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EDITORIAL: Post Falls loses official, but not voice

| January 10, 2024 1:00 AM

Sometimes two words cover a lot of ground.

Thank you.

Thank you, Kerri Thoreson, for 16 years of service as an elected official to the community you love. Allegiances can be fleeting things, but long before you started your 16-year Post Falls City Council career, you pledged allegiance as a good and abiding neighbor in the River City. 

As the daughter of a well-known public servant, the late County Commissioner Ron Rankin, you had a front row seat to the ups and downs, the fragrant laurels and the rotten tomatoes that shadow elected officials everywhere. Seeing what you saw and knowing what you knew, you went ahead and ran for office anyway — and served all those years with the worthy goal of maintaining what made Post Falls good while trying to turn shortcomings into strengths.

In The Press article Friday about your council retirement, you said something both wise and magnanimous about experienced leaders moving along: “We have to give others a seat at the table and you can’t complain that no one is stepping up if you never step aside.”

In Post Falls, the two new council members, Samantha Steigleder and Randy Westlund, are in their 30s. While relative youth isn’t a guarantee of effective leadership, council representation of the values and perspectives from that demographic are essential — especially in a city like Post Falls, where the median age is 34.5. 

Kerri also hits the bull’s-eye when she says that city council service is “probably one of the purest forms of elected office … because you’re accountable in ways that people who are more distant from the people they serve are not. Wherever you are, people are going to let you know if they agree or don’t agree with your stand on something.”

While Kerri has cast her last vote as a council member, she continues to pen columns every Wednesday for The Press. Unsurprisingly, her columns reflect the broader neighborhood of Kootenai County on a personal, almost intimate level. 

Those who sign her Press paychecks know she hasn’t been writing local columns since 1990 because of the money. It’s another form of public service, and if you see a theme emerging here, maybe you can take time to thank Kerri, too.