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Hanson proud of his 18 years on the Nevada City Council

Sometimes, the biggest purchases in life happen fast.  And that’s what happened with longtime Nevada City Councilman Brian Hanson and his wife, Leslie. They started thinking about buying a new house – one big enough that family and friends could stay with them when they visit – and there it was, their perfect home. They made an offer; it was accepted; and then they sold their present house in less than two days.

“If we had planned it (moving), I’d have never jumped from being an ‘at-large’ council representative to the Ward 2 seat,” said Brian, who was Nevada’s longest-serving person on the current council at 18 years. In the last election, he switched and ran in Ward 2 to open the at-large seat and give more people a chance to be on the ballot.

Moving out of the ward he was elected to represent, Brian had to resign. The council has begun a process to appoint his replacement.

Brian said it’s already hard for him not to be sitting at that front (Council Chambers) table on Monday evenings. “The fun part for me (of serving as a council person) is that I’m very social, and I like to talk to people… I’ve always liked to believe that I’ve done some good (by serving),” he said.

Brian has lived most of his life in Nevada. He graduated with the Nevada High School Class of 1987. He’s the middle of five children raised by Dwayne and Belinda Hanson (both deceased).  As a business owner (V&H Ag Services) in his hometown, where he and Leslie decided to settle and raise their three children, Brian wanted to get involved. “I’d always liked being on the Booster Club, helping with the baseball team and parks and rec programming.”

When his classmate, Jerry Gull, became mayor of Nevada, Gull called Brian and asked if he’d consider becoming a council member for an open seat. Walt McDonald, a council member at the time, also encouraged Brian to apply for the open seat. That’s how his council service began. “I got appointed and I kept running in every election,” he said.

One year, in running for the at-large seat, he got beat by Tom Haller by two votes. “I had the County recount it. They did find two mistakes, but one was for him and one was for me, so he still won. He killed me in his ward by Gates Hall, even though I won in the other three wards.” But getting beat didn’t stop Brian from wanting to serve. He ran in the next election and has been elected ever since. “Getting beat doesn’t end things; it’s just the nature of the business,” he said.

Brian believes the biggest challenge of being a city council representative is making major decisions for the city. “That may be money, facilities, policy … but making these decisions can be a challenge.”

Brian has been able, as a council member, to view Nevada from a close-up perspective, and he’s proud of how financially sound the city is. “Sometimes people don’t realize how good we have it here,” he said. He takes pride in being part of the council that saw the Field House finally completed, building the new city hall, the baseball field, a new sewer plant, the transfer of the 4-H grounds, the city and rural fire consolidation, and the list goes on and on from his 18 years.  He also takes pride in knowing that the school district and the city have developed a good relationship and work together to benefit residents.

It gets easier the longer you serve, Brian said. “I’ve seen a lot of council people come and go, mayors come and go, city administrators come and go … I have some history. And even though I became more comfortable in my own skin as a council person, it didn’t mean getting complacent. It just meant I knew the process better.”

He liked reviewing his council packet ahead of time and often driving around to take a look, first-hand, at areas of town where something might be on the agenda. “I already miss it,” he said a few days after his resignation.

Will he ever run again? “I wouldn’t rule it out at this time,” he said.

Brian and Leslie Hanson have three children: Sarah (and her husband, AJ) Horton, of Stuart; Peyton, who is pursuing a healthcare career at Mercy College; and Samuel, who is a senior at Nevada High School. They are now living in Ward 3.

–Written by Marlys Barker, City of Nevada


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