A career in public life, now 12 consecutive years, in retrospect grew naturally from life with the Wilsons of Kuskanook.
My father-in-law, Charlie, was the Regional District of Central Kootenay Area A director for 12 years. He was born to do this job, always having a historical perspective and a propensity to discuss his philosophy on any subject.
His wife, Muriel, also was articulate on any subject, and together they held court in their parlour to countless visitors. I was enthralled to be in on these conversations when often, as naturally as breathing, Charlie would outstretch his arm to the right book amply illustrating the point he was making.
Their son, Alan, grew up in this rich environment, where dinner table conversations highlighted political issues of the day. When his father retired from the director position, Alan took up where Charlie left off in the same passionate, often idealistic, manner.
Unknowingly I had become politicized over those 28 years. And when Alan, my husband, passed away at age 52, many thought I would continue the Wilson legacy.
Although I didn’t have the strength at that time to proceed in that direction, I felt surprise that I did not reject the notion as out of the question.
A year later, when a position on the school board came up uncontested, it seemed to me that I was being pointed in the direction of the political arena. Once ensconced on the board, it felt right to have a voice, to help steer debate in the right direction.
I knew my voice was light, even timorous, in those three trustee years.
It was on Creston town council, when elected in 2005 as the only woman councillor, that I came into my own. My colleagues and the mayor offered me the utmost support and I blossomed in that first term.
I soon realized that the same issues of the school district applied to the Town of Creston, and it was the informed discussion around the council table resulted through consensus in the best course of action. This process was fascinating to me, and still is to this day many years later. I still marvel that out of a room full of differing opinions grappling with sometimes difficult issues, that over time and with debate, somehow reason prevails and the appropriate course of action is chosen.
After three terms, a decision had to be made in the fall to run for a fourth term or retire. Looking back, I could see the good things council had done. Looking forward, I felt I still had something to contribute.
And as it became clear that the other councillors may not run for valid reasons of their own, I felt my contribution was continuity, experience and an unwavering vision of Creston as a wonderful place to live, rich in arts, culture and heritage, recreational opportunities and inclusivity.
With a fourth successful election behind me, I am happy once again to be part of a council with much potential to move the town forward to where we want to be. Relatively young new councillors side by side with relatively older councillors, all ready and willing to jump in, roll up their sleeves as a team to participate in the democratic process at the local level.
Local government is where the rubber meets the road, where the will of the people is expressed and interpreted by the council of the day.
It is a heady feeling, when I think of it.
Coun. Joanna Wilson is in her fourth term on Creston’s town council.