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Editorial: Dedication to public service not forgotten

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TED Ogle “walked the walk” when it came to getting involved. In an era when so many Americans shy away from taking part in politics and governance, the lifelong Republican — who died Sunday — was an outspoken advocate for not only participating but leading.

Politics was a mission for the Bartholomew County native dating to his youth, when he served as a sheriff on the election board in Precinct 7-East. He steadily rose through the ranks of the local Republican Party, serving several years as a precinct committeeman before becoming county chairman and eventually head of the 6th District wing of the party.

He did not content himself with behind-the-scenes roles. He served four terms as a member of Columbus City Council and unsuccessfully sought election as the state representative from Indiana’s 59th District.

His involvement was not limited to the political arena. He was a longtime member of the Columbus Rotary Club and served as its president.

Although he spent countless hours in public service, it was on a mostly voluntary basis, with little or no remuneration. That, in essence, is the spirit of involvement

There was a time when being chairman of the county and district branches of a party could bring great influence and a significant measure of personal reward to an individual. In the old days of patronage politics in Indiana, the county chairman of the party in power could hand out government jobs as a form of reward to faithful workers and control significant offices, such as local license branches.

The death of the patronage system several decades ago brought an end to that kind of individual aggrandizement. Today a party chairmanship offers few personal rewards and actually leads to massive headaches caused by disgruntled party members who expect their leaders to produce victories across the board, regardless of the circumstances.

Certainly, his salary as a 16-year member of the City Council was not commensurate with the hours he devoted to city business.

Ogle was 60 years old when he died, and almost 40 years of that life were dedicated to getting involved. There were many times along the way that he could have shrugged off that service and used the time spent in that pursuit for far more profitable activities.

He didn’t, and his continued dedication to public service should be used as a model for others to follow.

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