Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski delivers his first State of the City address
"We have a lot to be excited for and the future belongs to Grand Forks," Bochenski said
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (KVRR) – Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski began his State of the City address with a tribute to Cody Holte on what would’ve been the police officer’s 30th birthday. Holte was killed in the line of duty last May.
Despite a year full of challenges, Bochenski says Grand Forks is “coming out of this pandemic stronger than ever before.”
With no prior experience in politics, Bochenski took on the role of Grand Forks mayor in the midst of a global pandemic, looming economic crisis, and civil unrest. After nine months in office, Bochenski says he’s inspired by the resiliency his community has shown in the wake of the coronavirus.
“We truly took an all-of-government approach and all-of-community approach. The shining star of our COVID response was our Institutional Partners Group – made up of Altru, UND, Grand Forks Public Schools, Grand Forks County, and Grand Forks Air Force Base,” he added.
Bochenski says those collaborations have allowed Grand Forks to be a statewide leader in testing, contact tracing, treatment and vaccinations.
He says the City is coming out of the pandemic economically stronger than ever, with the 2020 budget results meeting or exceeding nearly every parameter.
Moving forward, Grand Forks is investing $116 million in local infrastructure aimed at growing the City over the next several years.
“But most importantly, we know this has been a trying time for everyone,” Bochenski said. “Some of us have lost loved ones; some of us have lost businesses and livelihoods.”
Last summer, the Grand Forks Police Department also grieved the loss of one of its own. Former Police Officer Cody Holte was killed in the line of duty at the same time racial injustice protests took place in our region.
“What more can be said about our police department and their professionalism and commitment to duty? Just think about the week they had early last summer. They lost a brother on Wednesday. Then on Saturday they sent 15 officers to Fargo to help keep the peace in their community. They returned to pay tribute and bury their brother on Tuesday, then began working to keep the peace during protests in our own City,” Bochenski recalled.
He says the pandemic and national unrest came to divide, but the Grand Forks community emerged stronger and more united than ever.
To view Bochenski’s speech in its entirety, click here.
This year’s event was hosted virtually due to the pandemic.