The Board of Supervisors voted 25-2 against a resolution that would declare Barron County to be a “constitutional county” at its July 20 meeting. Supervisors Bill Effertz and Steve Johnson were for it, and Supervisors Pam Fall and Don Horstman were absent.
Before the board’s discussion and vote, resident Susan Brooks of Almena reminded the supervisors that they had already taken an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and said there would be “great confusion among citizens of the county if supervisors felt the need to make a statement on something they have already sworn to uphold.”
Former county supervisor Keith Hardie said there is more to the U.S. Constitution than the first two amendments, including lots of checks and balances assuring legislators do their jobs correctly. He urged the supervisors not to pass the resolution.
In a discussion by the supervisors before the vote, Chairman Louie Okey said he has had several calls on why the County Board is taking up a national issue. He explained that the request, with 4,011 signatures of county residents, was respectfully submitted and the board was asked to take action on it.
“They were respectful and followed the procedures,” Okey said.
Supervisor Terry Lee said he if they pass it, they are doing what the Constitution says they cannot do. He said the county has neither the right nor authority to change nor amend what they have already sworn to uphold.
Supervisor Bob Rogers noted if the County Board starts “playing games with the Constitution,” it has an excellent Corporation Counsel to advise them and set them straight. “I urge my compatriots to vote no,” he said.
Supervisor Gary Taxdahl wondered why it was presented to the County Board in the first place. “I wish someone would have been here, or those who signed the petition,” he commented. “It’d be nice to hear the argument to pass it from those who petitioned it.”
Supervisor Bill Schradle said, “I’m a strict constitutionalist, and I’m very much opposed to it.”