The following is an opinion/editorial from Branson Mayor Karen Best about a gift she recently received from Congressman Billy long:
“I am thankful to have a good working relationship with our state and federal leaders, and I value the advice and support they give me as mayor of Branson. However, I wanted to single out Congressman Billy Long and thank him for the inspiration he has recently given me.
The Congressman was kind to give me a copy of The Seamless City by former St. Petersburg, Florida mayor Rick Baker. In it, Mayor Baker details how he set out to make St. Petersburg "the best city in America" through defining goals, promoting the city, working to increase employment and end homelessness, measuring progress and proactively addressing potential problems and opportunities.
While becoming the "best city in America" is obviously subjective, the overall idea of not settling for second best when it comes to your local community is powerful. In theory we all want communities that are "seamless", in that a cohesive vision and purpose for shared prosperity and success drive the actions of government and industry. As Baker points out, such a goal is not naive idealism, but rather a shared attitude of togetherness and care for our fellow man and community.
This book has inspired me to really take a look at Branson city government and contemplate the ways that we are succeeding and the ways that we can improve. Such improvements are not necessarily massive new government programs - for example, one small thing I have noticed is the city of Branson mission statement. It is too long and bulky and not memorable enough for us city employees to even remember. How can we effectively market the city to others if we cannot present a concise and memorable reason for them to come and visit?
I am convinced that smaller changes like this, as well as bigger ones, can continue to make Branson the absolute best it can be to citizens and visitors. I am pleased that Congressman Long thought of me and the Branson community when he gave me this book, and am thankful for his support and leadership as well. Becoming the "best city in America" is a worthy goal for our community and I am looking forward to the challenge!”
Mayor Karen Best