Our View: Rochester can be proud of Mayor Brede
Sixteen years is a long time to be in office. Issues crop up, alliances shift, perceptions change, energy wanes.
But one thing has remained the same during Ardell Brede’s 16 years as mayor of Rochester: his tireless support for the community, the people who live here, the folks who do business here, and anyone who visits.
Brede, at first glance, would appear to be the kind of steady hand who simply keeps a city moving along without any great surprises.
But don’t let first impressions fool you. Brede, despite his always cheerful outlook and endless storehouse of anecdotes and humorous stories, has been more than just a Babbitt-style booster.
He has pushed inclusiveness. He has delivered welcome remarks to practically every organization, large or small, meeting here. He has been in the front row at sports events, and rarely misses an opening night of a local play. He shows up everywhere, demonstrating his interest and concern.
By the way, in case you’ve somehow missed it, Brede has been the city’s No. 1 advocate for the arts.
He realized that the arts are not only an important cultural and spiritual outlet for a community, but that they can also be an economic engine. He was an early consumer of studies showing that arts-related events attract visitors and attention to a community, spinning off economic benefits in numerous ways.
In fact, Brede took his support for the arts nationwide during his time in leadership of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
As for the Destination Medical Center effort, over which the mayor has little say, Brede has, as might be expected, found a niche. He strongly supports the effort to remake the former Chateau Theatre building into an arts center that could serve as a key element of the downtown district.
All of these aspects of the job of being Rochester mayor played to Brede’s strengths. He’s a personable, likable guy, willing to toot his own horn on occasion, but just as comfortable deflecting the spotlight to other leaders in the community.
There’s also this about Brede: Never once did we hear him in public utter a negative word about a local business or organization.
Well, some might say, being a cheerleader is the primary role of the office holder in Rochester’s weak mayor system.
True, but within those limitations, Brede was a mayor Rochester could be proud of. We hope he’ll find a way to stay active in the community, and continue to share his energy and dedication to making Rochester a better place for all.