BEMIDJI - Prior to a Red Lake Nation honor ceremony recognizing his appointment as District 4 commissioner, Tim Sumner injected himself into a discussion of the county’s five-year road plan – with a nod to his constituents and a smile.
“Does anyone have any more questions?” County Administrator Kay Mack said prior to the Beltrami County Board’s regular meeting Tuesday.
“I do,” said Sumner, who had spent the previous few minutes looking at a map of road projects provided by County Engineer Bruce Hasbargen. “I’m looking here, and I don’t see too many roads in my district that make the list.”
A smile flashed briefly across his face, and Mack asked another question, bringing up the man Sumner defeated to gain his seat, Quentin Fairbanks.
“Did Quentin coach you to say that?” she said as Sumner and districts 3 and 5 councilmen Richard Anderson and Jim Lucachick laughed.
“The way I prioritize it is by the highest travelled roads down,” Hasbargen said. “And that kind of works against your district.”
Sumner nodded politely, and the board moved on.
It was his first act as a commissioner, despite not having been officially appointed so at the time.
Later, accompanied by burning sage and song, Sumner greeted his new constituents along with family members, some of whom were visibly moved.
He wore a traditional Red Lake Nation honor shirt throughout the ceremony and the meeting, and following oaths to uphold the United States and Minnesota consti-tutions, Sumner took his seat next to Anderson.
Then, it was official.