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Democratic chair George resigns

by Tom Hasslinger
| December 9, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Kootenai County Democratic Central Committee Chair Thom George resigned Monday.

George has been chair of the committee for two and half years, and is planning to move to Bellevue, Wash., in the fall. In the summer, his wife took a job in Bellevue, and George plans to join her after their son finishes his senior year in high school.

"It's been great to be involved in the local political scene," George said. "I wish more of our citizens took an interest in politics rather than just election night every couple of years, but it's just time to move on."

At its Monday night meeting, Paula Neils was unanimously elected to fill the position.

"I feel like my strength is working behind the scenes, I'm not used to having a more public position," Neils said. "Thom George and (former chair) Bev Moss, they set very good examples for me. I hope I can live up to their examples."

Neils, working with the committee since 2006, lives in Hauser. She became involved in politics after retiring from the Idaho Youth Ranch to make a difference in lives "at the most basic level," she said.

George will retain his position as a precinct committeeman in the meantime. He has been with the committee since 2006, the last two-plus years as its chair. He announced in September he was planning to resign from the post.

"It's just been a ton of running around," he said about traveling between Coeur d'Alene and western Washington since the summer. "It was just one more responsibility I didn't need."

George, born and raised in New York City, said his family plans to keep their Coeur d'Alene home, and will visit the area throughout the year. They will eventually retire in North Idaho.

He doesn't know yet if he'll be involved in politics in Washington. George is a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, and will look at firms in the Seattle area.

George said he was concerned about the state of the Democratic party after the November election which saw big defeats, especially across Idaho. A one-party system can lead to "a lack of ideas" he said, but the local committee is being left in good hands with the election of Neils.

"She works incredibly hard and she's incredibly smart," George said. "She's going to be great for the party."

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