SANDPOINT — Optimism and hope better for harmony among Bonner County’s elected officials was pervasive during Monday’s swearing-in ceremony.
“I think this is going to be a good thing for Bonner County,” Prosecutor Louis Marshall said of the new-look Bonner County commission.
Newly-elected Bonner County commissioners Joyce Broadsword and Cary Kelly took their oaths of office after prevailing in last year’s hard-fought election cycle.
Their election is stoking hopes that the last two years of acrimony, mainly between members of the board and Clerk Marie Scott, will no longer persist and will give way to more productive working relationships.
Both Broadsword and Kelly ran on bringing more cohesiveness to the Bonner County commission, which has been fraught with personal and political struggles amongst each other and other elected officials.
“I am looking forward to working with the entire team,” said Broadsword.
“Ditto,” said Kelly.
Commissioner Mike Nielsen, the board’s only holdover, said he would capitalize on the change in the commission’s composition to “reset relationships.” Since his election two years ago, Nielsen has been at odds with Commissioner Lewis Rich and Scott.
Much of the discord was rooted in Nielsen’s efforts to have the commission play a greater role in financial decisions involving the county’s finances. Nielsen has said previous commissions mostly abdicated that role and relied heavily on Scott’s extensive experience in minding the county’s books.
Even Scott expressed optimism that the discord would fade out. She was so optimistic that she said she felt like singing “Happy Days Are Here Again,” a Tin Pan Alley standard that became the theme song Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s successful 1932 presidential campaign.
Marshall also took his oath of office after fending off Tevis Hull and Michael Waldrup, as did Sheriff Daryl Wheeler, who bested Tim Fry and Rocky Jordan during the elections.
Scott took a moment to recognize departing commissioners Lewis Rich and Cornel Rasor, in addition to the candidates who ultimately did not prevail.
“We couldn’t have a representative government without people willing to put themselves on the front lines in an effort to bring their views and goals forward for our consideration at the polls,” said Scott.
Scott also offered some advice to her fellow elected officials, which coincidentally came courtesy of a famous quote by Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor.
“Do what you feel in your heart to — for you’ll be criticized anyway,” said Scott, quoting the U.S. diplomat and reformer.