This week, a good friend wanted to share some of his thoughts. I did not ask him to write this, but I appreciate the time and thought he put in to his comments. This week, a friends perspective:
Why Mike Eeten for Sheriff?
This is a question I have been asked numerous times over the past year so I thought I would take some time to write it out so everyone knows why I am so enthusiastic about Mike’s run for sheriff and why I absolutely think Mike is the best man for the job.
Let’s first talk about who Mike is as a person because that is the foundation on which everything else is built. I have known Mike for about 15 years throughout those years I have know Mike as a friend, co-worker, a business owner, and a great dad to his 3 boys. I have known Mike to be caring and compassionate to everyone he meets even though sometimes I questioned why he would be so nice to people who tried to tear him down. Mike would just smile and say, “Maybe they are just having a bad day.”
Mike as a co-worker: When Chief Dodwell was hired in 2006 by the Tremont Village Board, he was hired because our department was in desperate need of new leadership and change. Mike Eeten was 1 of the first part time officers we hired to help change the image of our department. As a co-worker, Mike has always been the guy you could count on to do what was right even if it meant going against what the majority thought should be done.
Mike as a leader: First of all lets define a leader. Simon Sinek one of the greatest motivational speakers says “There are leaders and those who lead: leaders hold a position of power or authority over us but those who lead inspire us.” As a person who has known Mike for the past 15 years as a friend, co-worker, and a business owner, I can tell you without a doubt Mike falls into the person who leads because he inspires. Mike was a business owner for 16 years before he decided to follow his passion to be in law enforcement. During his time as a business owner, Mike was responsible for managing day to day operations, negotiating union contracts and budgeting.
There is one final piece of Mike’s leadership I would like to point out before I close. When Mike came to me in December of 2016 and told me he intended to run for sheriff I was taken back, not because I didn’t think Mike would make a great sheriff but because I knew that was a big task ahead of him. I asked Mike if he knew what he was doing. Mike assured me he had thought about it in detail meeting with various business people and groups to gain support. Mike also showed me his website, Facebook page and business cards he already had ready for his announcement later that week. Mike then told me “I didn’t just wake up this morning and decide I wanted to run for sheriff.” Later on that week Mike made the public announcement that he intended to run for Tazewell County Sheriff. Mike didn’t wait for someone to “give him permission” or “decide if they were going to run.” Mike Eeten knew there was a need for a change in leadership at the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office and he stood up and said “send me”. That’s a leader.
In closing I will say I have traveled all over Tazewell County with Mike meeting people from all walks of life but the story I remember the most was at the Hopedale 4th of July Parade. Mike was shaking hands along the parade route and came up to a man who asked Mike if he was a Democrat or Republican. Mike told him he was a Republican and the man refused to shake his hand. Mike being Mike responded in the calmest voice and said “That’s ok, sir. I’ll still be a good sheriff for you, too!” You see that’s what we need. Someone who will work hard for someone even though they may not be in the same party or have the same beliefs as we do! With that being said I ask that you would join me in supporting and voting for Mike Eeten in the Republican primary on March 20th 2018 to be the next Tazewell County Sheriff.
I have always been very protective of my three young boys through this campaign. I have made a point not to plaster them all over social media in order to protect them from the nasty side of politics. However, they have been asking to write something, so this week my blog is from them. My boys have enjoyed being in parades, going to campaign meetings, and coming up with ideas to try and help their dad. My middle son Isaiah (11) loves to do stand up comedy and wants to do a stand up act to raise money for his dad’s campaign. They always want to be involved so this week, they wrote their thoughts unprompted or unscripted so that you can hear their thoughts about their dad running for Sheriff.
Seth (age 13):
“I love my dad because he supports us and loves us. We have lots of fun together and we usually watch AFV (America’s Funniest Home Videos) and play skylanders together. He would be a perfect Sheriff because he puts others in front of him. He always is kind and has a smile on his face. We had lots of fun together in the parades. I remember we got our new house we live in right now and spend time together and still do. He supports me when I run cross country. I also got a great time of 13:41. One of the meets I remember we brought the dogs and dad cheered me on at that meet. I got 14:30 and improved by a minute and 10 seconds at my final meet this year. Our dad is so funny and makes us laugh. Cutting down our Christmas tree was fun and decorating too. I also love Courtney and she is so kind and loving. We run together and is so fun. I want my dad to be Sheriff because he loves people, puts others in front of him, and never gives up.”
