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In 2002, Mike Wheeler entered the race for Los Alamos County Council without any glowing aspirations or huge ambitions.
Wheeler’s career as a councilor may have had a modest beginning, but as it draws to a close, this career holds great significance for him.
Wheeler said he became involved in the 2002 elections as result of being active in the Democratic Party. The chairman called to ask if he would consider running because he thought Wheeler would be “electable.”
Wheeler said he agreed, but once a “real” candidate appeared he wanted to be dropped. When no other candidate showed up, Wheeler seized the responsibility.
He may have initially been reluctant, but Wheeler said he campaigned hard. He said early voting and absentee voting results looked grim but he won the votes on Election Day. “I squeaked out a win,” Wheeler said.
One of his motivations for running for public office was his father-in-law, Bob Thorn, who was acting director and deputy director at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Wheeler said, “I admired him a great deal.”
Besides working at the laboratory, Thorn served on one of the county’s early commissions. Wheeler said Thorn told him the most rewarding job he had was serving on that commission.
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