Each year, the Bloomington mayor partners with the city manager and other staff to present a State of the City address. This year, I had the honor of presenting my first State of the City address to a live audience. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it was to see so many community members in person. I was sworn in as mayor on January 2, 2020. Now, two years later, I can honestly say there is hope on the horizon. It feels like a long time since we’ve been able to say that.
Back in March 2020, when the effects of the pandemic began to cascade down on us, hope seemed to be in short supply. One of my favorite quotes from a leader who showed the world how to face a daunting challenge is from Winston Churchill who said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
I have no doubt we could go person by person in Bloomington and hear stories of heartbreak and sorrow, of businesses lost and of opportunities missed. But I also know we would hear stories of compassion, and grit and great accomplishment. Stories of people who were going through hell and kept right on going. I salute each and every one of you for your strength, your perseverance, and your wisdom. Thank you for your leadership in this community.
As we are on the other side of another wave of COVID-19 that occurred earlier this year, we have a lot to look forward to.
While we expect other waves, we do think this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic phase. I am reminded of another famous phrase from Winston Churchill— “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Now, I would like to offer hope—of renewed optimism, of turning the corner, of expectations that 2022 will be a better year. Why do I feel that hope is on the horizon? Bloomington’s can-do spirit is shaped by strong partnerships and collaborations, confidence in what we have accomplished and what we will achieve, sheer determination and a drive to take care of one another.
Dedication, perseverance and compassion describe those who were responsible for giving us hope for the future during a very dark time and, even still, as we make our way to brighter times. One embodiment of the dedication, perserverance and compassion that got us through the last few years is our hometown Public Health heroes, pictured above with City Manager Jamie Verbrugge at the 2022 State of the City event. They provided information, testing sites and vaccination clinics through the pandemic to help keep us all safe. Thank you to those Public Health employees, frontline workers, healthcare professionals, teachers, nonprofit service providers and more, who kept our community going in trying times and as we move forward. Watch this year’s State of the City address online at blm.mn/soc.