Dickinson Mayor announces 2020 re-election bid
Dickinson Mayor Scott Decker formally announced his intention to seek reelection to the position of president of the Dickinson City Commission, where he will face the challenge in candidate LeRoy Hendrickson.
"I live in Dickinson and serve no special interests, nor have any hidden agendas," Decker said. "If re-elected, I will continue to work hard for all of the citizens of Dickinson to provide them with honest, transparent and efficient local government.”
Decker was first elected in 2014 to the Dickinson City Commission and later to president of the Dickinson City Commission in 2016. An active member of multiple local boards, including the Stark County Planning and Zoning board, the board of directors for Vision West, and Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association, his public service resume is comprehensive.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Decker has remained active in coordinating communication between various stakeholders and entities in the city and county, attending meetings at the Emergency Operations Center at the Public Safety Center.
"I'm very thankful that we haven't had a mass outbreak in Dickinson, but I've been in meetings every morning touching base with all the different entities like schools, healthcare and county officials so that we all stay in the loop with state requirements," he said. "It has been very interesting to say the least. When you have a weekend like we just had where everyone was hoping for the best but it just spiked off the chart, it's been difficult."
Looking forward, Decker said that a united and experienced leadership will be needed at the city level to address the ramifications of COVID-19 once the dust has settled, but noted that the effects of the oil industry's plunging markets are “without question” the primary concern of city officials in Dickinson.
“One of the biggest challenges looking forward, and COVID is going to be huge, but the biggest problem looming over us is the falling oil prices,” Decker said. “In the past we couldn’t get enough workers, but what is it going to look like in the future with a decrease in oil activity. It’s such a yo-yo effect in that part of the economy out here. Despite our diverse economy, I think this is one of those where we are going to see a huge economic impact.”
Diversifying the local economy has been an issue that the commission has actively sought to address, and Decker believes that there is still significant work remaining on that front.
“We are going to have to seriously look at our model and consider what we are going to have to do,” Decker said. “Workforce, child care and keeping our economy diverse are always on our minds, and when it comes to city budgets there are going to be hard decisions that are going to have to be made.”
Decker added, “When it comes to these quality-of-life projects that we had on the docket, we are going to have to push those down the road for a year, at least ... The challenge is going to be to decide how we are going to operate as normal as possible in the downturn in sales tax and GPT (gross production tax) for oil.”
Experienced leadership in handling situations like those facing Dickinson is what Decker says he has gained in his tenure as mayor.
"I have worked diligently to ensure that workers traveling from Dickinson to their jobs in the Bakken Oilfield have safe passage every day," Decker said. "I listen closely to our citizens concerns and ideas and always make sure they get heard by our city staff, state leaders and even federal officials."
As a delegate for the District 37 Republican District, Decker championed western North Dakota at the state level where he worked closely with Sen. Rich Wardner and Rep. Mike Lefor on funding bills aimed at providing security to Dickinson’s finances and regional airport. Traveling to Washington D.C., Decker advocated for matters of interest to the economy of the Western Edge including lobbying efforts for funding the Highway 85 improvement project.
Born in Dickinson, Decker has maintained a residence and employment in southwest North Dakota his entire life with except for the nine years of military service spent in the US Army.
An adamant supporter for veteran’s causes, Decker said his bringing awareness to veteran issues and fighting for services have been paramount in his life after serving 20 plus years on active duty between the US Army and North Dakota Army National Guard.
"Veterans are one of my top priorities and I championed the cities participation in the new Veterans Pavilion along with the future development of a veteran’s cemetery," he said. "It's one of my proudest achievements as mayor."
Decker has also worked closely with the North Dakota Army National Guard representatives as they work to provide Dickinson with a new Armory.
"Representing Dickinson has been an incredible experience and honor," he said. "I want to continue working for the things that make our city truly special – things like quality of life projects, strong schools, a diverse economy that encompasses all sectors, improvements in childcare and promoting workforce recruitment," Decker said. “I want to continue to serve Dickinson as your Mayor and bring our message that we are one of the best places to live in America."