Thank You, Bob Edwards

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Who would want to be mayor?

Who would want to serve on the council?

Here's what you get.

Lots of meetings. Long meetings. Sometimes, boring meetings and lots of homework.

Interruptions at dinner and in the market by people who want to complain about the strangest things.

Tough decisions, stacks of paperwork, endless criticism.

Irritating editorials.

Fundraisers for re-election.

A thousand doorbells to ring.

More criticism.

More long meetings.

And for what?

No money. Long hours.

And maybe the quiet knowledge that you've done your best and taken the blows on behalf of that beloved community. Hopefully, you can hold in your mind the good you've done, because most of it will be barely noticed by the people who owe you the greatest debt.

So we want to take this moment to thank Bob Edwards, and other outgoing town councilors, Tim Fruth and Andy Romance for their brave and generous service to this community.

And while we're at it, we also want to congratulate Councilman Randy White who made an unsuccessful run for mayor of Star Valley. We are also grateful to Tom Loeffler and David Rutter, who have both served on Payson committees and who both made unsuccessful runs for council.

All of those people have made selfless and sincere contributions to their fellow citizens -- and to their communities. In each case, they had nothing personal to gain from their service. Each of them had successful careers and a chance to loll about and play golf. And each of them opted instead to serve their community -- and make this a better place to live for the rest of us.

Mayor Edwards deserves special thanks from his fellow citizens.

He accomplished many things here. He saw problems and sought solutions. Consider a few of his accomplishments.

He forced the town to try some new approaches to managing growth, the fundamental question that faces any council.

He found a way to inspire and provoke the involvement of hundreds of citizens who hadn't been connected to town government previously through his creative use of task forces and the expansion of citizen committees.

He provided a font of enthusiasm and love for the community that has helped give direction and purpose to an array of initiatives.

He devoted hundreds of hours and a can-do attitude to every issue he touched. In his brief tenure, he saved stalled subdivisions, pushed for a big speed-up in street repairs and mastered the details of everything from the Blue Ridge Reservoir project to an event center and hotel that will finally bring convention business to town.

Of course, many other people also made invaluable contributions to all these things. It does not minimize those contributions to acknowledge the tremendous service Bob Edwards offered in providing such an intelligent, involved and dignified public face for his community.

He had nothing to gain from his hard work and long hours and did it out of a sense of duty and community. Edwards, and the other people we have mentioned, exemplify that spirit of democracy, optimism and service that help explain why this country -- and this community have accomplished such wonderful things.

It is precisely the optimism, expertise and idealism of people like White and Edwards and Loeffler and Rutter and their willingness to serve in a messy democratic process that that explains why this country produces 40 percent of the world's wealth and has enjoyed two centuries of political stability and places like Iraq can't keep the electricity flowing.

In other forums at other times, people might debate the legacy of Bob Edwards and other elected officials who have offered their service and taken their blows, in the sometimes-unforgiving arena of politics.

Not here. Not now.

And we also do not mean to minimize the contributions of the people who won this week. But they're basking in their victories and do not need our congratulations this week. Those who lost the good fight, may have a greater need for a kind word.

So we want to say clearly and from the heart that as citizens we're grateful to Bob Edwards, Tim Fruth, Andy Romance, Randy White, Dave Rutter and Tom Loeffler for their contributions -- and their willingness to serve.

We still don't know why on earth you'd want to do it -- but we're grateful that you did.

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