(Posted Dec. 20, 2018)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
When Dec. 31 rolls around, David Dhume will hang up his hat as Madison County commissioner, a hat he has worn for the past 22 years.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be county commissioner,” he said. “It’s been a gift, and I have tried to respond in a way to serve the community justly.”
The London resident got his start in politics as a Somerford Township trustee, a position he held for 10 years before his time at the courthouse. He also served on the Madison Soil and Water Conservation Board and on the county planning commission.
“All this stuff perks your interest and makes you think of the things you could do with your life,” he said of what inspired him to seek election to county office.
Dhume ran for commissioner in 1996, losing to incumbent Joe Yoder by 240 votes. Later that year, Commissioner Bob Edwards retired mid-term. The Republican Central Committee appointed Dhume to the seat, in more ways than one.
Dhume inherited Edwards’s actual seat, a brownish, high-backed office chair on wheels. He has used it throughout his five-and-a-half terms, never switching it for one of the others in the office or for a new one. Many memories are associated with that chair, he said.
“We used to play tricks on each other,” Dhume recalls of his time in office with fellow commissioners Edwards and Herb Markley. “Herb would put thumbtacks on my chair, and I would wrap his chair full of rubberbands.”
Comic relief aside, Dhume has taken seriously the decisions he has made from that chair, from upholding the county’s comprehensive land use plan with its emphasis on agricultural preservation to boosting resources for residents in need.
He is especially proud of the work of the county’s Family and Children First Council.
“It has grown immensely in 20 years, expanding services and reducing redundancy. There is great involvement in the council from so many people,” he said. “It makes me feel good that we can bring these added services into the county for people who need help.”
Looking back over his time in office, Dhume said it took him a while to fully understand his role as commissioner. He said he came to realize it is more than representing the voters and constituents.
“It’s giving direction. It’s showing leadership. It’s standing up for values in your community,” he said.
Dhume believes his successor, Dr. Tony Xenikis, will make an excellent commissioner. Xenikis has been attending commissioner meetings for the past three months and will take office in January.
“He’s intent on listening and has a keen interest in the job in front of him,” Dhume said. “He wants to do what’s right for Madison County; you can just feel it. He is a logical thinker, he has common sense, and he has a big heart.”
Dhume thanked his family, including his wife, Joann, and children Bryan and Erin, for supporting him throughout his time in office.
“It’s important for any elected person to have family support. Your family has to be willing to share you with the rest of the community. It does take up a lot of time,” he said.
With his tenure as commissioner coming to an end, Dhume said he looks forward to having more time to spend with family. He also plans to carve out some time to serve the community in new ways.
“I’m not done yet,” he said.