Wherever he’s gone, City Councilor Eric Newnham has always been an advocate for Beloit.
That was the testament given by City Council President Kevin Leavy during Monday night’s meeting, which was Newnham’s last as a sitting council member.
After first being elected in 2008 and serving two terms, Newnham — a native Beloiter, former small business owner and an ardent enthusiast for his hometown — decided against running in this spring’s race. Tonight, new member Chuck Kincaid will be sworn in and the council will select a new president and vice president.
Though Newnham’s councilor status may be over, his active interest in the city’s governance will surely not fade, several fellow councilors said Monday night.
“Eric taught me about the history of Beloit and how the city council works,” said first-term member Mark Spreitzer.
Before joining the council, Newnham regularly spoke during meetings as a member of the public. The tradition is sure to continue, he and other councilors said.
“It has been one of the greatest opportunities of my life,” Newnham said, accepting a commemorative plaque. “I’ve been here to represent (the public) with every vote. Thank you. I’ll cherish it always.”
Councilor Sheila De Forest said it’s been a “great honor to have served with councilor Newnham,” who on tough issues, has “not been afraid to dissent.”
When the city council approved the 2012 budget, Newnham was the lone member to vote against it.
Councilor Charles Haynes said, “your influence will be missed.”