Isaiah (Age 11):
“My name is Isaiah Eeten, and I am Mike Eeten’s son. I am a stand-up comedian, and I play the baritone and love to spend time with my dad. It was a cold December when I learned that my dad was running for sheriff. December had always been an exciting time for me, because of my birthday and Christmas, and now it was even more exciting. I’ve been in lots of parades with my dad, and I think it’s fun to go with him and pass out candy. I like to play video games with my dad, and I also like to have late-night parties with him. I think he would be a great sheriff, because he is a great dad!”
Jonah: (Age 10):
“It was December of 2016, that was when I figured out that my Dad was running for sheriff. My name is Jonah Eeten, I am in fifth grade, I have had a lot of fun walking in parades and supporting my Dad. I love our dogs and all of our family. Me, my two brothers, daddy and Courtney have a fun time doing things and if my dad is sheriff, we can do more! I love going and helping dad with his campaign.
I like to go to the court house with Courtney. And near there is where the sheriff works. And that means if daddy were there then I could say hi and have fun there too.
Another fun thing is to play Skylanders with him. When he is sheriff, we can have more fun with him playing with him. My dad is very cool and I think he is awesome. He is proud of me, so I am proud of him.”
I am so proud of these three boys. I must admit I am not at all good at video games mainly because there are too many buttons and it makes me dizzy. However, the time I have with them is priceless. This campaign has been an opportunity for me to share with them how to work hard, fight for what you believe in, but also be kind, compassionate, and always do the right thing. We have learned to pray for my opponent and pray that God would bless our campaign. I am certainly not perfect or without faults, but I believe that my job as a father is to encourage, teach, and love my children and encourage them to love God, people, and their Country. My prayer for my kids is that they will grow up with these strong values, and will commit their lives to serving others.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog each week. I am overwhelmed by the support that I have received since I started this campaign. Thank you for your support and for believing in me!
I grew up in East Peoria. The Festival of Lights began when I was a young boy. (around 8 years old I believe) We lived on Springfield Road and everyone on our road decorated their house with Christmas lights. I LOVED Christmas lights. My dad told me about the new festival and asked me to go with him to buy lights for the house. I could not have been more excited. We lit the bushes in front of the house and even put some chasing lights (they were cool at the time) on the house. I would sit outside for a long time just staring at the lights. The next year I insisted that we add more. We added lights up the drive on stakes and as you can imagine, my dad had to think to himself “I created a monster!” This was a great bonding experience for my Dad and I!
One day while my dad was at work, I wanted to REALLY impress him as well as everyone who drove by with an addition of lights that would surely get his attention! I decided to cover the entire roof with lights. Well…..my dad had just put on a brand new roof so I knew he would not mind if I got on top of the two story house and put lights up right? I was not sure how to secure the lights on the roof so I did what made the most sense to me. I took a can of nails and a hammer and proceeded to drive buckets of nails in to the brand new roof that was just put on to fasten the lights to. I got it all done and fired them all up…and they all worked! I was not finished though! I needed one final touch. I wanted to put a lit cross up and thought this beautiful tree in the front yard would work. I grabbed a 3 inch nail and pounded that thing directly to the tree. I was so proud and waited for Dad to get home. As he pulled in the drive, the 1979 Pontiac Bonneville came to a stop. I could see my dads eyes which were as big a saucers. I could not stand the excitement…I knew he must be happy. As my soft spoken, gently, and very loving father got out of the car, it almost appeared as if he was shaking. He would not speak. Finally he broke the silence by asking “Is that a nail in my tree?” then he looked at the roof and nervously asked “How did you get those lights on the roof?” I told him that I found a bucket of nails and pounded them in the roof. My mom who had been in the basement, was unaware of my nail usage and came outside. I thought my dad was going to cry as he said “Michael, I can’t believe you just put all of those nails in my brand new roof!” Mom tried to encourage my creative design while trying to keep my dad from passing out. My dad loves to tease me today about that and talk about how many nails I drove in to the roof, and how he had to have a roofing company come out and fix all of the holes.
