Looking back


From: Mike Kirschmann

It’s that time of year again. Christmas has come and gone and we’re all wondering what the coming new year will bring with it to our lives and families. One thing it always brings, that we often overlook, is a new group of novice elected public servants that will be seated in January. Most are good people with good intentions, and none of them really know what they’ve gotten themselves into. Many will perfectly fit our image of what a politician is, and to our benefit, some of them will surpass that image and become diplomats and statesmen/women.

But before we look forward to what may be, let’s look back at what has been. Locally we have a number of folks who were brave enough (or foolish enough) to raise their hands to run and serve our community. Tim Breza, Stacey Mounce-Arnold, Dwayne Voegeli, and Sharon Ropes may all stand out in our minds. Whether we viewed them as right or wrong, all served with integrity and dedication to their beliefs and to the positions they filled at no small personal cost to themselves and their families.

For this observer, one stands out; maybe because I disagreed with him the most, but more so because I came to respect him the most. I still remember the deer-in-headlights look on his face eight cold winters ago when he was sworn into office. Voted in amidst a pile of turmoil at the county planning department and now leaving office having set in motion a new plan that we all hope is a better plan for how we use and respect the land.

Perhaps what has surprised me the most about Dwayne Voegeli (besides his fair-mindedness) is that while he was viewed by many as a “liberal tree hugger” his actions and effect have turned out to more correctly show him as a fiscal conservative. In fact, none of his contemporaries have been willing to carry the water and fight for fiscal conservation in county government to the length that Dwayne has. While some were talking the talk Dwayne was putting on his armor and going to battle with “liberals” and “conservatives” in a very out of the spotlight fashion.

In honor of Dwayne’s statesman-like service to our county let’s coin a new term for our political lexicons; Conservative Conservationist or if you prefer Controversial Conservative Conservationist. Happy New Year Dwayne, Denine, Tristan, and Danika; enjoy getting your lives back and thank you all for your sacrifice and service.


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