Walker is new chair of Polk county board

Published 11:23 am Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Walker said she is excited about what the new board of commissioners can accomplish together. The new board consists of all Democrats,&bsp; something that hasn&squo;t occurred in Polk County for about 15 years.

Walker thanked the board for the honor and said it was by the example of former chairman of the board Tommy Melton that she is able to stretch far outside her comfort zone and accept chair.

&dquo;You are a gentleman, a teacher and a true leader,&dquo; Walker said to Melton. &dquo;I thank you very much.&dquo;

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Walker won a four-year term in the local election by 65 votes over the second highest vote getter, Ren´e McDermott, who also won a four-year seat. Walker and McDermott were sworn into office Monday night with the other winner, Ray Gasperson, who beat incumbent Ted Owens by six votes last month. Gasperson will have a two-year term.

Walker said a few short words and quickly got to business Monday.

Melton nominated Walker&bsp; for the chair position, saying that it&squo;s been a county tradition to recognize the high voter getter as chairperson.

Watson accepted the vice-chair position, thanked the board for the honor and said the past two years have had its share of ups and downs.

&dquo;This board has a lot of potential and I hope we realize that potential,&dquo; said Watson.

Melton said he campaigned for the three newly elected Democrats and through the election called each &dquo;commissioner&dquo; because he truly felt they could be commissioners.

&dquo;They have earned the spot that they sit in tonight,&dquo; said Melton. &dquo;They will carry Polk County forward without politics.&dquo;

Outgoing Republican commissioners Harry Denton, Ted Owens and Tom Pack left their seats Monday. Melton presented each with a plaque honoring them for their service to the county.