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TWIN FALLS — Chris Talkington has been on the dais for 1,400 City Council meetings. But he won’t be there tonight.

Last Monday was his final meeting on the council after seven terms — 28 years of service, off and on since 1976. He was also the mayor from 1982 to 1984.

“It’s time for new blood,” Talkington said. “I’m ready to leave.”

He says he’s learned some lessons along the way.

Officials aren’t elected to stand on a soapbox and talk about what the world should be like, he said.

“You can do a lot more good by listening,” he said.

Talkington encouraged people to never be afraid to ask questions, even if they’re uncomfortable.

“You may think you know the answer, but do you know what the question is?” he posed.

Lastly, he said, remaining independent is important.

“Sometimes we’re too closely associated with commercial, social or political groups that we deal with and we forget the general population expects us to remain above our own common sense of what is perfect or right,” he said.

Councilman Shawn Barigar said Talkington helped define a vision for the community and a diligent plan to invest in public infrastructure to meet the demands of a growing city.

“In the spirit of true servant leadership, Chris listens with empathy, is committed to growth and development of people and building community,” Barigar said.

Craig Hawkins, the newest member of the council, praised Talkington’s legacy and experience.

“He’s done a good job and I know I’ve got some big shoes to fill,” Hawkins said. “I’ll just give it my best shot.”

Hawkins said his experience serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission prepared him for his new role in terms of knowing how meetings run and collaborating with others. Working in many leadership roles as a park ranger, a business owner and a home builder gave him necessary perspective, he said.

“We’re in good hands,” Hawkins said. “I think we’ve got some very talented people on City Council.”

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