and secure to making sure everyone has access to the health that we can give them, whether that’s mental health or something else. Anything that we can do to make their lives better.

One aspect that is really important in my profession and in my life is the ability to listen and to hear others’ concerns. Sometimes there’s things you can do to facilitate their issues and sometimes there’s just not much you can do to make things better other than to be there for them and to listen. That would be one of the things that I think most everybody can improve on and one I hope to improve on.

Sherry Washington, Fort Dodge community volunteer

There’s always room for improvement in everyone’s life. Always strengthening faith and keeping that strong. My faith is first and foremost. Continuing to unite and strengthen our community. Always looking outside of the box.

I want to continue to build on the fruits of the spirit: love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.