On June 11, I submitted my resignation from the Anoka County Board of Commissioners as I assumed a new role with the county as county administrator on June 12.
It was a bittersweet moment. As I typed up the memo to my fellow board members, I found myself becoming a little emotional as tears welled up in my eyes as I paused before hitting the send button on my email.
Serving on the county board has been an incredible journey and an honor of a lifetime. My mind quickly flashed back to my decision to first run for the county board back in 2002. I had no idea how to run a campaign and honestly was probably a little naive. Getting the courage to knock on the doors of complete strangers took time, as I was shy and downright scared. But I found you, the residents were friendly and engaged in conversation. I spent all day, every day, (except Sunday) knocking on doors and looked forward to getting out and meeting the many residents of the district. Truly by the Grace of God, I won that first election through incredible support of the residents throughout the various communities and because of the unwavering support of my family and friends.
Those early years were a little rough serving on the board, as controversial issues that would impact our local communities emerged and I often felt alone as I took on some of those battles. What kept me going was the support and encouragement of you, my constituents, and my incredibly supportive family.
Throughout the years, many of you who were once strangers, have become my friends. I have laughed with you, celebrated with you, shed tears with you and mourned losses of friends and neighbors.
My children, who were in elementary school when I began as county commissioner, are now grown and have graduated from college. Our son is working, and our daughter is in her master’s program and is now married. When I began, my husband was working two jobs, has since retired and is now back working part-time in retirement. When one serves in elected office, the family serves as well. I want to thank my family for their patience, love, support, encouragement and prayers throughout these many years.
Finally, I want to thank you, the citizens of Anoka County Commissioner District 6 (Centerville, Circle Pines, Columbus, Lexington, Lino Lakes, Linwood Township, and parts of Blaine), for giving me the privilege and honor of representing you for the past 16 ½ years. Each day I was humbled knowing that you entrusted me with your precious vote – putting your faith and trust in me to make the best decisions possible on your behalf. To you, I am eternally grateful.
Although I will no longer be your county commissioner, I look forward to continuing to serve in my new role as county administrator carrying out our mission of serving citizens in a respectful, innovative and fiscally responsible manner.
Rhonda Sivarajah is the Anoka County Administrator.