Stan Watne has served with distinction

Longtime Wright County supervisor is set to retire at year’s end

Being an elected official at the local level is rarely glamorous. Fortunately, there are public-spirited individuals willing to take on important governmental roles on city councils and boards of supervisors. When done well, these part-time jobs frequently require an enormous commitment of time and energy.

Stan Watne, a farmer who been a member of the Wright County Board of Supervisors for almost a quarter century, is a superb example of how a local officeholder can make an immeasurable contribution to the well-being of a community.

Watne was appointed to the board in June 1993 to fill a vacancy. During the nearly 25 years that have transpired since then, Wright County has had to address a wide array of complicated issues. Watne’s unfailing good judgment and dedication to helping the county succeed in the 21st century have helped it navigate well a time when rural Iowa was transforming.

Early in Watne’s service, making Iowa’s rural economy work better in the challenging years after the farm crisis of the 1980s was a concern all across the Hawkeye State. In Wright County, facilitating the arrival of new businesses in the chicken, egg-laying and hog production industries while not compromising the local quality of life raised issues that were at times quite controversial.

“We needed something to create jobs and get the population back and it has helped because there’s probably 1,000 jobs here related to the livestock industry,” Watne told The Messenger, reflecting on that difficult period.

More recently, he was a strong voice in favor of bringing the $300 million Prestage Foods of Iowa pork processing plant to Wright County. The benefits of that huge corporate investment will be evident in that county and throughout this part of Iowa long into the future.

Watne also has worked diligently with his fellow supervisors to keep key county facilities such as the Wright County Jail, the Wright County Courthouse up-to-date. With them, he has also been unfailing in his concern for the taxpayer. Making county government efficient has been an ongoing priority. County government is a multifaceted undertaking. In discharging his responsibilities, Watne has served on an array of committees. One regional role also merits special note. He currently chairs the nine-county Region V Hazardous Materials Response Commission.

The Messenger congratulates Watne on a public service career that has helped make Wright County a success story. His dedication and wise counsel will be missed as he ends his time as an officeholder. We feel certain, however, that he will be called upon from time to time in the years ahead to share his perspective as the county comes to grip with tomorrow’s challenges.