My second endorsement for school board - and these are in no particular order! - is my good friend Rich Spindler.
I've known Rich for many years, from out and around Eau Claire's vibrant social scene. He's one of those people that you know through friends of friends - you're not exactly sure how you met, but you recognize each other everywhere. The movies, the farmers' market, concerts in the park, holiday parades - Rich has been here pretty much since I started paying attention. Over the course of years, you start talking to each other. You talk about the weather, or the game, or the presidential race.
Rich and I share several interests, including snowshoeing, camping in the Boundary Waters, and quite a bit on the political side. I have a lot of friends who are interested in politics - if you and I hang out together it's going to go into politics at some point. But my sense is that Rich is not simply interested in politics for politics' sake.
I have friends in several camps. There are friends who are angry, and when they see injustice, they rant. They can go all night. And hey, I love to rant. Don't get me wrong - I love reading, writing, and listening to a good rant. Give me your best melt. That's just what happens when those friends and I get together.
I don't always agree with my ranting friends either. Two ranters with opposing viewpoints can get into some great arguments. But you never really get anywhere. If you do, it's on some trivial point, and you're tired of disagreeing. You eventually let bygones be bygones and change the subject.
Rich is not a ranter, at all. There's a basic pragmatism to his approach. Rich will agree (or disagree) with a position, but unlike the ranter, he comes at it with a healthy hesitation. It's not a hesitation of doubt. Rich has conviction, in spades. It's a hesitation borne in Midwestern practicality. He knows what to needs to be done, but he also looks for consensus. If he's going to weigh the impact of a decision, he knows he has a responsibility to maintain empathy with every party being affected.
Rich reminds me of my uncle. If the truck is stuck, and we need to improvise, my uncle will say, "I s'pose a guy could..." and then insert a practical and expedient solution. He says it with a hesitation, because this is a time where healthy debate matters. If you try something that's going to take a lot of hard work, it's a good idea to talk it through so you're all relatively sure about it. Because a guy can be wrong sometimes. He might not think it all out by himself. He wants to get the truck out of the ditch, just like you. He's not pretending he's always got the answer, but this time he thinks he knows. To be safe, he checks things out first, before acting.
Rich Spindler embodies this. I trust Rich's drive. It's not politics on a national scale, although I would guess he has opinions. This is going to be grunt work, on the local scale. What can he do, in his position, to help the school district? Rich is really into the details on policy side. Watching the school board forum was pretty amazing. He's a geek about this, like I'm a geek about the '91 Twins team. I'm not going to fight someone as pragmatic as Rich, with this level of drive, if he wants to get going. He's willing to get after it, for the betterment of the school district. I trust his stewardship, his integrity, his practicality, and his commitment. That's why I'm voting for Rich Spindler on April 2nd: so we can get a guy after it.