From a young age, I was always messing with lights and sound systems. I loved to wire things, take them a part and put them back together. My parents were always so supportive and encouraging to me. They always told me that I could do anything if I set my mind and heart to it. My parents gave me a bible verse to claim through my life. I see it as my life verse. It is from Phillippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength.” I worked hard and started working mowing yards and doing odd jobs when I was 13. I started buying sound systems and doing work for Tremont High School for the school plays and the Turkey Festival Pageant when I was in high school. As I continued, I started my first full scale production company that would take me all around the country doing sound, lighting, and video production for professional musicians and corporations.
Now that I am a husband and a father, I work hard every day to be the man that my father was and still is to me. A kind, tender hearted guy who believes in always doing the right thing even when at times can cost so much. My dad never claimed to be perfect, but knew how to say I’m sorry, and was never afraid to tell his wife and kids that he loved them. My dad always took the high road even when he felt like he was wronged. My dad could have easily lit into me, yelled at me, called me names, or made me feel stupid. Instead, he encouraged me to keep going and never give up! I strive every day to live by that example.
…kind, caring, compassionate, honest, handsome, Mike.
Hi blog readers! I’ve taken over the blog this week to tell you a little bit about Mike from my perspective and to also introduce myself to you. I’m Courtney, Mike’s wife, whom he affectionately refers to as his better half. But to be honest with you, he’s really my better half.
So a little background on me…I was born and raised in Pekin by two pretty amazing people, my parents. I graduated from DePaul University in Chicago and yes, I’m a Cubs fan, and yes, I have been one my whole life, thanks to my father! As a child, I looked up to my dad, I thought he was the greatest man ever, and I still do! He really knew how to enjoy life and I wanted to be just like him. He loved his family and he loved the community. He passed away in 2002, when I was 22 years old, to an aggressive form of brain cancer. It was at his funeral that I found out that each year he had chosen a family in the community and anonymously sent them money so that they could afford Christmas for their families. He cared about people and he made a difference in their lives, because he was blessed, he blessed others. His death was a turning point for me in my life. I struggled. I was hurting. And I was mad. I even began to lose my faith. It took me a few years to get through my pain and although I miss him every day, I know that he is with God and that I will see him again one day. I can’t forget to mention my mom, because her strength throughout dad’s illness and beyond has helped shape me into the woman I am today.
I am the Court Administrator for Tazewell County and work in the courthouse in Pekin, this is where I met Mike. When I first saw him I knew I wanted to learn more about him. And I’m so thankful I had the courage to walk up and speak to him…yes, I pursued him! (My mom loves this, and loves to tell people).
Mike is a gentleman, he opened my car door on our first date and he still does! His love for his 3 boys is impossible to put into words. Watching the 4 of them together is one of my favorite things.
Mike is a man of God, he is faithful and honest. I look forward to our mornings, drinking coffee, reading our devotions, praying and talking about our day together. It starts our day with a peace and a strength and we know we can make it through whatever life throws at us throughout the day. One thing I admire most about Mike is that whatever he says, he means, and he will work hard to show you. His honesty is refreshing and I love knowing that he means what he says.
In Mike I’ve found my best friend and a man of integrity and compassion and a man who reminds me that life is fun. He’s a pretty close second to my dad, in terms of one of the greatest men I’ve ever met. And watching his big, blue eyes light up and shine even brighter when he is talking a subject or feeling he is passionate about, really makes my heart full. And I see this in him when he’s talking about becoming the Sheriff and wanting to be able to make this community a better place for us all.
Keep smiling and may God bless you today and always,
~Courtney (Proud wife of Mike)
Last week I encouraged people to send me questions and I would answer them. So, here are some questions that people sent me. I am always open and accessible for your questions and I am always happy to talk about this campaign, my experience and my vision for the future of the Sheriff’s Office.
How come you do not wear your Police uniform in any pictures? -Erika (East Peoria)
This is a great question. Police agencies have policies against wearing a Police uniform for political reasons. It is not the place of a Government organization to “endorse” a political candidate, using the uniform gives that impression. I am very proud to be a Police Officer, but when running for a public office, it is not appropriate, and would I never want to use by position to intimidate anyone.
