Endorsements: Aiani, Madaras, Powers for Itasca village board
In the past, Itasca occasionally has had trouble finding enough candidates to fill all the open seats on its village board at election time. This year, the village finds itself awash in seven candidates for three open positions.
What's driving this sudden interest in community service? Likely two major development proposals -- an effort by Haymarket Center to open an addiction treatment facility and a proposal to build a data center at the current site of the Itasca Country Club.
Both are serious and complex issues and seem likely to dominate government attention for months if not years. And, although more controversial than other proposals, they fit into a narrative of managing long-term economic development that is an important issue in this race -- so important to the village, and the dynamics so varied and complex, that leadership experience and collaborative spirit are key qualities voters should seek in the candidates they select.
By that yardstick, the candidates to choose are incumbents Jeffrey T. Aiani and Frank Madaras and newcomer Patrick Powers.
The "newcomer" label is accurate for Powers in this role, but the candidate also has eight years service as a school board member under his belt, and among all the candidates he seems best at approaching issues with thoughtful reserve and independent authority. Aiani and Madaras both boast long years of experience on the board -- Madaras since 2009, Aiani as far back as 1993 -- and both clearly still have the fire to take on tough issues while helping build for the future.
The remaining candidates have individual strengths -- Eric J. Swets is a current planning commissioner, Jennifer Troutman's communications background could be helpful, college student Joshua Beauchamp brings youthful energy and enthusiasm to the picture and Dustin Sneath is an I.T. supervisor whose ability to speak knowledgeably on the issues stands out.
But what Itasca needs most right now is an unfailing vision for the future and a strength of judgment tempered by diverse and direct experience with local government. We find the best combination to meet that need to be Powers, Aiani and Madaras, and they are endorsed.