L-R Retiring Deedie Beard and County Clerk, Dan English
A grand lady, dedicated to accuracy retired today. After 33 years in county government, and most of that as the elections director, Deedie Beard called it a career. The stories of late night counts and recounts haunt the hallways of the election department. Most of which occurred before the computerization of the whole process. Machine voting has taken over most of the counting process, along with modern paper ballot processing from the hinterlands of the county.
Within those 33 years of county service, Deedie once bragged, "not one person in this county knows how I think politically, or how I vote, and I intend to keep it that way." Two years ago I interviewed Deedee for a story I wrote in the Handle Extra about her stellar service. Deedie was honored today, by the county she served and by the state from within she served. Room one hundred in the county administration building was packed as co-workers, friends, of which she has many, and an extended family that pretty near collapsed the walls of the room. Cheers and tears ruled the day as Deedee's replacement quickly rose to the occasion, furnishing her with a fresh pack of Kleenex.
Deedie received awards from the county, Women's league of voters, and the Secretary of State, Ben Ysursa, naming her as the bar to which other county election departments could take lessons from. But plaques and certificates cannot take the place of the love and affection folks in Kootenai county hold for this wonderful person and administrator.
Unfortunately, the shadow of sore losers threatened to dampen the celebration as a lawsuit was filed late Monday afternoon, challenging the election itself, apparently without a request for a recount. In my opinion, with a five vote margin, the loser to Kennedy could have and probably should have called for a recount. Apparently the loser chose to insult the system itself, and by reference, the grand lady retiring. What they hope to accomplish is unknown and the outcome deplorable. Attacking the very system that allows one to abuse it is interesting at best.
My take on this is that while conservatives certainly outnumber liberals in the panhandle, Extremism can and probably will move voters toward the more moderate middle. We saw that when Sali lost to Democrat Minnick last election cycle, and with the continued extremism we actually might see more Republicans voting to retain Minnick who isn't by any standard, liberal.
Please join me in congratulating Deedee Beard on one of the most astounding careers in public service ever seen in this neck of the woods.
Photo by Taryn Hecker Thonpson.
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