After 10 years as an employee of the Blaine County Sheriff's Department and three terms on the Bellevue City Council, Tammy Eaton is preparing for a new challenge.
Eaton, an 11-year resident of the Wood River Valley, has set her sights on what she says is the next logical step for her: a seat on the three-member Blaine County Commission.
Eaton hopes county residents will vote to place her on the Blaine County Commission's south county seat, which is currently occupied by Dennis Wright. The seat will be up for election in November 2006.
Eaton's last day with the Sheriff's Department, where she was employed in the position of civil administrator, was Friday, Oct. 28.
If Eaton is successful in her bid to be elected to the Blaine County Commission, she would also have to resign from her position on the Bellevue City Council before taking a seat on the commission in January 2007.
To the Blaine County Commission, Eaton said she would bring hands-on experience gained during her years on the Bellevue City Council, as well as a "tenacious personality."
Making sure growth in Blaine County is sustainable and ensuring that it doesn't negatively impact county services are a few of the key issues she would like to address, Eaton said.
Specifically, she said the county needs to ensure that it can continue to provide emergency services like fire, ambulance and police.
"I think we need to take a hard look at what we're providing our citizens," Eaton said.
Projections for Blaine County's future indicate a much larger population will inhabit the area, she said. Properly addressing that growth and the associated issues it highlights will take strong, visionary leaders, Eaton said.
"I consider myself that," she said.
As a child growing up in Fall River, Mass., Eaton said she gained a unique perspective on growth and how it shapes a community. Although not taking anything away from that community, she said Blaine County's future is not like that of Fall River, which according to 2000 U.S. Census figures has a current population of 91,938 people in an area of only 34 square miles.
She said Blaine County has its own specific destiny.
"It's not fulfilled by turning into a large, urban city," Eaton said.
Pursuing a seat on the Blaine County Commission isn't the only reason Eaton decided to quit her job at the Sheriff's Department.
The other reason has to do with a certain 8-year-old Bellevue Elementary School student.
"I want to have a more flexible schedule to spend time with my daughter," she said.