It was less than two years ago and I remember the day clearly. My husband, Nate came in the door and said, “Honey, we need to talk.” He can be a man of few words but his tone was serious so there was no question – we “needed” to talk. As it turns out, the upcoming vacancy for the position of Sheriff had just been announced. While the department was in a bit of a tailspin trying to make sense of it all, Nate’s wheels were turning. If not him, then who? And if not now, then when? He knew all too well the importance of having a strong leader as well as the ramification of having a weak one. After careful consideration, Nate and I made the decision for him to apply. There were several others vying for consideration and the risks associated with the wrong fit being selected were just too big of a gamble; one he wasn’t willing to take. You see, the Sheriff’s office had become a very important part of our lives both personally and professionally. Nate had earned his way through the ranks and as a Captain at the time; the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was an agency he was very proud of.
In the mid- 1990’s shortly after graduating high school, Nate and I both moved to the Rogue Valley. We planted our roots in the community, graduated from SOU and were now raising our boys in a community we had grown to love. The Sheriff’s Department isn’t just our extended “family” but the residents are as well. My real estate business was started here, our boys were born here, and Nate had coached youth soccer, baseball and football. Stepping up and applying for the position of Sheriff was something we both took very seriously and we fully trusted in the timing and the process. If he was the right one for the job, he would be selected. Period.
The elected officials and the County Commissioners had a grueling process ahead of them. They were patient, intentional, and did an impressively thorough review of all candidates. They leaned on a community panel comprised of a variety of professionals. Among the panel members was a former Police Chief, the District Attorney, a Circuit Court Judge, a member of the Racial Equity Coalition as well as the Director of the Jackson County Health and Human Services. These well regarded, highly qualified members of our community were tasked with a huge decision. Of the six applicants seeking consideration for this important position, who was the most qualified to be the Sheriff? Nate was unanimously chosen to fill the vacancy and for good reason.
Over the last 18+ months as I have witnessed my husband lead the Sheriff’s Department, I have seen first-hand that he truly was meant for this position. It has not been easy by any means, but it has been well worth it. Under his leadership, Nate has undoubtedly improved morale within the Sheriff’s Office, improved relationships with other agencies and worked tirelessly to serve our community. He is clear and direct in his communication and provides complete transparency.
I am not going to deny it… I am not sure my heart was really prepared for the ugly side of politics and hearing people say unfavorable things about my husband isn’t something I was geared up for. Fortunately, there are just a couple of repeat offenders, all of whom have diminishing credibility as they attempt to circulate misinformation. The justice seeker side of me cringes at the thought of even one person believing the nonsense but my “voice of reason” husband keeps reminding me that he is going to keep doing what he does, stay true to himself and our family, and continue to serve the department and the residents of Jackson County to the best of his ability.
When it was announced that someone was running against Nate for the upcoming four-year term, we both took it in stride knowing that if it’s meant to be, it will be. We brainstormed about a campaign manager, the ins and outs of politics, etc. and ultimately decided that keeping it more “grass-roots” felt right. Nate has always led by example and with over 20 years of law enforcement experience, most of which was right here in this valley, his track record would speak for itself and go a very long way.
Nate’s campaign would be run from his heart and with the help of those who know him best. It wasn’t going to be managed by a third party, whose job was just to promote him. That could be expensive and wouldn’t really align with what Nate is about. He is a simple man from a modest background and every bit of his success has been earned. He has served numerous positions within the Sheriff’s department, been a city police officer as well as a county deputy and a large part of what makes him such an effective leader is he has walked the walk, not just talked the talk. Nate is respected and he is trusted. He is of his word and full of integrity. He loves his family and me, our young boys are the light of this life and he believes in this community. Just when you think a schedule can’t handle one more “To-Do” he is the kind of guy to volunteer to be his son’s baseball coach and then the other son’s football coach. Why? Because the league needed help and that’s what a man like Nate does. He will persevere, he will set a great example, and he will sacrifice.
Many have asked what they can do to help. They realize what’s at stake if the leadership within the Sheriff’s Department changes. Will the other guy do a good job? Maybe. Is it worth the risk of the unknown? The voters will decide in less than two months.
If you want to help in our efforts to keep Nate in this position, please talk to people. While he can’t officially ask for support or help from the deputies who work with him, he is seeing them come out of the woodwork in support of their boss. That speaks volumes. I encourage you to tell your friends, family and colleagues why you are voting for Nathan Sickler for Sheriff and why they should do the same. Ask them to reach out to their peers as well. Tap into your own spheres of influence and spread the word. If you’d like a yard sign, you can send a message to Nate through his website, www.Sickler4Sheriff.com, via his Facebook page or get ahold of Dyan or me. If you are able, please make a financial donation to his campaign, even if it’s just $20. Every bit helps spread the word. https://sickler4sheriff.com/donate/
Every penny collected thus far is being invested into signs, bumper sticks and other promotional items. His overhead is low but the demand is high. If you’re so inclined, say a prayer for him and for our community. We trust God’s will and know the outcome of this election will be exactly how it is intended to be. Yep. I am sprinkling in a little Jesus because heck, it’s part of who we are and there’s no sense in pretending it’s not. Sicklers are strong, we are passionate, we stick together and we believe.
For those who are speaking mistruths about Nate… get a life. If you don’t like the job he is doing and think the other guy can do better, then by all means, vote for the other guy. This isn’t a popularity contest; it’s about what is best for our community. If I didn’t wholeheartedly feel he was best for this job, I would be the first to encourage him not to take on such a gigantic commitment. This position is demanding, it’s hugely important and it should not be taken lightly. By giving people the impression that Nate has accomplished nothing is self-serving and an injustice to this community, and quite frankly just makes you look like a boob. Run your campaign and we will run ours and may the most qualified man be elected.
Referring to him as the “Appointed Sheriff” as though it’s a negative thing, is another example of your ignorance. For those of you unfamiliar with the process, it’s worth pointing out that being appointed doesn’t mean his name was drawn from a hat. His opponent participated in the same process and wasn’t selected. Each candidate was vetted by a quality group of individuals and Nate not only earned this position but also serves it with honor. He works his tail off because he believes in our county, the deputies at JCSO, and the overall safety and well-being of our entire community.
Thank you to everyone showing your support thus far. Nate reads every message and email.
You’re important to Nate. Now, it’s your turn for Nate to see how important he is to you.
Proud Wife and Supporter of our Sheriff, Nathan Sickler