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Guinn names Douglas commissioner

by Joey Crandall

Gov. Kenny Guinn on Wednesday named Jim Baushke to the Douglas County Commission.

“It was quite a revelation that I got picked,” Baushke said. “I didn’t really expect it because there were 12 other good candidates at one time, including people that have lived here much longer than myself.”

Baushke’s appointment fills the District 1 (Gardnerville Ranchos) seat vacated in December by Steve Weissinger, who stepped down after serving an eight-day jail term for embezzlement from his former employer.

“Jim will serve Douglas County with distinction,” Guinn said. “His willingness to represent the people of Douglas County is just another step in his long record of public service.”

Baushke will be sworn in and participate at his first county meeting Jan. 22 at Stateline.

“I’ve got a lot of learning to do, catching up on what the current issues are,” Baushke said. “It’s an opportunity to be of service to the county and help. That’s what I’m really looking to do.”

Baushke retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1985 with the rank of colonel after serving 24 years. After his retirement, he worked as a civil engineer in business development and design and in high-tech facilities for aerospace and governmental clients.

He holds a commercial pilot’s certificate and serves on the Civil Air Patrol which contributes to search and rescue efforts.

His fellow commissioners were quick to welcome him on board.

“I looked at the list of that final eight and I felt that we couldn’t lose with any of them quite frankly,” said Commissioner Tim Smith. “I’m looking forward to working with Jim and I know I could’ve worked with any of them.”

Commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen said he hadn’t met Baushke yet but was impressed with his qualifications.

“Obviously his resume is nothing short of stellar,” Etchegoyhen said. “I suspect he will more than measure up . .. Very impressive. Exactly what Douglas County residents are looking for.”

Commissioner Bernie Curtis said he was glad to have a full board functioning again.

“I’d like to thank Gov. Guinn and his staff for pursuing and resolving this issue very quickly,” Curtis said. “I had a good conversation with him (Baushke) this morning and I look forward to working with him.”

John Garvin, of the Sustainable Growth Initiative group, said he is pleased with the selection.

“We think Jim is an independent thinker,” Garvin said. “He will listen to the people. He is for managed, controlled growth, although maybe not in the fashion that we are.”

“The sooner we take care of serious issues in the county, the better off we are going to be,” Baushke said. “The longer you let them fester, the bigger the problems become.

“The one thing I would hate to see happen is a continued willy-nilly approval of things to where in 20 years we end up looking like Van Nuys or Burbank, Calif.

“We’ve got to try to do something to avoid that situation but allow a good business and economic environment so that people here can raise children here, earn a good living and have a good life.”

Weissinger resigned from the commission in December after pleading no contest to charges of embezzlement from his former employer, Raley’s supermarket at South Lake Tahoe.

“I think it is just a kind of literal new day,” Etchegoyhen said. “What’s happened in the past is behind us. This is kind of the beginning of looking ahead.”

Contact Joey Crandall at jcrandall@recordcourier.com or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.