I belong to a union for work, and I would like to know how you would work together with the union at the Sheriff’s Office? Do you have experience working with unions? -Doug (Creve Coeur)
I have worked with unions for many years. As a business owner, I worked setting up Sound/Lighting/Video productions all across the Nation. We landed in many different cities, and I had to work with sometimes 4-6 different unions at the chosen venues. I had to make sure that I knew the contracts, and that I did not do anything to cause a grievance or create tension. I worked closely with those unions, and had a great working relationship. I also worked with budgets of all sizes, deadlines, and it was my job to create and negotiate contracts.
The Sheriff’s Office has more than one union and I believe that it is important to sit down with union leaders and have an honest conversation about any potential issues so that they can be worked out. As the Sheriff, I want our staff to know that they are heard, valued, and appreciated. I want to make sure that they have the tools necessary to do their jobs safely and effectively.
Are your kids involved with your campaign? -Stan (Pekin)
The certainly are and they love it! I have 3 boys ages 10,11,13. They have enjoyed walking in the parades, going to events, and of course even helping in the office with some projects. I chose early on to not post their pictures all over social media. I want to protect them as much as possible when it comes to politics because, as you can imagine, politics is not very friendly, and can be downright disgusting at times. I also do not want to use them as a pawn in this election. This does not mean that people that choose to use their kids are doing anything wrong, this is a decision that is best for our family.
How do I get a yard sign and window sticker for you? -Gretchen (Pekin)
We would love to send you a sticker and come and place a sign in your yard. Please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Did you grow up in Tazewell County? -John (Delavan)
I did! I grew up in East Peoria. I have lived in Tazewell County all but 4 years of my life. We currently live in Pekin.
What do you think is your biggest strength? -Julie (Pekin)
I would have to say being a visionary. I love to lead, listen, and I love to find solutions to difficult problems.
Why should people vote for you instead of your opponent? Why did you choose Unity as a message in your campaign? -Jenny (Morton)
I respect my opponent, and I have made a commitment to not only run a clean campaign, but to not throw mud at my opponent. I believe that I have what it takes with my leadership abilities, business experience, and experience with unions, budgets and employees to lead the Sheriff’s Office. I am committed to bringing unity to the Office to not only unite the public with the Office, but to work on strained relationships between the staff and the administration. If I did not believe in the men and women who faithfully serve in the Sheriff’s Office, I may have chosen not to run for this office. We need a fresh perspective and new leadership to move the office forward. The Sheriff’s Office has had the same style of command for 40 years, and we must look for new ways to reach our communities and be more transparent with those whom we serve. Experience is where we have been and what we know. A vision is what we need and it is how we grow and succeed.
I chose the word Unity as a priority in my campaign. I can not and will not attack my opponent as it goes against the very vision I have for the future. It would be impossible to unite people if I choose to tear down someone else. This starts at the top. The person responsible for leading this office, has the ability to set the attitude, encourage and develop, and to implement a vision that will change the way we do things in Tazewell County.
Were you an announcer for WCIC years back? -Mike (Marquette Heights)
I was! I speak more about that experience several blog posts back. I worked as a radio announcer for many years for WCIC radio, and I co hosted a radio show called “The House of Faith” for several years. This was a great experience and an outstanding radio station. See photo below (wow I had hair..I forgot I ever had any!)
Do you attend a church? -Rachel (Morton)
We attend Northwoods Community Church in Peoria. We love Pastor Cal and believe that is where we are called to be at this time. Northwoods has not only been a wonderful support for Courtney and I, but the boys love the church and look forward to going.
When is the election? -Doug (South Pekin)
The election is March 20th, 2018. I have a Republican challenger, so this election is very important, and we really need people to get out and vote! The winner of the primary will move on, the other will not.
I am a Democrat and have been my entire life. Why should I vote for you? -Andrew (Green Valley)
Andrew, I will work hard for you and everyone in this county regardless of your political affiliation, beliefs, or your background. I am not a Sheriff just for the Republicans, but for all citizens. I take that commitment very seriously, and ask for your vote!
