Karen Dutton has been on a roller coaster as a councillor for the City of Victor Harbor for the past eight years.
In the chamber it has been hard at times for Karen, but outside it was much worse.
Karen’s first term was one of “enjoyment” and the second term was beset with family tragedy and controversy within the chamber.
“My first four years I really enjoyed, as I grew as a person and as a ratepayer I learnt a lot more about local government and its processes,” Karen said.
“I am very proud of being part of getting the aquatic centre off the ground and sticking with it.
“When we first started in 2010, it was just a concept, but now it is completed and has memberships above expectation,”
However, Karen said her second term was much more challenging.
“The term 2014 to 2018 was tough due to the loss of my Dad. To juggle being an elected member, while I was caring for my Dad to his final breath with my Mum, was very difficult,” Karen said.
Karen said the continued rise of social media has played a role in council decisions over the past four years.
“Social media has been used positively, but also extremely negatively.
“It has impacted so much. I believe it has influenced some of the decision making of council,” Karen said.
“The people, the staff, I will miss. We are lucky to have the staff we have at the City of Victor Harbor, as they work hard for our community.
“There is also great camaraderie with elected members and I will miss that.”
When joining council eight years ago, Karen gave up many of her volunteer roles in the community and now looks “absolutely forward” to getting back involved and reconnecting with her groups.
Groups such as TOC H, Mud N Tars, Victor Harbor Yacht Club, Lions Club of Victor Harbor & Port Elliot, Business Victor Harbor, Aussie Muscle Car Run for the Leukaemia Foundation, the Rock n Roll Festival and Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation Beach House Project will all now benefit of Karen's services.
“This will keep me busy and I am looking forward to being involved in the community, which I have been part of for the past 25 years,” she said.
Karen makes way for a new breed of elected members that will have the community close to their heart.