Today I received my copy of the Capital Improvement Program for some light reading over the ides of January. It’s a modest 480-page brick representing the hopes of a Midwest city that I’ve only ever known as “home.” As I thumbed through the pages, a co-worker looked on in intrigue at the page-turner that had me so engrossed. As she approached with an inquisitorial sense about her, I began discussing the reading material. She asked simply if I knew I would be asked to read through it when I was elected to political office. My response was direct. “I was looking forward to it after reading the last one.” She approved of the sentiment but digressed. I felt optimistic about my approaching weekend of highlighting, reading, and dreaming of the impact this would have on our city.
I, perhaps, enjoy the symbolism behind becoming intimately acquainted with the town that helped raise me. Growing up, it was easy to take it all for granted but coming to age and starting a family of my own makes me appreciate the opportunity to see this old city’s bones. Not everyone gets to see what makes this town tick, and I’m fortunate to be allowed the opportunity to help represent everyone in our great growing community. It’s incredibly fulfilling to count myself among those that have tried their best and given their all to help steer our great city towards progress. I imagine how far we’ve come in my short time here on earth and can only imagine the city I will one day leave to my children.
As we enter the dreaded budget season, I’m reminded of the weight on all our shoulders. A budget is a moral document. It’s more than just a record, and it states our priorities. It shows what we guard and what we neglect. We’re forced to toe the line by ensuring equitable and apparent progress without overreaching. That’s where the balance comes in. We’re fortunate enough to have a non-partisan council that is supportive and cohesive. We may not agree on everything, but we can find that in which we can agree in everything. I’m grateful to be a part of the team that weighs the outcomes and helps invest in our city’s future.
In my time on the council, I hope to continue this vision and reach for a more diverse representation in the city. I also hope to make members of our community heard and valued. I want people to feel that they have a firm grasp on the inner workings of our city and that they can get behind changes and advances we’re helping to procure and deliver to the community. Our gains should be charitable and equitable, but sometimes you must see the big picture to justify the brush strokes. I want to be able to communicate that to the people of Sioux City. I want to show them how we’re growing, thriving, and innovating for a brighter future.
By, Matthew O’Kane. Matthew serves on the City Council for the City of Sioux City as well as a K-12 Virtual Art Instructor at VIBE Academy for Sioux City Schools. He lives in Sioux City where he was born and raised, with his wife, Leticia, and three children, Samson, Lunah, and Sheamus.