Sacramento thanks you, Roger Dickinson

Jeff vonKaenel

Whenever I meet elected officials at a social function during election time, we both ask how the other one is doing. Usually, we are both fine. But, then, I am not running for office. I definitely prefer being the newspaper publisher rather than the elected official. I particularly prefer it during the election season.

And then comes the day after the election.

My life doesn’t change much. There will be some new elected officials that I will see more. And there will be some unelected that I will see less. This column is to thank Roger Dickinson.

First, I would like to say a few words about public officials in general. I find most very likable. They tend to be smart and hardworking. They care deeply about their community. They do tend to have egos larger than the mean. But most importantly, they have a certain passion for life. After all, without this passion, they could never survive as public officials.

When I go to hearings or meetings, I am so thankful that I can walk out at any time. And that I do not have to pretend to be interested in some of the most boring and trivial discussions you can imagine. Generally speaking, we have excellent and dedicated elected officials, who deserve our gratitude and appreciation.

Our community owes thanks to Sacramento City Council members Steve Cohn, who served 20 years, and Darrell Fong, who served four years, for their service. They worked very hard to make our region a better place. And, in my opinion, Darrell Steinberg, who has just recently termed out, is our best elected state official.

But this column is about Roger. We started SN&R in the spring of 1989. And Roger started on the Sacramento Board of Supervisors in January of 1994. He was then elected to the State Assembly in 2010. And he just lost his bid for the state Senate to fellow Democrat Assemblyman Richard Pan.

What impressed me about Roger was his willingness to be so hands-on; he showed up at so many events, met with new groups all the time, and worked hard to learn as much as he could about what was happening in his district. He was involved in the nuts and bolts of so many different issues, including economic development, the public safety net and the environment. It was this combination of being involved in the district at the grassroots level, while at the same time understanding the political and economic forces impacting the region, that made him such an effective legislator.

And he also was interested in issues that do not gather much attention or political donations, such as reducing high school kids’ expulsion rate or building low-income housing.

Over the last 20 years, Roger has made a real difference to our region. We owe him our gratitude.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.