Thanks, Mike, for 32 years of public service
There aren’t many politicians who are as good with a wrench as they are with a gavel. But then again, Mike Forsman isn’t just any politician. And after 32 years of public service for Ely and St. Louis County, he’s turning in his gavel.
Mike’s political career started on the Ely city council and ended on the St. Louis County Board. He was a hard campaigner, never lost an election and didn’t mind if he ruffled feathers along the way. Mike wasn’t one to have people guessing how he felt on an issue.
And he had a sense of humor. In a mayoral election in Ely, Mike finished in a tie, even after a recount. His proposed solution to break the tie: an ice fishing contest.
His approach on political issues mirrored his approach to fixing cars: find the problem and then work to solve it. If you ever brought Mike a problem with the county, he would listen and then pick up the phone to call whichever county employee he thought could help. The action was immediate and often resolved on the spot.
Forsman’s political views aligned with the DFL and he listed Rep. Jim Oberstar and John F. Kennedy as two of his heroes recently. His views on the BWCA were Ely-based and at one point he drew an editorial cartoon depicting the area as the “King’s Forest.”
Our dealings with Forsman, from council member to mayor to commissioner, were positive. He was always willing to talk about an issue, sometimes both on and off the record, but when you hung up the phone you knew where Mike stood.
We’ve got plenty of politicians in this country who aren’t anywhere near the caliber of Mike Forsman. We’re just glad he stepped up and represented us so well for so many years.