DOWNERS GROVE – One of the Downers Grove Village Council's most visible members participated in his last meeting at the position Aug. 2 before being sworn in to his new, state-level gig.
Commissioner David Olsen, originally elected to the village council in 2013, officially resigned from his position Aug. 3 so he could assume his new role as state representative.
Olsen was appointed to the position after longtime local politician Ron Sandack stepped down abruptly July 24. The former village councilman was officially sworn in Aug. 3 at Downers Grove South High School.
During Olsen's final meeting Aug 2, he and his fellow council members reflected on his service and future.
Mayor Martin Tully:
"I remember maybe five years ago there was a young man who started coming to Coffee With the Council and different meetings and was hanging out there in the audience. And he was always very well dressed – I remember he was always in a suit and tie. And in the back of my head I kept asking 'Who is this guy? Gee, he looks like he's running for something.' I didn't know the half of it.
"Although David has more energy in the tip of his finger than I think I've ever had in my life, even he can't juggle those three positions. ... In a very short time, I have to say, that David has made a huge impact both on this council and in the community, and that impact will not be forgotten."
"David, I don't know if I should congratulate you or give you my condolences, given the condition of Springfield, but it is part of our state and part of our lives that needs attention and needs diligent attention. And I'm convinced that you're going to be able to give it that and I'm excited for you."
"It is a tremendous honor, and I know that you'll continue to serve the public. I've enjoyed serving with you and I know, one way or the other, we'll be talking on Nov. 8."
"I have a great deal of respect for David Olsen. I hate to see him leave, but I'm glad he'll be representing us in the 81st District. ... David has a vocation of public service in a political arena, and he's had that for a long time. He's the type of person who builds bridges, doesn't burn them. He doesn't bite hands, he shakes hands. He is very loyal, he doesn't switch horses at a whim for his own gain."
"I'm sad to see you go and I'm happy for your new position. It's just not going to be the same around here without you. You were meant to do this, and congratulations."
"The word bittersweet really does capture, quite well, the entire experience. ... I think you're going to have very difficult shoes to fill. It's going to be very hard for us to find anybody who will serve this council as well as you had, but on the other hand it would be selfish of us to lobby to keep you here when there might be a better future ahead for you.
"It was only about a month ago when I mentioned to Commissioner Vattimo that out of everyone in this room, you might be the only one who's not embarrassed at the thought of being in politics. That it truly is a vocation. And that's actually admirable, because at one time, to be in public service ... can and should be an admirable thing."
"Serving on the Village Council has been an enormous honor for me personally and for me as a representative of the entire community. Because I think it's worthwhile remembering we are all elected to serve the entire community, not specific segments, but the entire community. This has been an enormous responsibility.
I am very proud of what we've accomplished in the past three-and-a-half years ... But I'm equally as proud of the way we've done it. The way we've established goals and worked towards those goals. We've lead in an open, we've lead in a transparent, and we've lead in an honest fashion. The principals of good government demonstrated here in Downers Grove can serve as a exemplar for other local governments or even the state."