Thursday, November 4, 2010

LDS Candidate Tom Engstrom Drops Out Of Lakeport California City Council Race To Become A Stake President, But Elected Anyway

Tom Engstrom - President of the Ukiah California Stake and now a member of the Lakeport City Council
A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who dropped out of the city council race in Lakeport, California earlier this year to accept a calling as stake president has been elected to the Lakeport City Council nonetheless.

Tom Engstrom, a former police chief in Lakeport, finished second in a field of seven candidates, earning 380 votes or 18.2 percent of the total. The top two finishers each get seated on the city council. In response, Engstrom has agreed to accept the voters' judgment and will serve on the city council. "It is with deep humility that I acknowledge the will of the voters of Lakeport and accept a seat on the Lakeport City Council," Engstrom said in a statement on Wednesday November 3rd. "I appreciate your faith and trust in me, given my other commitments. I pledge that I will serve you to the best of my ability. Your support, input and prayers are greatly appreciated." Both city and state officials confirmed that Engstrom could still legally accept the seat, even though he had dropped out. Engstrom previously stated that his top priority would be the budget; he's also interested in crafting a five-year plan for local road maintenance.

Engstrom was a serious candidate who even launched a campaign website (now inactivated) and Facebook page. But in August 2010, he was extended a call to serve as the stake president for the Ukiah California Stake, which encompasses nine different wards in the area. On August 22nd, he accepted the calling, then announced his exit from the race because he feared the nine-year unpaid Church calling would require so many hours and so much travel to fulfill that he could not optimally tend to his political constituents' needs. But because the August 11th filing deadline had long passed, his name could not be removed from the ballot. The bulk of his stake president duties will be accomplished on weekends, when the city council does not meet.

Nevertheless, the voters decided he could do both jobs because of his reputation as an outstanding citizen. Pam Hinman said she's Engstrom's neighbor and has known him since he moved to Lakeport. "I think he would make a wonderful councilman," she said. Hinman thinks Engstrom is fair and a generally nice person, she said. As police chief, he had to make a lot of hard decisions, which Hinman thinks would help him. "He's fair to both sides," she said. "I think he's a good mediator and negotiator."

The 62-year-old Engstrom, who is married with seven children, earned a bachelor's degree from University of San Francisco in public administration and graduated from the FBI National Academy on police management. He moved to Lakeport in 1994 to become the Lakeport chief of police. He retired in 2005 after 37 years in law enforcement.

No comments: