Council Corner: Thank you, Ashland

I want to publicly thank my community for all the support my family and I have received over the nine years have served on the Ashland City Council. At this past council meeting, I formally stepped down. This is not a decision I made lightly.

I have enjoyed my time on the council, serving the community and confronting some major challenges, but my current work not only involves advising clients on how to interact with government bodies, it also requires me to advocate and lobby on their behalf to the state legislature, and in doing so, it is critical that I avoid any conflicts of interest. With the 2018 legislative session starting this week and understanding what work I have in front of me, I don’t believe I will be able to adequately avoid conflicts of interest while serving clients at the level they expect and serving on the City Council in the manner you all deserve. Splitting my time between Salem and Ashland will also leave little time to focus on council business, let alone my family.

This brings me to the second and most important reason for my stepping away. As I stated before, I have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated my time on the council, but it has also come at the expense of spending time with my family.

I have been involved in Ashland politics since 2006. Since my election in 2007, I have attended hundreds of hours of meetings. I have missed many games, performances, birthday celebrations and anniversary dinners. I refuse to miss any more.

When I first ran for office our children were 8, 5 and 2. Our eldest turns 20 this month, will finish college out of state this summer and could be finished with graduate school by the end of my third term. Our middle child is a junior at AHS, where his baseball season will be underway shortly and he could be well into his college experience by 2020. Our youngest is turning 14 in a few weeks. The little girl I held in my arms the night I was elected would be able to drive herself to my final meeting should I decide to stay on the council. My incredibly patient wife, the family CEO who keeps everything running on time and the family together, will have been married to me 23 years at the end of this term. Over half that time I will have been serving on the City Council.

I don’t highlight the above information to elicit pity, only to illustrate what I have been thinking carefully about for the past several months. Serving my community is very important to me, but serving my family must take a higher priority, especially at this stage in their lives. My teenagers should be able to grow up outside the microscope that often finds them when their parent serves in such a position. My eldest should know his dad is available to help if needed and my wife deserves to have her partner by her side as much as possible after so many years of juggling family schedules on her own.

I have said before that I need to be better at prioritizing my time, but have often failed to do it. I am finally trying to live up to that promise to my family the best that I can. My wife and I don’t have much longer to spend with our children before they are out of the house and on their own, so I want to miss as little as possible.

I appreciate all who have supported me and allowed me to serve you these past 9 years. I know I may have made decisions that not all of you have agreed with, but please know I did the best I could, based on what I felt was best for our community. Serving the people of Ashland has been one of the greatest honors of my life. Thank you.

— Greg Lemhouse stepped down Tuesday after nine years as a member of the Ashland City Council.

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