Shook earned admiration for work on board

Dec. 09, 2012 @ 05:03 AM

Through six years on the Lee County Board of Commissioners, Linda Shook's consistency and commitment to her beliefs was admired by her colleagues and friends.

Shook announced her resignation this week, citing a job-related move to Nevada with her husband. She served on the board as a Republican, two years as chairman of the board, and, according to her fellow commissioners, she'll be sorely missed.

"She has become a personal friend," said Lee County Commissioner Charlie Parks. "She has been strong these six years, sometimes the lone voice of conservatism on the board."

She has served as a mentor, friend and guide for himself and other commissioners, Parks said, and Shook was known for her doing her homework on the issues.

Commissioner Jim Womack wouldn't have sought office in 2010 if it wasn't for Shook calling him and asking him to get involved, he said.

"It breaks my heart," he said. "She has been a great friend."

Shook worked in a consulting business before entering the political fray and it was the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, that "forced her to do a 180," she said.

"I jumped right in," Shook said. "I focused on federal issues and began writing letters to the editors about different national issues. I wasn't involved in the Republican Party but they saw my letters and invited me to their meetings."

Shook said she was asked to run in 2006 and focused on educating herself on local issues and making sure she could explain her positions.

"I was the lone vote on a few things," Shook said. "I was comfortable in my skin and had a thick skin. It was not pure ideology, I made sure I could explain my reasoning."

Long-time Commissioner Robert Reives, who served all six years with Shook, said he didn't always agree with her, but she earned the right to serve the board based on her convictions.

"I think the county will suffer a loss," he said. "People who serve should be upfront and honest with the courage to stand their ground. She has been that trooper."

Lee County Manager John Crumpton said as a board member and chairman, he always knew where Shook stood on an issue and what direction she wanted to go.

"She was a big supporter of the staff and the employees and always handled herself well," Crumpton said. "She was on the board when a majority didn't share her opinion, but she did a good job communicating and then leaving the issues in the board room."

Shortly before leaving, Shook said she will miss her friends at the county, in the local GOP and the Sunday morning sermons at Turner's Chapel.

Shook served as chairman of the local GOP and was an excellent leader according to current Republican Party Chairman Charles Staley.

"Linda taught me a lot," he said. "I was vice chairman when she was chairwoman and I watched what she did and tried to follow in her footsteps. She will be sorely missed."

The Rev. Bruce MacInnes, of Turner's Chapel, said he enjoyed getting to know Shook on Sunday and the congregation will miss her.

"In the community I saw the kind of stance she consistently took, sometimes in the minority," MacInnes said. "I admired her for that and then when she began to come to church I noticed right way she had made a commitment."

Shook's resignation is effective Monday, and the Republican Party is responsible for finding a replacement from the third district.