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Mayor presents overview of Gering
April 01, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
Although it was April Fools’ Day and mention was made of a new Boeing plant coming to Gering, Mayor Tony Kaufman talked about his first few months on the job to members of the Gering Business Club.

“It must have some meaning that I was asked to speak on April Fools’ Day,” Kaufman said, “but I wanted to talk about my challenges in the past four months.”

He said the main focus of his job is to listen to people and get them working together to find solutions to the city’s many problems. “We have great people and are poised to do great things for a small western Nebraska town,” he said. “We don’t all agree on the solutions, but we’re all passionate about our community. As long as we keep the end goal in sight, we’ll always find the best decision.”

Kaufman also spoke on the March 30 meeting of municipalities from around the area to discuss new economic opportunities. “In many industries it doesn’t matter what we do,” he said. “A lot of people in eastern Nebraska think the state ends at Grand Island. So it’s evident we need to have a larger voice. We can’t go the economic development road alone.”

He added that every community has needs and are willing to fight for them. Using a basketball analogy, Kaufman said everyone needs to find their role on the team. Not every player will score 20 points a night. “We have to find our role in the valley and be a role player for the betterment of the region. I think that meeting was a good first step for everyone determining their role.”

He added the area needs to leverage its assets to create opportunities for all communities. “I visited with council members from other areas and found they have pressing issues that we can help with. We have paid staff with the knowledge help them find solutions, so we should help a neighbor out.”

He also said it’s also important to keep the lines of communication open with the entire community. “Sometimes we forget to share what’s going on with the people and ask for more input. We need to bring everyone to the table and discuss issues before the city charges off in a direction we think is best for everyone. As we move forward, we need to get more people involved.”
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