For over a year now, we’ve been intrigued – and even troubled – by Bismarck’s Mayor Mike Seminary. The first time we published an article about him, a recall effort was in full swing to remove him. Aside from problematic policy issues, Seminary’s decision to “stand in solidarity” with Dakota Access Pipeline protesters didn’t set well with most residents of Bismarck. He tried to patch his sinking ship, but was never able to recover from those comments. That was proven this week when Seminary was handily defeated by his opponent, Steve Bakken.
In addition to Mike Seminary’s comments to protesters sticking in the craw of many voters, his arrogance in relation to Corrupt Practice violations certainly didn’t help him in his bid for re-election either. Aside from the reports of some city employees that Seminary was inappropriately collecting re-election signatures, we also documented how he was campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime. And though the Attorney General’s office and BCI turned a blind eye to those violations, ultimately even the Bismarck Tribune picked up on another one. Yet, it was the Mayor’s own meltdown last week that was undoubtedly the tipping point for some voters— you know, when he unwittingly admitted to Corrupt Practices violations.
Far too often it doesn’t work this way, but the defeat of Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary clearly illustrates three important aspects necessary to demonstrate the power of the people.
- There must be Watchmen to raise a warning voice.
- The people must listen.
- Enough people must act.
Then – and often only then – can change and accountability become a reality. Congratulations, Bismarck. You did what nobody else was willing to do for you.