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New mayor find his way in Haviland

Hannah Brown
Kiowa County Signal
Haviland Mayor Aaron Stokes poses with his daughters, Nora, Evelyn, and Winnie, and wife Cassie at the lake in Medicine Lodge.

Aaron Stokes was elected Mayor of Haviland last November and took office in January. Stokes has used his first six months in office finding his footing and figuring out how to navigate his new role.

“I think the temptation is to try to do right away, but it’s more important to listen right away,” said Stokes.

Stokes first thought about running for mayor because he feels that participation in local government is very important, especially for someone who is younger. Being the mayor is a way that Aaron feels he can give back to the community.

During these first months of his term as mayor, Aaron is in a listening phase, but he has a vision for what he would like to do, which primarily revolves around the quality of life that residents of Haviland have. He referenced a study done by the University of Iowa. This study states that almost all small towns in Iowa are shrinking, but it depends on it a town is willing to make changes to “shrink smart” or stay in their old ways of doing things. For Stokes, it is very important that the local government of Haviland provides the best possible life for it’s residents. He says this doesn’t have to be a huge change, but it can be something small repeated over and over that allows change to happen.

Aaron is looking forward to the rest of his term as Mayor and hopes to learn from the people in the community about what can make their lives as a Haviland resident the best it can be. Stokes has lived in Haviland for 11 years. He enjoys spending time with his wife Cassie and their three daughters Evelyn, Nora, and Winnie. Aaron is the Associate Vice President of Academics at Barclay College and his wife Cassie works at the Kiowa County Department.