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Domeyer takes reins as Ellsworth mayor

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe A woman who wears many hats, Ellsworth mayor and volunteer firefighter Tasha Domeyer stands in front of one of the new fire trucks at the hall in Ellsworth.1 / 2
Brian Korthals/Daily Globe2 / 2

ELLSWORTH -- "Absolutely, women can do this job," affirms Tasha Domeyer, mayor of Ellsworth. "They might even be able to do it better than men, because, generally speaking, women are more oriented to detail and are good multi-taskers."

Domeyer demonstrated the latter skill as she conducted an interview while simultaneously preparing brownies for a local band carnival.

Balancing work, family and service -- that's what Tasha Domeyer is accustomed to doing, and she loves the chance to juggle it all in Ellsworth, her hometown.

Ellsworth, located in the far southwestern corner of Nobles County, was incorporated in the summer of 1884. While the county seat of Worthington still awaits its first female mayor, Domeyer is already at least Ellsworth's second woman to take the lead.

"Sandy Sanders was the previous mayor," noted Dawn Huisman, Ellsworth's city clerk for the past 20 years. "I've worked with male mayors, too, and there's always been a woman on the city council.

"Whether you're the mayor or on the city council, it's a fairly thankless job, because you're the ones people blame if they think something is going wrong."

But a few months into the second year of her four-year term, Domeyer hasn't experienced much negativity and mostly has praise for Ellsworth's citizens and other elected officials.

"I'm the tie-breaking vote on the [four-member] city council, but I haven't had to do that yet," Domeyer explained. "We all pretty much agree, and I've gotten along with the city council. We have the same goals, and about the same outlook on how to get there."

When the city's water tower needed to be recoated, Domeyer said, "Everyone was worried their water bills would go up right away, but we assured them that wouldn't be the case.

"We budgeted accordingly, had a town meeting, and explained that it was something we needed to do now that would cost a lot more in the long run if we waited. Everybody understood."

That calm, practical approach is perhaps what helped get Domeyer elected. A 1995 Ellsworth High School graduate, Domeyer is not new to community involvement. She has served as an EMT with the local fire department for about the past 10 years, formerly managed the municipal liquor store and is a member of the Ellsworth Community Club (formerly the Optimist Club).

"I think it helped that Tasha had some familiarity with the system before becoming mayor," offered Huisman. "She was already familiar with how city council meetings were run and knew how the city payroll worked."

After a few years away from town following high school, Domeyer returned, seeing the small community as a pleasant place to raise her now-12-year-old daughter, Madyson.

"I've always been a big supporter of Ellsworth," assured Domeyer, whose family operates Domeyer Implement Inc. "It's a nice small town, my family's here, and I have friends here who I've known since I was young."

"It's nice to know there are people you can count on for things, and they can count on you. I want to do my part, and make sure there's a future here for my daughter."

Domeyer currently works as a certified nursing assistant and dietary aide at Parkview Manor nursing home, which she said just received another positive evaluation from state inspectors.

"The state just reviewed it the other day, and everything looked good," reported Domeyer. "The evaluation was positive."

Another major positive in Ellsworth has been the perennially successful high school boys' basketball team, which Domeyer enthusiastically follows.

"We usually carpool to the games, and my daughter goes, too," said Domeyer. "Some of my friends like to stop at the gas station in Adrian or Lake Wilson to buy a certain kind of Chex mix, kind of their good luck charm for the team."

Domeyer's daughter is following in her musical footsteps; as a youth, Domeyer played percussion, flute and clarinet, and now her sixth-grade daughter is learning percussion, flute and piano.

"We're always busy," expressed Domeyer cheerfully. "I'm trying to keep up with everything she's doing."

In her role as mayor, Domeyer has also discovered there is plenty to keep up with, both in terms of local and state government.

"There's a lot to it, with all the different things that have to take place to keep things running, but I've learned a lot already about how city and state things are run," said Domeyer.

Domeyer acknowledges there is a fun side to the mayor gig, as well -- especially in a town as active and supportive as Ellsworth.

"You get to know more people and learn their views, what they think of the community," she shared. "And everybody knows me too -- but in a small town like this, everyone is pretty well known."