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing our County right now? -Jake (Washington)
I believe that would be addiction awareness and recovery. I have been passionate about this issue for the past couple of years. For a long time, people have always thought of a Heroin addict as a homeless person that lives under a bridge somewhere. Addiction to pills, Heroin, or other drugs, has become a problem so massive that it is being called an epidemic. Many “politicians” have started talking about this subject just for the sole purpose of getting votes. This is a problem that we must take action on NOW, and not just talk about. I want to not only expand our education efforts, but I want to expand a Safe Passage program county wide that offers immediate assistance to those in need of help when they need it. I want to take the treatment into the jail and work with those who are locked up to get the help they need. I have a plan to work with several groups to start this process as soon as I am elected. This will give us time to implement a plan to kick off the program the day that I am sworn in.
I am not naive to think that we will solve this problem here in Tazewell County. I do know that we must start somewhere, and do our best to tackle this problem with the help of people throughout the county and beyond.
Thank you to everyone who sent us questions. I love having the opportunity to share my thoughts with you, and I believe that this blog is a tremendous way to communicate who I am to you. If you would like me to come speak to your group, I would love to do that. Please send an email to email@example.com.
Thank you for your support, and for believing in me!
Ok, for the past year, I have been telling you all sorts of things about my life, what I believe, and my vision for the Sheriff’s Office. I thought we should allow you to ask some questions. So, I would encourage you to write your questions below, and I will post them in a blog with my answer next week. You can ask anything you would like.
As I have stated before, I believe that it is important for you to get to know who you are voting for a little better. As your Sheriff, I want to be accessible to the public, I want to be approachable, and I will listen, and work together to solve problems.
If you have not checked out our website, feel free to stop by at www.eetenforsheriff.com. You can read more about my vision, donate, or even sign up to volunteer or request a yard sign. The support from the citizens in Tazewell County has been overwhelming and I am humbled by the responses. Thank you for your support and for believing in me!
I have really enjoyed writing a blog every week. It is fun because it gives me a chance for you to get to know a little more about me. I have wrote about many things, so this week I thought it would be fun to find some random questions on the internet and answer them…this should be interesting.
Who are your top two lady heroes? Mom, Courtney (my wife)
When you were little, what did you want to be? I always wanted to be a police officer. My brother and I would pretend our bikes were police motorcycles and we would pull other kids over in the neighborhood.
What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year? Ever? Cops on the Street. It is a devotional book written by Police Officers from around the world. It is full of stories that encourage my faith.
What makes you feel afraid? The hatred that I see in our Nation currently. I am fearful for what my children will see and experience.
What’s your most embarrassing childhood memory? Sleep walking in my underwear as a child when my parents had friends over.
If you had the option of adopting a baby fox or baby koala, which one would you choose? This is a strange question. I would say neither. We have two very needy dogs that require all of the attention. We do have a fox in our backyard and is not very social.
What’s your dream job? Being the Sheriff of course! 🙂
If you could either be a duck or an owl, which would you be? Probably an owl. It would be neat to turn my head all the way around. That would come in handy being a Police Officer or just as a parent.
What would you like to eat for your last meal? Ribeye Steak…I love steak!
Who has influenced you the most? My Parents. My Father always demonstrated to us as kids how much he loved us and worked hard to provide for us. He taught us to always do the right thing no matter how hard it is. I watched my Father make decisions that were right but not popular. I watched him take criticism, and never give up or change who he was or what he believed. I watched him take a demotion at work because he stood for what was right and I admire him for that! It would have been easier to cave and just go with the program. My dad would never comprise his Integrity or his moral beliefs to be popular or to move up the ladder. He is a strong man who has left a lasting impression on his kids.
Real jeans or jeggings? I like Jeans, and I have no idea what Jeggings are.
If you were forced to open a bakery, what would you name it? I do love bakeries. I would probably call it Eeten Dough.
What has been your best moment this year (so far)? Running for Sheriff. We have met so many great people all over this county. It makes me proud to live in Tazewell County.
What is your favorite food? Ribeye Steak, potatoes, pizza, Italian food of all types, Fried Chicken…this list could go on forever. It might be easier to list those I do not like.
What is your least favorite food? Ok this is better. I would say sushi, green beans, peas, most seafood, and strange objects that no one can explain where they came from.
What is your favorite place to go in the US? We love to go to Ft. Myers Beach. That is what we call our happy place.
Thank you for reading my blog. If you are interested in a sticker to put on your car window, let us know my sending us a private message on facebook or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support and for believing in me!